Kelsey Gunvalson

Where was your internship placement? (What is the purpose of the organization?)

I completed the internship in Osaka, Japan. I worked at the United States Consulate-General through the Department of State. The State Department's Mission Statement is to "create a more secure, democratic, and prosperous world for the benefit of the American people and the international community."

What did your general duties involve?
My general duties varied greatly. I did so much over the summer that it's hard to pick out one or two things. My main duty was to assist the Consular sections in any task they needed. I also attended various networking events such as a 4th of July party held at "Universal Studios Japan", where I was able to meet the interim ambassador to Japan and meet various business contacts through the Department of Commerce.

What was your most memorable experience?
My most memorable experience was just getting off the bus from the airport after spending the night on a bench in an airport somewhere in Canada. After twenty-four hours of flying, I was disoriented I hadn't slept for thirty-something hours. I was dropped off at one of the largest train stations in Osaka and I didn't know what I was doing, as I couldn't speak a word of Japanese other than "Arigato". I had all of my suitcases in hand and couldn't read the signs, so I didn't know where to go. I started following a large crowd of people which brought me to the multiple train platforms. It was the most memorable because I was thrown in a sea of culture shock and the initial emotional response was frightfulness. Climbing Mt. Fuji was pretty cool too.

Has your internship influenced your career path?
This internship has definitely influenced my career path. It exposed me to many different opportunities that I would not have previously considered. I still have an interest in becoming a Foreign Services officer but I still am not 100% sure. I still have lots of other ideas for potential career paths.

UMD News article on Kesley’s experience.

(Pictures: Osaka Castle, deer park in Nara, summit of Mt. Fuji, and Kelsey with ambassador to Japan.)