During my sophomore year of college, I decided that as an Asian Studies Major with a focus on China that I should spend an academic year abroad in the country I was studying; so I spent August 2016 to May 2017 studying at Beijing Foreign Studies University. This academic year was one of the most exciting times in my life, and every day felt like a new adventure. But being away from friends and family for so long eventually wore me down. I had applied to be a summer intern for the Department of State as soon as I had arrived in Beijing, and at that time, thirsty for travel and excitement, I requested for my internship to take place in Taiwan. Later, in January, I received my acceptance letter from the Department of State offering me positions in both Taiwan and Washington, DC. At that point, knowing that by May I would want to be in my home country, I accepted the position in DC. Making the decision to intern in DC has led me to here, the center of American diplomacy, and I’m already sure this experience will be unforgettable.
I would be working at the Bureau of International Information Programs, or IIP, in an office across the street from the famous Harry S Truman Building. As one of the office directors would later tell me, IIP basically serves as the PR firm of the US Government. I met my intern supervisor, Barbara, at 8 am on my first day outside of the American Pharmacists Association Building (where the IIP offices are located), and she walked me over to HST to get checked in. The process of getting my badge (the ID I would use to get into my office) took quite a while, and I experienced my first mess-up when I immediately forgot the pin which goes along with my badge. Luckily, my supervisor was patient enough to take me back to the check-in office and let me re-set my pin. After that I was given a tour of the building, and then I was ready to get started on my duties!
My duties for this internship will mostly include using my Mandarin skills to conduct research into the popular social media apps used in Mainland China. After spending a year abroad in China, I’m confident that I can succeed in writing up a proficient report on the Chinese social media landscape. I am nervous about a few other things; mainly my shyness. I’m worried that my shyness will get in the way of me interacting with my co-workers and networking. Hopefully, being more confident and outgoing is something I can work on this summer.
Wish me luck!