CULCON and the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission are deeply committed and proud to offer a joint internship program. This is a paid internship program. We offer substantive and interesting work, a friendly work environment, encouragement to attend outside related events, reimbursement of transportation costs and excellent networking opportunities.
Why Intern at CULCON and JUSFC?
Internships introduce you to new fields, help you develop or improve skills, build your resume, provide mentorship and can position you to network for future positions.
We are deeply invested in every intern’s professional development, assigning tasks which allow them to learn new hands-on skills and programs to build their resume. Additionally, interns will receive mentoring, and are encouraged to attend outside related events. This is a paid internship, and reimbursement for local transportation costs is provided.
The deadline for Fall ’23 internship applications is 5 pm August 1, 2023
Read below to learn more about internship opportunities.
Please email all application materials to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission (JUSFC), and CULCON offer exceptional opportunities for students interested in Japan, U.S.-Japan relations, or public diplomacy.
We are currently seeking two (2) Fall 2023 interns to support current initiatives, which include activities promoting U.S.-Japan cultural, educational and people-to-people exchange. Interns will be working from a small office in a team-oriented and fast-paced environment in Washington, DC. Duties include, but are not limited to research and writing on issues affecting the United States and Japan, meeting planning and execution, disseminating information via social media, participating in meetings and seminars and writing reports, and supporting program-related and grantmaking activities.
Applicants must be current undergraduate or graduate students with excellent research, writing, Internet, communication (including comfort handling occasional telephone calls) and organizational skills. Knowledge of Japan and/or Japanese language are desirable, but not required.
For the fall, we are seeking two interns to work 10 to 20 hours a week. Most or all of those hours should be scheduled for Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, which are “in office” days. (Thursday and Friday are telework days.) The internship is paid @ $15/hour. JUSFC/CULCON will also reimburse local transportation costs.
Please send a resume and cover letter to culcon[at]jusfc[dot]gov – Please include your preferred start and end dates as well as complete contact information for two references.
APPLICATION DEADLINE FOR Fall 2023 PAID INTERNSHIPS: 5 pm August 1st, 2023. Decisions will be emailed by August 15th, 2023. (This may change, depending on the interview process.)
Meiyi Liu, Spring ’23
Tokyo University; Study abroad at Georgetown
“My internship at CULCON was a very valuable learning experience. In my daily work, I was able to get a glimpse of how government work is done by working on documents at government agencies. Also, in preparing for CULCON meetings, I was able to see and learn about the people involved in people-to-people diplomacy in Japan and the U.S. in a variety of areas. It was an insightful experience for me to be able to see people-to-people diplomacy not only on a day-to-day basis but also outside of the office from time to time. In attending receptions at the State Department and the Japanese Embassy, I was able to meet people who are very engaged in US-Japan relations. I thought that various ideas would be born and realized from this kind of networking. The atmosphere in the office was also very comfortable: my supervisor gave me clear instructions about my work and gave me feedback afterward. In addition, it was an environment where it was easy to talk about anything that came to mind. Through this internship, my goal to be involved in U.S.-Japan diplomacy became a certainty. I am grateful for the unforgettable experience I gained while I was in DC.”
“As an intern with JUSFC-CULCON, I was able to explore my current interests and foster new interests in Japan-U.S. Relations. The most rewarding aspect of the internship has been supporting the JUSFC Summer Institute, which was created to build a pipeline for BIPOC/underrepresented students interested in working and connecting with Japan. My supervisors always made sure I was provided meaningful and interesting tasks that would develop both my professional skills and knowledge of Japan-U.S. bilateral relations. By conducting research, contacting vendors, and tracking program implementation progress, I always felt like I had an active role in the office. This internship has provided me with a solid foundation in grassroots educational programming and cultural exchange that I am sure will set me apart in my developing academic and professional career. And I leave JUSFC-CULCON knowing I have life-long mentors who will support me in my future endeavors.”
(Photo: Olivia “Shyann” McDonald (left) with fellow intern Meiyi Liu (right))
Maya Narumi, Summer ’18
University of California, Berkeley
“This internship provided me a well-rounded understanding of the U.S.-Japan bilateral relationship both on the micro and macro level. As an intern, I was able to improve current strengths and weaknesses as well as acquire new skill-sets. I was able to apply and polish my computer skills through various projects such as creating infographics, PowerPoint slides, and structuring the Bridging Foundation’s biennial report. The internship also provided me with multiple opportunities to engage with current and next generation leaders that work to strengthen the U.S.-Japan/Asia relationship, helping me develop professional communication skills. Additionally, having the opportunity to attend various events outside of JUSFC/CULCON gave me a better understanding of how other organizations and individuals view the relationship between the U.S. and Japan and/or East Asia.”
