Today we announced the four interns who will be heading to Washington DC to work in the offices of members of Congress for 11 weeks. Providing this opportunity remains one of the most enjoyable aspects of my role. An amazing opportunity. 


It is an amazing opportunity for these young New Zealanders and they join a growing and impressive alumni of the programme. We will be profiling each intern over the coming weeks and following their progress while they’re in DC – follow our social channels. See our media release in full.

The NZUS Council Congressional Internship Programme was established in 2011 and is conducted in partnership with the University of Canterbury, Victoria University of Wellington and Air New Zealand. The internship covers flights, accommodation, visa costs, and a stipend, with the interns departing in mid-November.

The interns are:

  • Gina Bonner, University of Canterbury, placed with California Democrat Representative Linda Sanchez
  • Cameron Eade, University of Canterbury, placed with Missouri Democrat Representative Emanuel Cleaver
  • Lydia Veltman, Victoria University of Wellington, placed with Tennessee Democrat Representative Steve Cohen
  • Samantha O’Hara, Victoria University of Wellington, placed with Indiana Republican Representative Jackie Walorski.

The programme provides our best and brightest with the opportunity to experience the US political system and policy making first-hand, and bring that understanding back to New Zealand and into their careers. We now have an alumni of the programme, including the 2019/20 intake, that numbers 32 and are the future leaders of business, civil society, government and politics.

We would love to expand the programme to provide the opportunity to more students from other universities. Our interns have represented us well and have earned the programme a great reputation. We have no problems placing them, in fact, this year we had placed all four within 48 hours.

One day it would be great to see our interns also in senators and governors’ offices and leading US think-tanks. This is something we will continue to work towards but will require additional funding and the ongoing generous support of our programme partners.

The support of the programme partners is critical to the success of the programme. The programme partners include: Air New Zealand, University of Canterbury, Victoria University of Wellington and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Selection for the programme is highly competitive with each university providing a short-list of 5-6 candidates. Candidates submit an application form, their CV and a video outlining why they should be chosen, what they hope to get from the experience, and how it aligns with their future career aspirations.

Providing this opportunity for these young New Zealanders and the programme in general remains one of the most enjoyable parts of my role. The alumni of the programme are an amazing group of people who are going on to do really inspiring and important work. When they get back after the internship they’re buzzing and bring home this unique insight. Follow their experiences via our Twitter and Facebook channels.


Jordan Small is NZUS Council Executive Director

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