Summer at BMC

Sun-soaked postcards from Bryn Mawr College

A Postcard From: Eri Arai ’16

Eri Arai with Kenichiro Sasae, Japanese Ambassador to the United States

Eri Arai ’16 with Kenichiro Sasae, Japanese Ambassador to the United States

Name: Eri Arai

Class Year: 2016

Major:  Undeclared

What’s happening? We’d love to hear how your internship is going: I am working at the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission, a small federal agency in Washington D.C. devoted to strengthening U.S.-Japan relations. Most of my time here is spent coordinating and publicizing the Friendship Blossoms Initiative — The Friendship Blossoms Initiative is a public-private gift of 3,000 dogwood trees to the people of Japan in reciprocation of Japan’s gift of 3,000 cherry blossoms to the people of the United States 100 years ago. The project started in April 2012, when U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced this gift to then Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihiko Noda. Apart from my work in the office, such as evaluating applications for dogwoods from Japanese municipalities and revamping the agency’s social media presence, I have been able to immerse myself in the world of diplomacy by sitting in on congressional meetings on Capitol Hill, meeting the Japanese Ambassador to the U.S. at his residence, shadowing meetings with Japanese Ministers at the embassy, and working with Foreign Service officers. In a nutshell, my internship has been an amazing experience so far. Check out the Friendship Blossoms Facebook page that I started recently!

How I heard about my internship: I heard about my internship through the Bryn Mawr Career Development Office’s Internship postings online.

Why I applied for my internship: I applied for my internship because I have always been curious about U.S.-Japan relations. I was born in Japan, and moved to California a month before my 5th birthday. Even though I have spent most of my life in the U.S., I have always felt a strong connection to my Japanese heritage. In whatever career field I choose to pursue in the future, I have always wanted to be a bridge between U.S. and Japan. I thought this internship was a great opportunity for me to explore this type of work.

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