Jamie Mandujano: To Washington and Beyond
October 06, 2009
An international business major from Coyanosa, Mandujano got his first taste of foreign culture when he participated during his junior year in a semester-long study abroad trip to the University of Paris-Dauphine, where he studied at one of France’s top business schools.
“I’ve always had a desire to see more of what is beyond the ‘city limits’ sign and that was an opportunity to expand my horizons,” Mandujano said. “I got a more global perspective of the world and it opened my eyes to other cultures and ideas that, otherwise, I would have overlooked. I realized that everybody is connected and that each of our actions has an effect on the world.”
As graduation approached, Mandujano decided he needed some hands-on experience before heading out into the world and applied for an internship through The Washington Center, a non-profit organization that connects college students with work and internship opportunities in Washington, D.C. With funding aid from the Alvin and Patricia New Honors Program Enhancement Fund, he was soon on his way to an internship with Management Dynamics Inc. (MDI), a Maryland-based company that develops computer programs to track tariffs and taxes on international trade.
“I got to see what globalization was like first hand,” Mandujano said. “We had offices in India that we worked with and had weekly teleconferences to make sure we were on the same page. It was really fun to work on a project with a guy in India and see how places like that are becoming competitive with the U.S. The amount of interaction between our offices was incredible and it was just like Thomas Friedman’s book, The World is Flat, which explains how the world has changed into a very globalized society.”
Mandujano was supposed to stay at MDI for 10 weeks, but halfway through his internship, he was offered another opportunity by The Washington Center to intern at the Organization of American States (OAS).
“I had wanted an internship that focused more on political affairs and international relations,” Mandujano said. “They usually don’t like students to change internships, but they had been contacted by the OAS, which needed an intern immediately. Having had some experience in one of my previous classes with the OAS and having done a Model OAS as part of that class, I was very excited to interview.”
Once he was accepted, Mandujano went to work for a senior specialist on the staff of OAS Assistant Secretary General Albert Ramdin.
“I got to sit in on real meetings between the Permanent Council of Observers,” Mandujano said. “It was really interesting to see the ambassadors discuss the issues at hand. I got into the OAS when the Honduran crisis was happening and it was really cool to see how international diplomacy occurs. There are so many people behind the scenes that do so much work and are barely noticed.”
Despite being kept busy with exciting internship duties, Mandujano was able to find some time to go sight-seeing in the nation’s capital. He also got to hear Sen. John McCain speak, meet several foreign dignitaries and see an outdoor show of the National Symphony Orchestra.
Now that he has his bachelor’s degree, Mandujano is hoping to put off graduate school for awhile to do some more traveling, having applied to join the Peace Corps. While he has long thought about joining the Peace Corps, it was a meeting with recruiters in Washington, D.C., that prompted him to apply now.
“My future plans are to work in sustainable development by helping those who are less fortunate,” Mandujano said. “The Peace Corps just seems like a good way to get started on that path, plus it will be enriching to learn from people who are different than me and not so blessed to have what I have. I just love the cultural exchange, and I think learning about other people and their cultures is mind-altering and changes your outlook on the world.”