Monday, March 1, 2010

Ambassador Profile: Elizabeth Streett, Department of State, Consular Affairs Intern

While an undergraduate at Whitman College (Walla Walla, WA), I studied abroad for two semesters. Fall semester was in Sri Lanka and spring semester was in Japan. While in Sri Lanka, I stumbled across an internship with the US Department of State. Although there were some issues faxing my transcripts and resumes from Kandy, I was selected for this prestigious internship. And at the end of my semester in Japan, I began a 10-week internship at the US Consulate - Osaka in the Consular Affairs section. I learned about the non-immigrant visa process and other inner workings of a consular section. I reviewed visa applications submitted by Japanese, Chinese, Brazilian and other nationalities. I even got to try a little of my Spanish while attempting to convey my point to the Portuguese speaking applicants. This experience provided an opportunity to attain business fluency in Japanese and planted within me a desire to work in international affairs. (I am the one with the red hair and baseball cap)

There were 4 other interns in the Consulate with me and we spent weekends exploring our surroundings. Even though it was an unpaid internship, we had a great time given our limited budgets. I learned about each section of the embassy, which led me to my decision to take the Foreign Service test and select the Public Diplomacy cone. Although consular affairs was fascinating and tiring work, cultural and educational affairs and media relations seem to align with my strengths better. While we were there, the Public Diplomacy section took us to a local preschool as part of their outreach program. These are the types of things I would like to brainstorm and implement.