James Holland was on the steps of the US Supreme Court, rubbing shoulders with media hot shots.
It was a Monday evening and Democrat members of the House and Senate were protesting against President Donald Trump’s ban on inbound travel from several Muslim majority nations.
“I was told to go into the press scrum, so I was sitting about half-a-metre from Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, all these incredible Democratic leaders,” the Sunshine West resident said. “Just the energy, it was incredible, I thought, ‘I’m in the very midst of history’, which was crazy and really, really fun.”
That was just one of many highlights from the 21-year-old’s two-month internship with Congressman Jerrold Nadler, who represents New York’s 10th congressional district.
Mr Holland was one of just 10 Australians offered places in a program that gives arts, law and economics students intern opportunities in Congress in Washington DC.
Mr Holland, who describes himself as politically “progressive”, said there were no coffee runs – instead he was asked to field calls from residents and to put together research papers about welfare programs in schools.
The arts/law student at Monash University hopes the experience will put him in good stead for a career with the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.