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Ryan Atkins shakes Hillary Clinton's hand during his internship with the U.S. Department of State  This is the second article in a series on student internships.

CBU student spends fall semester as intern in Croatia

RIVERSIDE (Feb. 22, 2013) - While most California Baptist University students geared up for another semester in sunny Southern California, Ryan Sean Atkins spent the fall in Croatia as an intern for the U.S. Department of State.

During his internship, Atkins, junior political science major, worked in the political and economic departments for the U.S. Embassy. His duties included press briefings, writing trade reports and editing reports from Croatian workers to send to the U.S. ambassador for clearance.   

The value of the work given to him shocked Atkins.

"I was surprised," Atkins said. "I thought I’d be making coffee and tying people’s shoes."

Classes he had taken in economics and political science at CBU gave him a foundation of knowledge to use during meetings and events and while working on projects, Atkins said.

Before coming to CBU, Atkins lived with his parents in Croatia for six years and in Bosnia for four.  His experience in Croatia and knowledge of the language enabled him to hit the ground running when he returned last fall.  

"I can’t think of any other internship that would have suited my background better, considering where I have been and what I am studying right now," Atkins said.

Hillary Clinton’s visit to the country as U.S. Secretary of State remains one of the highlights of Atkins’ internship. He had the opportunity to stay in the same hotel as Clinton and work with her staff.

"Even though I was mostly just making copies with them and talking, it was really interesting," Atkins said.

Now back at CBU’s campus, Atkins is applying his internship experience in his current classes.

"It is easier to connect things that I learn in the classroom with ways that it would potentially be practical (outside of college)," Atkins said.

Atkins hopes to graduate next year and obtain a job that could allow him to travel and maybe even return to Croatia.

(Article by Grace Ferrell)