Andy Morris, SJU '10
This summer I worked as an intern with the Japan America Society of Minnesota (JASM). As a student of Asian Studies, this internship, although unpaid, provided me with many benefits. Chief among these were the work experience in an organization dedicated to all kinds of exchange between Japan and Minnesota, and the opportunity to network with people who can help me pursue that kind of work after I graduate.
JASM had four interns this summer, with all of us having a strong connection to Japan. Familiarity with the Japanese language and study abroad experience in Japan, while not necessary for the position, helped us better serve our members (as well as our applications). Each intern was given an area to focus on as well as a title reflecting that focus, while most routine office work would be handled by whoever was available at the time.
My title was Program Planning Coordinator. This meant I kept track of information on upcoming events, helped brainstorm ideas, and maintained contact with people involved with our events. In addition to this I was also responsible for updating the information on JASM’s website and acted as Editor for JASM’s monthly newsletter, the Tsushin. This may sound like a lot of work to step into, but there were many resources available to interns, including a brief overlap between incoming and outgoing interns as well as guides written to help smooth the transition.
While office work was an important part of the internship, the real core service JASM provides is the events they produce. These events are central to JASM’s mission of creating the opportunity for members of the community to get involved in Japan. JASM’s events cover a wide range of interests, from cultural to political tastes. In my brief time there I helped plan and staff a Public Policy Presentation, a Corporate Roundtable, a St. Paul Saints game, a party for donors, and the Japanese Lantern Lighting Festival at Como Park in St. Paul.
In addition to valuable work experience, an internship with JASM gave me the opportunity to network with many people heavily involved in the Minnesota Japan-related community. Since JASM serves both private and corporate members, I was able to establish a wide arrange of contacts in academic, corporate, and cultural fields. Many of the people I met were very enthusiastic and appreciative of my work for JASM, and have offered help or advice should I ask for it.
I was very glad to be offered a position at JASM and I was not let down. It was a great fit for both my personal interests and what I am considering post-graduation. For students with an interest in Japan considering work in non-profit or international careers, this internship is a great opportunity. For anyone interested in learning more about JASM or thinking about applying for an internship there, feel free to contact me.