International studies and economics major Race Pellant ’21 (Danville, Kentucky) has spent his summer interning at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China.
As a management intern, Pellant has assisted with daily operations in the embassy, including administrative work and helping other sections complete projects.
“I am interested in foreign affairs and the foreign service in general,” Pellant said. “My dream job is to become a foreign service officer (FSO) and serve abroad. Interning at the State Department was a clear path for me to get a good idea of what it would be like to be an FSO. Interning in China was a bonus, especially at Embassy Beijing, the second largest U.S. Embassy. China is a foreign policy hotspot.”
By the end of the internship, Pellant hopes to leave with a better understanding of how diplomats work abroad, as well as the complexity of China and U.S.–China relations.
Pellant credits the amount of writing he’s had to do at Centre College for preparing him for working in this particular environment.
“I have to write emails back and forth with my supervisors,” he said. “I have to write memos, management notices and reports. My writing is sometimes broadcast to Mission China, which includes all staff in the embassy and our five consulates.
“Centre has also prepared me, because I can handle multiple tasks at once. I am a swimmer, which means I have to balance my classes, practices and social life to stay successful. Working at the embassy, I have to balance three or four different tasks at once,” Pellant continued.
He described this internship as a significant experience for him.
“U.S.–China relations are in a lot of turmoil, and for a lot of reasons,” he added. “I get an inside look into our relations with the Chinese, and it has been very eye-opening. Being able to live in China has also been an excellent experience for me. I feel like I have a much better understanding of the inner works of an embassy, diplomacy and China.
“There are a lot of stereotypes and myths about China, and living in China, I get to debunk them myself,” Pellant concluded. “That said, there are a lot of things about China that are true, and it is incredible to experience them first hand.”
For more information about internship opportunities through the Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD), visit the Internship & Research Spotlight page, which serves as a visual compilation of career fields students have explored across the globe.
by Kerry Steinhofer
August 12, 2019