Juliana Fleming studied abroad with ISA in Seville, Spain in Spring 2018. She has since been accepted into the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute (CHLI) Global Leaders Program, where she interned with Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and for UPS Global Public Affairs. We reached out to Juliana to learn more.
1) How did studying abroad influence your decision to join the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute (CHLI) Global Leaders Program?
I’ve always been a very independent person, but while studying abroad I really proved to myself that I was capable of living on my own and making new friends in an unfamiliar place. I found a new sense of confidence in myself and I was able to pinpoint my strengths and weaknesses. My Hispanic heritage has always been something I’ve been extremely proud of and studying abroad helped me learn more about the issues impacting Hispanics in Spain and all over the world.
I knew I wanted to get involved in helping my community, but I didn’t know where to start. At the end of my junior year of college, I applied to the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute’s (CHLI) Global Leaders Program, which is a semester-long internship program for college students of Hispanic or Portuguese descent. The internship features for-credit coursework at a local university and a placement in Congressional and corporate legislative affairs offices in Washington, D.C. CHLI combined many of my interests, including government, policy, advocating for my community, and of course, travel. After studying abroad, I had no fear of leaving my friends and family behind and starting over in DC. I had already done it once before!
2) How do you think studying abroad prepared you for your current role?
I chose to study abroad in Seville, Spain because I wanted to work on becoming fluent in Spanish and learn more about the political, cultural, and economic issues in Spain. I definitely came away with stronger Spanish skills and a great understanding of Spanish society which has influenced my studies. However, the most important skill I fully grasped while abroad was cross-cultural competency. While studying abroad, I met people from all over the world whose values and beliefs were much different than my own. I learned the value in hearing their life stories and perspectives. Being able to interact effectively with people from different cultures has made me a better communicator at school and work, and has led me to build meaningful relationships.
3) What is your favorite thing about interning with Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer? What have you learned?
My favorite parts of interning with Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer were simply being in the Capitol Building and attending congressional committee meetings. It truly was an incredible feeling to walk down the same hallways as former Presidents and outstanding Americans. While walking through the U.S Capitol, I’d often see members of Congress or celebrities, and I even had the opportunity to meet a few of them! Having the opportunity to attend congressional committee meetings was extraordinary because I was able to witness the legislative process first-hand. I especially enjoyed attending the Congressional Hispanic Caucus meetings where members of Congress discussed various issues affecting the Hispanic community that I belong to. Also, Senator Schumer’s office has a balcony looking over the National Mall, which interns and staff had access to!
4) What do you like about lobbying? What have you learned?
Before interning with UPS, I knew very little about lobbying, so I was excited when I was told I’d be accompanying my boss on her lobbying visits to Capitol Hill. Each week, we would go to Capitol Hill and lobby for UPS priorities. Although we went into meetings with the same pitch, the delivery was never the same. Each congressional office had their own personality and top policy interests, so each lobbying meeting was very different. This was my favorite part about lobbying! I learned valuable lessons in communication and what makes a successful conversation. I also learned how lobbyists make the government more productive by informing legislators of competing interests that may not have been brought to the legislator’s attention before.
5) Tell us more about the Women Exporter’s program. What do you like about it?
Launched by UPS in 2019, The Women Exporters Program helps women business owners from around the world gain access to the global marketplace by training them on how to export their goods. The program’s export workshops are held all over the United States and worldwide, providing training on export strategies and resources to enter new markets. I love that the Women Exporters Program uses the power of education and collaboration to help aspiring, hard-working women achieve their dreams.
6) Please share any additional details about your experience that you find exciting.
The CHLI Global Leaders Program was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that helped me grow both professionally and personally in many ways. Interning in both Congressional and corporate legislative affairs offices allowed me to make comparisons between the public and private sector, and figure out which environment I preferred. Ultimately, the most incredible part of the CHLI Global Leaders Program was connecting with countless influential Latinos who were willing to listen and help me develop my post-undergraduate goals. Similar to my time abroad, I made friendships that will last a lifetime and I am even more confident that I can achieve anything I set my mind to.
Please click here if you are interested in learning more about the CHLI Global Leaders Program!