A George Washington University student is spending his summer completing a dream internship at the Peace Palace Library in The Hague thanks to an exciting program that makes it possible for American college students to get work experience in the Netherlands.
Hu said this amazing opportunity was only possible thanks to the USA2Holland internship program, which is run by the Netherland-America Foundation. The program enables high-achieving, low-income American college students to pursue a working internship within a company in the Netherlands.
The USA2Holland internship provides students financial support covering international travel and a monthly stipend to cover partial living expenses, visa costs, application support and networking support to find an internship with a Dutch company.
“When I learned about the program, I thought it was cool and applied,” Hu said. “I was so excited when I found out I got it and started reaching out and connecting with people to find a placement at the Peace Palace here in The Hague.”
Hu said Alexander J. van der Horst, an associate professor of physics at GW’s Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, helped him get settled in at the Hague and advised him on how to navigate Dutch culture. “He was really helpful in all of this,” Hu said.
Hu’s goal after he graduates from GW is to pursue a career where he gets to advocate for human rights.
Hu said he couldn’t think of a better place to jump into the world of international law and justice than the Peace Palace Library, which is regarded as the foremost international law library serving the international community. The library’s primary task is serving the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the International Court of Justice and The Hague Academy of International Law.
“Being here has been a cool experience, and I've been meeting people day to day that helped me figure out if this is a field I want to work in,” Hu said. “The work I'm doing as part of this internship has been insightful and allows me to research all types of issues and topics that I'm interested in. And because I'm at the library, I have all the resources I could ever imagine to do that research.”
His responsibilities at the Peace Palace include working at the front desk and assisting students to find resources to help them conduct their research. Every day, Hu gets to meet and interact with students from all over the world. He said it’s been a rewarding experience, and it’s given him a chance to practice his French, which is spoken widely in the city.
“There are new people from all over the world here every day, and I get to learn a little bit about where they are from,” Hu said. “And they are all here because they’re passionate about something, and so we can bond over those subjects.”
His favorite part about the internship is the high energy at The Peace Palace Library. Hu said every day brings a new adventure.
“I'm seeing people from different countries come in all the time,” he said. “A couple of days ago, a huge Russia-Ukraine hearing was going on, and there were a lot of reporters that showed up to record and interview people outside. It just feels a little bit crazy to me that all this is happening while I'm working inside. It is like I get to be a part of that.”
Outside of his internship, Hu has been enjoyed immersing himself in the Dutch culture, biking around the city and exploring the surrounding beaches.
Hu said he’s already benefitted so much from this program and hopes every U.S. college student has an opportunity to study abroad.
“I would say studying abroad has been one of the biggest parts of my GW experience, and I think it's one of the most rewarding and eye-opening things you can do,” he said. “Especially at GW, I think there's a lot of opportunity to study abroad that you won't get elsewhere. I definitely think everyone should study abroad if they get the chance.”