Sunday, May 11, 2008

My internship experience

There won’t be any economic issues in this blog post. It is entirely a reflective statement about the internship I did in Washington, D.C.

AAI group

I started working at Asia America Initiative (AAI) from the last week of January and ended it just last week (I will be back to DC in July). Though not all of my expectations were met, it was indeed a fruitful internship. The most important stuffs that happened were: I finished a research paper, built a good network of people, realized why and how people write new papers, massively increased my reading habits, and, most importantly, made fantastic friends.

Let me talk about my heightened interest on reading papers, and for that matter, increasing tolerance to read long papers and books :). Earlier, I used to read few pages of research paper and was really slow at read books. However, after stay in D.C., I have been an avid reader-trying out new research papers and books (almost all of them related to economics). Now, I like reading books more than ever. And, I finish reading books and papers much faster than before. What propelled me in this direction? Well, I saw, met, and spoke with people who write books and research papers and this gave me a unique perspective on what to expect from research papers and books. Now, I have developed a habit of looking for the main stuff- the one which makes a given book or research paper unique- in a book or a research paper. I loveeee reading! I also like writing and trying out new academic stuffs.


Working at AAI was both fun and frustrating. Frustrating because there was not much work to do except for attending conferences and meetings, and conducting research on my own. Fun because the other interns were fantastic, awesome. When I first arrived in January, there were three interns. Two of them (Justine and Quinglian) left after couple of weeks. Marie stayed until we finished our internship. Jehea interned at the EPA and part timed at AAI. She is cute, humorous, interesting, intellectual, very 'Korean', and…

Justine farewell

Marie was fantastic. It seemed like she was in control of all the stuff in the office. A bit loud but outspoken and a great friend, Marie made the work interesting and entertaining. She loveeeees the word “Sheisty” (I still have not figured out what this actually means).

Jinwoo was a modest, highly disciplined, and an exacting Korean dude. I learnt a lot about Korea from him. Until I met him, I had never thought how sensitive the Korean society was in matters related to inequality (financial, social, and cultural), age, culture and norms, perception towards North Korea, and life in general. I learnt a lot from him.

Chandan and Jinwoo

Towards the end, came three more interns-Jenn, Mindy, and Hanayo- with whom working during the first couple of days was fun.

Hanayo, Jenn, Mindy, and Marie

To make the long story short, the people in the office made everyday exciting and it was definitely a worthwhile experience. I enjoyed life in DC (it would require another blog to describe clubbing, touring, and all those memorable experiences) and the office. Oh ya, how can I forget this? Four laptops were stolen from the office!

Jehea, Justine, and Marie Albert Santoli and Chandan

miller lite girls

Free Miller lite:) at the Buffalo Billiards


I was needlessly happy!

TWC commencement

TWC commencement: with awesome friends (mostly Koreans)