(Photo: Maya (right) with fellow intern Jennifer Waldman (left))
Emir Bailey, Spring ’17
“Interning at CULCON/JUSFC/USJBF has been an incredibly rewarding experience. I have learned so much about the community that promotes U.S-Japan relations. It helped nurture and develop my career aspirations of entering the Foreign Service. Working on projects that allowed me to see the development of education and intercultural side of U.S.-Japan relations and to gain new skills to prepare me for the workforce. There’s something very valuable about the experience at this internship. There’s a great amount of assignments to help expand your range of skills and learning and in addition, its nurturing environment helps you acquire them quite easily. I’m very happy and thankful to have participated in this internship program and I hope that others will continue to experience this wonderful opportunity.”
Shota Nakamura, Summer ’17
“During my time here, I was given the opportunity to work for four different organizations and learn about many different US-Japan or US-Asia related organizations that work at the grass-root level. I was even given the wonderful opportunity to setup the Legislative Exchange Summit, which included almost all of the organizations that work of US-Japan Exchange. My supervisors made sure I always had sufficient and meaningful work to do in the office and they took their time to ease me into the work of each organization. I would say that my biggest takeaway from working at CULCON/USJBF/JUSFC/USJETAA was that it opened a new door for me by introducing me to the world of politics in DC. During my time here, I was able to meet and speak to many notable people through different events throughout the summer. Overall, my time as an intern here was a very unforgettable and educating experience.”
(Photo: Shota (left) with fellow interns Satomi Ando (middle) and Stephanie Sanders (right))
Amy Wei, Summer ’16
Johns Hopkins University
“Interning at CULCON.JUSFC/USJBF has been an incredibly gratifying and informative experience. I have had the opportunity to work directly with the directors of each organization on a plethora of projects and assignments such as planning a U.S.-Japan Summit, reviewing grant proposals, and developing presentations for undergraduate students from Japan. It is entirely hands-on and filled with so many valuable teaching moments facilitated by a kind and caring staff dedicated to your success as an intern. The experiences and insights that I’ve gained will serve as a solid foundation for the future and I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to intern here at the Commission.”
(photo: Amy with Ambassador and Mrs. Sasae)
Kyoko Kishimoto, Spring ’16
University of Tsukuba
“As a first time participant in MOFA’s internship program IDYL, I was very fortunate to be placed at CULCON/USJBF/JUSFC. Daily tasks I was given to complete included conducting research on Universities, NPOs, Fact Finding of grantees, updating the webpage, and creating the electronic newsletter. The experience I gained from this program was invaluable. Not only did it give me sharp insight into how Japan-US relations function, but it also provided me with research and skills I can use to help further strengthen this relationship. All the members in the office were supportive, interactive, and engaging, which helped make me feel welcomed and included as part of the team. In addition to the learning opportunities, I also took advantage of many other opportunities, such as being able to attend Think Tank lectures, receptions, and high-level discussions related to US-Japan relations, all exceptional highlights of my experience in Washington D.C. I am so grateful for this opportunity and I now strongly feel the future responsibility of making these ties everlasting.”
Daniel Krueger, Fall ’14
“As my first professional internship, working for the U.S. CULCON Secretariat exceeded all my expectations and was an enriching experience during my semester in Washington, D.C. My supervisor, Pamela, ensured that the work I completed on a daily basis was interesting, worthwhile, and deepened my understanding of CULCON and the ties that form the bedrock of the U.S.-Japan relationship. I played an active role in organizing a plenary session where I sat in on dialogue between U.S. and Japanese officials and dignitaries. Attending receptions, discussions, and events related to U.S.-Japan relations and educational exchange were only some of the activities that made my time at CULCON such a rewarding experience and introduction to the field.”
Shiloh Meyer, Fall ’12
“Not only was I privileged to meet former Japanese Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki at the Friendship Blossoms Send-Off Ceremony, but I also received an exclusive interview with the Executive Director of the Mansfield Foundation, Gordon Flake. I learned a lot about Japanese culture, their education system, and the strong bonds the U.S. shares with Japan during my time at CULCON. I have never felt more welcomed and accepted as a member anywhere else like I did with CULCON. They included me in every project, allowed me to meet new people, and valued my opinion on all CULCON matters, no matter how big or small. I am truly grateful to have interned at CULCON!”
Nathan Kasai, Spring ’12
“I interned at CULCON directly following a year abroad in Japan. During my time at the commission, one of my main tasks was to help compile guides and resources for Americans traveling to Japan. This served as a great way to share my experience from my time abroad. My internship also allowed me to see the behind the scenes workings of Japanese American relations and to put into practice much of what I had learned as an International Relations Major at AU.”
Riley Newton, Summer ’13
“In my time as an intern for CULCON and JUSFC I learned a lot and I believe I contributed in concrete ways. It was a great opportunity for me, giving me a wealth of knowledge about U.S.-Japan relations and insight into the world of international government organizations. Everything that I learned as an intern was via hands-on experience and through the responsibilities that I took on. While it was easy for me to employ my technical and internet computer skills for managing social media presences like Facebook and Linked-In, I gained new knowledge of research and presentation. I also enjoyed working with the helpful, kind and committed staff in the office. It was fascinating to learn about the diversity of their backgrounds and how they had all ended up working to promote friendly relations between the U.S. and Japan. I’m grateful for this rich experience and I know that I have acquired skills that will stay with me.”
