By Margareta Heed - 02/13/07 12:00 AM EST
Michael Jones traded his hot summer break for a cold Washington winter: For six weeks, the born-and-bred Australian will work for Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.). The 20-year-old surfer is studying law in Canberra, his country’s capital city, and his university helped him to set up the internship.
“America is Australia’s greatest friend and ally in the world,” Jones said. “It’s important for people in Australia to understand America and its politics.”
The work in Westmoreland’s office has proved interesting for Jones — he has learned more during these last few weeks, he insisted, than in all his politics classes back home.
Thanks to his coworkers, he has also learned a great deal about American sports.
“I was invited to the office Super Bowl party,” he said. “It was really fun, and I think I understand the rules now.”
This is Jones’s first trip to Washington, and he’s impressed with the architecture and the friendly people. As a general rule, he says, Southerners — such as his colleagues at Westmoreland’s office — are better mannered than Australians.
“It’s good to know that the tradition of Southern gentlemen and Southern belles is alive and well,” he said.
And his Down-Under accent? “There’s certainly no mistaking me for a Georgian,” he said.
Though he prefers Australian weather, Jones loves the snow, something some of his countrymen have never seen. “We had a snowball fight. It was very fun,” Jones said with a smile.
At the office, Jones says, he enjoys just helping out as much as he possibly can. “There is no better way of learning than taking part of the work,” he said. “I want to learn as much as possible during my stay here in D.C.”