Capitol Hill Culture Shock: A Perspective from an Asian Fellow

The latest virtual issue of PS features articles written by alumni of the Congressional Fellowship Program (CFP) from 2010 to 2015. The CFP fellows serve yearlong placements in congressional and executive offices, and they chronicle their firsthand experiences in the pages of PS. Enjoy the full virtual issue here.

PSC 49 V2 Cover

Capitol Hill Culture Shock: A Perspective from an Asian Fellow

Sa-ngopkarn Moungthong, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Thailand

“As an Asia Foundation-sponsored Thai fellow with a Foreign Service background, the obvious choice for my fellowship was with a member of the House of Representatives or the Senate who was a member of either the House Foreign Affairs or the Senate Foreign Relations Committees, and in particular the Asia-Pacific Subcommittee. That had always been my choice. But during one of the APSA Congressional Fellowship orientation sessions, when former fellows shared their experiences on Capitol Hill, I was exposed to a new idea. “The fellowship is yours, and it is up to you to make of it what you will,” said one of the former fellows. “Get out of your comfort zone and try something new,” said another on the same speaking panel. Those comments kept running through my mind when I was selecting potential offices for my fellowship. During my office selection period, I had prepared a wish list of offices I would like to work for, including both those related to Foreign Affairs and the Foreign Relations Committee, as well as those I hardly knew anything about and that had no direct connection with foreign affairs, but could potentially be good offices in which to work. Thanks to sequestration’s reduction of congressionally authorized staff positions, I was fortunate to get six interviews, and three offices offered to host me. The choice I had to make was between staying in my comfort zone and going for something new. In the end, I chose the latter…” Read More.

PS: Political Science & Politics / Volume 47 / Issue 03 / July 2014, pp 764-766