In 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced the Virtual Student Foreign Service (VSFS) program as part of the 21st Century Statecraft Initiative. VSFS enables smart, technologically savvy young people to work remotely from their schools, dorm rooms, and homes to support U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) domestic offices and overseas U.S. diplomatic posts. The VSFS program connects posts and offices interested in dynamic new forms of diplomatic engagement, with American students eager to understand and assist U.S. foreign policy goals.
The VSFS program has seen enormous growth since it was first announced. In Winter 2010 through Spring 2011, there were 54 VSFS projects and 91 eInternship positions available for students. In the 2011-2012 program, there were 121 projects with 209 positions available. For the 2012-2013 program, there are 177 projects total, with more than 313 eInternship spots open in a wide range of areas. The competitiveness of the program has only increased, however, and with last year’s applicant pool reaching well above 1,400, it is anticipated that the 2012-2013 VSFS eInternship program will be more selective than ever. This year, accepted students will assist posts and offices in countries all around the world with research, coding, graphic design, video creation and editing, statistical analysis, and social media outreach projects. Selected students could be assisting research on women's empowerment in the food security sector in Zimbabwe, connecting with Russian or Malaysian students to help them succeed in the American educational system, or fighting for press freedom by keeping track of violence against journalists.
Because they work remotely, students who may not have been able to take on a physical internship because of financial or time constraints can still participate. The eInternships last nine months, and typically require ten hours of work per week, though the time commitment may vary depending on post or project. U.S. citizen college students interested in applying for a VSFS eInternship position for the Fall 2012 through Spring 2013 academic year may apply on USA Jobs starting July 2 and ending on July 20. Students can view the projects and learn more about the program at: www.state.gov/vsfs and http://www.facebook.com/usdos.vsfs. VSFS eInternship applications for the 2012-2013 program are available on www.usajobs.gov from July 2 to July 20. The vacancy announcement can be found through this direct link.