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Internship Program

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The U.S. Commercial Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, supports U.S. commercial interests in the United States and assists the U.S. business community in expanding in international markets worldwide. The Commercial Service office in Oakland offers programs to assist U.S. companies in the Alameda and Contra Costa counties. Our network includes over 160 offices in nearly 90 countries.

The internship program in Oakland is designed to provide students with a thorough orientation to international trade. This includes export market research, trade counseling, trade documentation, industry and country regulations, shipping, pricing, trade show recruitment, export financing and other export related activities.

Students interested in applying for an internship with the Commercial Service must be U.S. citizens and should be studying International Business Relations, Economics, Foreign Policy, Political Science, Marketing or other related subjects. Candidates should have good computer skills with knowledge of Microsoft applications. Proficiency in a foreign language is desirable. The internship length is 6 months, but days and times are flexible depending on the intern's schedule. This is a non-paid internship. Course credit is often granted for the student by the school. Upon successful completion of the internship, the student is awarded with the Certificate of Training and a Letter of Recommendation.

If you are interested in applying for an internship with the U.S. Commercial Service's Oakland Export Assistance Center, please email your resume to Rod Hirsch, Director at

Previous Interns

The following is a list of the people who have successfully completed the Internship with the U.S. Commercial Service Oakland Export Assistance center.


Internship Term: December 2011 – June 2012

School: California State University, East Bay

Major: B.A. Economics & Business Administration

Hometown: Fairfield, CA


Working as an International Trade Assistant for the U.S. Commercial Service has been a great experience. Not only has this internship introduced me to international trade, but it has also helped me grow as an individual and a professional. My main responsibilities included keeping the client database updated and managing the agency’s website. Along with this, I assisted in promoting local trade events and assisted in making sure the events ran smoothly without problems. I also conducted market research and assisted Rod & Cindy in helping clients better understand trade opportunities available to them.

Working with Cindy and Rod has been a truly rewarding experience. They both helped me to realize the future direction of my professional career and provided thoughtful insight that I will implement later on. I can’t thank both of them enough for the experiences I have had these past six months.


Internship Term: December 2011 – May 2012

School: University of California, Berkeley

Major: B.S. Business Administration

Hometown: San Mateo, CA


Interning at the U.S. Commercial Service’s Export Assistance Center in Oakland was a fun and rewarding experience. As a Trade Assistant, I was responsible for doing market research for businesses considering exporting, informing clients of upcoming trade events, maintaining the client database, and updating the office’s website. I also had the opportunity to work on various projects such as business matchmaking for foreign buyers attending trade shows in the U.S., researching and writing a market research report on global cosmetics market. These hands-on experiences have taught me many valuable skills that I was not able to learn from just attending classes.

Assisting Rod and Cindy with their events and client meetings has further allowed me to gain insight into various international markets and the logistics of implementing an international business plan. At one of the Oakland USEAC’s events, I also had the honor to meet the US Ambassador to Australia, Jeffrey L. Bleich. This internship opportunity has been exceptionally enriching as both Rod and Cindy had always made sure that the projects I worked on were new and interesting learning experiences.


Internship Term: November 2010 – May 2011

School: California State University, East Bay

Major: B.S. Business Administration Finance and Accounting

Hometown: Hercules, CA


Working as a Trade Assistant for the U.S. Commercial Service was a great experience. This internship gave me the opportunity to see the kind of work that takes place to assist local companies in expanding to overseas markets. I assisted Rod and Cindy with various projects and got the opportunity to help with the planning and orchestration of events such as the "Road to South Korea: Exploring Trade Opportunities" seminar, and the "Europe Cleantech Export Opportunities" seminar. Generally, my work consisted of market research and finding trade events for clients, web development, managing the client database, and working on programs such as MS Word and Excel to compose documents for events. Because I was given the opportunity to work on numerous projects, I had the chance to observe numerous aspects of international trade. I’m thankful for being given this great opportunity that served as a great learning experience. It was also a pleasure to work with Cindy and Rod who were extremely welcoming and helpful and offered me terrific career advice.


Internship Term: November 2010 – May 2011

School: California State University, East Bay

Major: MS in Recreation & Management

Hometown: Oakland, CA


The internship at the Oakland Export Assistance Center was very prestigious. As an intern, I was given the opportunity to attend a variety of trade events, meet delegations from around the world, network with top executives and participate in several IT-related trainings. I also served as an interpretor while helping to host a Vietnamese Buyer Delegation. It was a great experience working with Rod and Cindy, who were my mentors during the 6-month internship. This position increased my self-confidence and professional image.


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Internship Term: March, 2010 – October, 2010

School: California State University, East Bay

Major: MBA in Finance

Hometown: Walnut Creek, CA


Working as an intern for the Oakland Export Assistance Center of the U.S. Commercial Service has been an engaging and rewarding experience. As a Trade Assistant, I was responsible for a large variety of activities, including managing the website, updating the Client Database, promoting Trade Leads and keeping clients up-to-date with the latest in Market Research. During my time as an intern, I helped organize the End-to-End Smart Grid Seminar, participate in several out-of-office client meetings and helped host several foreign dignitaries and buyer delegations who were seeking to purchase U.S. technology and products.

I was also given the opportunity to represent the U.S. Commercial Service during the ConnectivityWeek Conference and Tradeshow where I manned the agency's booth during the show. I also attended the Semicon 2010 tradeshow in San Francisco to outreach with potential clients on behalf of the Oakland Export Assistance Center.


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Internship Term: June, 2009 – December 2009

School: University of California, Berkeley

Major: B.A. Political Economy

Hometown: Torrance, CA


My internship with the U.S. Commercial Service’s Export Assistance Center in Oakland was an invaluable experience. I was responsible for informing clients on Trade Leads and on the latest Market Research reports, promoting upcoming Trade Events, maintaining the Client Database and the website. The Export Assistance Center holds many local events, so I participated in a video wine tasting event and a luncheon for clean technologies during my internship. As an intern, I was able to see and learn the various factors that need to be taken into consideration in order for a successful trade to take place. I was also taking an International Trade course while interning, so it was great to experience international trade at work firsthand and not simply from class.