Schools of Humanities, Social Sciences and Music

Washington internship

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Washington internship guide

Washington primer [PDF, 1.5 MB]
Updated 20 Apr 2017

Students with an academic background and strong interest in United States political systems and history can apply for the Uni-Capitol Washington Internship Programme (UCWIP) that each year provides an action learning opportunity for twelve undergraduate students from Australian universities.

The eight-week internships, beginning in early January, involve placements in a Congressional office in Washington DC such as Democratic and Republican offices, personal offices and committee staffs, the House and the Senate.

Applications for the following year close in June.

  1. Experience
  2. Selection
  3. Accommodation and cost
  4. Enrolment
  5. Eligibility
  6. Applications



    Students receive a unique perspective of and access to the US political system and institutions. A student's experiences in any office will vary widely, even within the same office from one year to the next. Administrative functions, constituent liaison and legislative research and support have been core experiences. Interns are often encouraged to attend hearings and explore official Washington.

    In the past, the program has arranged briefings by US and Australian government officials, journalists, and arranged access to numerous events and individuals. Outside of experiences in Washington, DC, the program has also organized guided tours of Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania, a day trip to Independence Hall, The Liberty Bell and the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, and visits to the United Nations and Australia's Mission to the UN in New York.

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    Placement proposals are determined by Eric K. Federing (the US founder and director of the scheme) in consultation with participating offices and home universities. Federing was a senior congressional advisor for a dozen years, serving as communications director for Rep. Norm Mineta of California, the House Transportation Committee, and Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut.

    Federing is now Managing Director, Business and Public Policy, Office of Government Affairs for KPMG LLP.  In 2004, Federing received a KPMG Chairman's Award for Excellence in Volunteerism in the Washington, DC in recognition of UCWIP. He was a Board member of the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation for a decade, has been the same for congressionally-chartered National Conference on Citizenship (and for which he is currently Treasurer), and serves on the DC Advisory Council for Global Kids, a non-profit educational exchange program in New York and Washington, DC.

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    Accommodation and cost

    AE$15,000 for airfares, accommodation and ground travel.

    Successful applicants usually share apartment accommodation with other interns.

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    Interns enrol in the Arts Practicum (HUMA2901), a 6 point, level 2 undergraduate unit offered at UWA. All interns are required to submit written work at the conclusion of their placement.

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    To apply you must meet these criteria:

    • Australian citizen
    • 18+
    • Enrolled in an undergraduate degree at UWA
    • Completed 48 points of degree
    • Taking level two or level three units at time of application
    • Course weighted average of over 65 per cent
    • Demonstrate an interest in US history/politics
    • Financial resources necessary to undertake the trip

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    The application and selection processes are rigorous and application does not guarantee placement. You should be able to demonstrate a very good academic record and a mature approach to the challenges of the internship including travelling abroad, working in a busy environment that demands reliability, professionalism and self-confidence, and adapting successfully to a shared living environment.


    Primer Published March 2017

    The UCWIP Primer lists the offices that will participate in the 2018 program. Please note that the reference for The University of Western Australia incorrectly advises that the contact person is Dr Chantal Bourgault du Coudray, Arts Practicum Coordinator. Instead, all interested students are encouraged to contact Peter Robinson, Coordinator of Practicums Arts, Business Law and Education on 0407 424 272 or via email. Expression of interest for UCWIP are due close of business on Monday 24 April 2017. Submit the expression of interest form to the Arts Practicum coordinator. At this stage, students' eligibility for the scheme will be assessed.

    Group teleconference call: 9:00am Wednesday 26 April 2017

    Eligible students must attend a group teleconference call with Eric Federing, the director of the scheme. Attendance is compulsory. It is an opportunity for students to refine their four placement preferences before completing their applications.

    Applications due: 4:00pm Wednesday 31 May 2017

    Applications are due at the Faculty of Arts Student Office.

    All applications will be checked by the Arts Practicum coordinator and the Faculty academic student adviser. They will be forwarded to the United States based coordinator of the program by Thursday 15 June 2017. Please note that applications are assessed by personnel attached to the program and not by UWA staff.

    Notification: Mid-July 2017

    Students will be notified of the outcomes of their applications.

    Application form

    Two hard copies of the application must be handed in and all applicants must keep an electronic copy. The electronic copy will be required immediately after successful applicants are notified of their placement.

    The completed application form must include:

    • One page explanation of the student's interest in the internship
    • Explanation of the student's interest in each of their four preferred placements (one page per preference)
    • One page self-assessment of the student's ability to live and work independently overseas, and to meet the costs of the program
    • Official transcript of academic record (one original only is required)
    • Resume
    • Example of written work prepared in relevant units (usually political science or history units with a US focus) at UWA
    • One written character reference
    • One written professional reference

    Two hard copies must be handed in and a pdf of the complete set of application documents must be emailed as an attachment to In the subject line please mark 'for the attention of Peter Robinson'.

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    Last updated:
    Thursday, 20 April, 2017 4:47 PM