Through a “stroke of fate”, or a certain UNM career fair, Gabe Gallegos went on an adventure of the summer – working with the United States Embassy in Chile.
Gallegos is spending his summer vacation in the city of Santiago, Chile working as a Press & Public Affairs Intern, where he leads the embassy’s digital outreach campaigns and assists with public diplomacy efforts.
This is Gallegos’ second summer with the State Department. In 2016 he worked with the State Department’s Press Office in Washington D.C. as a Media Outreach Intern, where he pitched stories and headlines to D.C. journalists regarding human trafficking and the U.S. foreign development budget.
Gallegos explained this opportunity is not only exciting, but also scary; it’s his first time being out of the country.
“It was scary because of all the unknowns. Going through customs, phone/internet access abroad, my living arrangements, grocery shopping, and so many other aspects of traveling were things my family and I had never experienced before. Even now as I am still getting settled in here in Santiago, there are aspects of traveling abroad that I am still learning every day.”
While at work, he gets hands-on, substantial training while learning of diplomacy and how it can have mutual benefits for any country that the U.S. does work in, and the information is fruitful. “. I have already gained fantastic mentors as I navigate my way through working at the Embassy,” He explained. “It definitely feels like I am drinking from a fire hose sometimes!”
Outside of work, Gallegos is taking in the rich culture and beauty of Santiago. His first weekend was spent in the downtown area, visiting the La Moneda (Chilean presidential palace), and Plaza De Armas (an important city center which people of all walks of life congregate in). Recently, he was able to go skiing on the top of the Andes mountains. He plans on visiting the Valparaiso beach and Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Gallegos will be returning back to UNM this fall to continue his undergraduate degree and work in statewide politics and at a public relations firm. He is interested in a possible future working in politics, or moving into public sector communications work. Eventually, he wants to work with a strategic communications firm in New Mexico.
Gallegos wants to encourage Lobos from all walks of life to take advantage of the numerous opportunities to get involved, and he has a few words of wisdom for his fellow students:
- Love people because people matter and come first
- Work hard towards your dreams, even when it is difficult or there are obstacles
- Never (NEVER) forget where you come from!
If you want to keep up with his adventures, check out his blog on gabegsantiago.wordpress.com