Before I began my internship, I knew I had to commute from San Jose to San Francisco via train, so I had this image of myself very much like the movie Amélie: I would spend much of my time in a train station (cue Yann Tiersen), except she in Paris, while I in the Bay Area. That didn’t last long as reality soon set in as I started my first day in California. The traffic was horrendous. Turns out, I wasn’t going to spend my time at the train station but rather on the highway.
Boomerang Video: View from the BART–Star Wars AT-AT
Fast forward to my first week as Programs Intern with Asia Society Northern California. The organization I work with is a non-profit that aims to promote Asian culture as well as U.S. and Asia relations through education and policy. My role as an intern resonates the positions I’ve been responsible for before all meshed into one, sometimes employed simultaneously, which in a nutshell is a mix of research, marketing, and communications geared towards Asia Society’s cause.
When I initially learned about the job, I recall telling my friends that if I got rejected, I would relentlessly apply for the position anyway until they said yes–it just seemed so fitting for me: an Asian immigrant with a curiosity for geopolitical issues and a knack for learning. Luckily, the first application sufficed. What drew me most to the Programs Intern position was not simply because I was Asian but rather in the five years of my living in the US, I found myself foreign and detached from my own roots. I want to take–I am taking–a more proactive stance, not just in the Asian-American community, but with the world’s cultural and political environment. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t enticed by the internship’s location as well, but that’s just the cherry on top! 😉
Interning in the heart of San Francisco’s Financial District has been quite surreal. I’ve overheard strangers’ conversations in different settings: of successful acquisition, of a difficult court trial that needed preparing that night, of terrible bosses, of a challenging merger. It was weird being surrounded by adults–working adults. I understand I am one and am constantly surrounded by plenty at Michigan, but to be in an environment and be regarded as one of their peers is a whole different experience–one that I could not have gained in a classroom, I don’t think.