Balin Kird-in: Experience as a Thai-American Second Generation in Washington

The Thai American National Internship Program (TANIP) is a wonderful program that is filled with many opportunities and experiences. TANIP provided a perfect environment for an internship in Washington, D.C. The first week in the program was sculpted in a way that made the transition to D.C. easier. The meetings and lectures during the first week were very educational and informative. These helped me gain an understanding of some of the organizations that help Thai-American relations, as well as other organizations in D.C. Several of the people that I connected with during the meetings served as mini-mentors for me throughout the summer. I will always value those friendships and the wisdom passed on to me. One of my highlights during the first week was when I heard from and spoke with Senator Tammy Duckworth. She is an amazing woman who has always been one of my role models, so meeting her was such a privilege. The topics discussed in each particular meeting were all intriguing and all provided a glimpse at how issues are discussed and presented amongst organizations.

This program made it possible to intern for Congressman Bill Foster, which was an experience that cannot be mimicked in any way. My experience from working in the office showed me how things work in Washington, how daily matters are carried out in the House of Representatives, and it has opened my eyes to the many opportunities that circulate each day around Capitol Hill. From my first day in the office until my last day, everyone was very kind and helpful which enhanced my internship. During my time interning for Congressman Foster, my daily tasks mostly entailed writing memos to the staff, answering phone calls and discussing issues with constituents, researching current issues and policies, attending briefings, and giving Capitol Tours. Giving Capitol tours was an aspect of the internship that I did not expect, but it was very interesting and rewarding to be able to guide people through one of the most beautiful buildings in the world.

This internship allowed me to develop skills and gain experience that I will be able to take with me as I go forth on my career path. The lessons I have learned, the connections I have gained and the memories I have made in Washington will stick with me throughout my life. Through my time spent in D.C., I was able to see the city through a different lens and one that could not have been achieved without the help of this program. People in the city and on Capitol Hill all have different backgrounds, ideas, and ways of life which creates a diverse setting. This has allowed me to further develop my interpersonal skills and I was able to communicate and learn from all kinds of people.

My final week in the program gave me the opportunity to do consulate work at the Royal Thai Embassy in Washington, D.C. During my last week, I learned how to make a passports, Thai IDs and visas, and the learned the process of how each works. In addition, I learned the components needed to help out Thai citizens living abroad. This included learning about how to help Thai citizens with document fulfillment, as well as general issues faced by Thai people. The experience gained from working at the Royal Thai Embassy will help me as I pursue my career path, and I will now be able to better serve the Thai community. I really enjoyed my time at the Royal Thai Embassy. The knowledge passed on to me will stay with me all my life.

While my time in Washington was nearly two months, my only wish is that the program lasted longer. The values, opportunities, experience, knowledge and connections made from this program will propel me as I start my career path, and will help me throughout my life. The program itself is outstanding and I highly recommend this opportunity to all future applicants. I am so grateful for the experience this summer and I wish to thank the Royal Thai Embassy, the US-Asia Institute, Congressman Bill Foster, and everyone who has helped me throughout the course of this internship. It was a pleasure to be a part of this program.

Balin Kird-in from Florida

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