(photo: Riley meeting Amabssador and Mrs. Roos)
Kristy Ishii, Summer ’15
University of California, Los Angeles
“As an intern, I was exposed to several incredible networks that expanded my knowledge of the U.S.-Japan education and business sphere. I was lucky enough to join the 2015 NAJAS Annual Meeting and meet Irene Hirano Inouye (in photo), president of the U.S.-Japan Council, and listen to the Ambassador and several other diplomats give speeches. In the office, I sat in on meetings revolving the Team Up Initiative and internal office procedures that were tied to the grant selection process. Outside of CULCON, I took full advantage of the location. Being in Washington D.C. is like living in the portal to the international world, and nearly all headquarters for international relations and business are at your fingertips. The location of the internship, paired with the unbeatable support of the CULCON staff and the opportunities to network made this an unforgettable short-term internship. I highly recommend this internship to anyone interested in U.S. Japan relations.”
Phoebe Wong, Summer ’15
University of California, Berkeley
“As an aspiring scholar interested in interaction between East Asia and the United States, I was delighted to receive an opportunity to work in D.C. at organizations that facilitate U.S.-Japan exchanges. Not only did I gain professional experiences through event planning, evaluating grant proposals, and much more, I had a chance to truly understand the significance of people diplomacy in international relations. I am also beyond grateful for the networking opportunities Pamela provided me. Overall, working at the three organizations was an unforgettable experience that I would recommend to anybody that is interested in Japan or the field of diplomacy in general.”
Katie Saibara, Summer ’14
“Imagine organizing a summit for Japan-U.S. related organizations, attending a BBQ at the Japanese Ambassador’s residence, and meeting members of congress at a reception at the U.S. Capitol Building that you helped to plan. These are just a few of the amazing opportunities I enjoyed this summer as an intern with CULCON. Though the skills and experiences that I gained over the summer will stay with me for long after, it was the exceedingly welcoming and nurturing staff of CULCON, Bridging Foundation, and JUSFC that was the highlight of my internship. I am incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to intern at CULCON!” (Photo: Katie with Rep. Jaoquin Castro)
Manna Fujiu, Summer ’14
University of Pennsylvania
“With a background in anthropology, I was eager to apply what I learned in the classroom to work that connected my two home countries of Japan and the United States. This internship provided me with more than I had imagined. Working in the “micro-agency” of USJBF/JUSFC/CULCON, I was able to see every little step in realizing this connection. More importantly, as any past intern will tell you, it is the professional and personal growth you gain from the unparalleled mentoring you receive that makes the experience incredible.”
May Wildman, Summer ’12
University of Maryland
“My internship experience at CULCON/JUSFC gave me invaluable experience in the working world. My experience there, particularly my work in social media, helped me gain access to other internship opportunities. I loved working with Pamela, Paige, Jean and Margaret to aid in broadening the organizations’ social media reach. As an intern, I helped come up with blog post ideas, which, as a journalism major, was great. My favorite part about the internship was attending U.S.-Japan relations conferences, and getting a first-row look at U.S.-Japan relations in action. I will never forget my summer with the ladies at CULCON/JUSFC.”
Sabrina Olvirri, Spring ’14
“I came to D.C. with a Washington Semester program that was offered at my school. I chose to apply to the program because I wanted to be sure that U.S.-Japan relations was where I wanted a career. I chose CULCON for this specific reason and it did not disappoint. I learned that I really enjoy U.S.-Japan relations and I intend to continue working in the field. At CULCON I grew not only as a professional but also as a person. Being far from home, the ladies at CULCON made me feel welcome and part of the family. While I was interning there was never a dull moment and I am truly thankful for being given the opportunity of interning at CULCON.”
(photo: Sabrina (center) with staff members Jean Falvey (left) and Laurel Lukaszewski(right))
Yumi Yamashiro, Fall ’13
American University School of Professional and Extended Studies (SPExS)
“At USJBF, my tasks included translating Friendship Blossom applications from Japanese to English, doing research and posting articles on the USJBF website, as well as the Facebook and Twitter pages. Through the internship at USJBF, I gained confidence in myself, especially at their reception (see picture). This reception enabled me to meet people who I would not normally meet. Furthermore, I deepened my interest in the relationship between Japan and other countries especially the United States. In the future, I would like to help contribute to increasing international exchange opportunities for Japanese people.”
(photo: Yumi in the Mansfield Room of the Capitol)
Taro Sawada, Spring ’12
George Washington University
“Working at CULCON was the first internship that I had, and it gave me a general sense of what it meant to work at an important government organization. I had many chances to translate various documents, meet different people that work closely with CULCON, and conduct research or prepare for events related to U.S.-Japan relations, which were all very interesting. Everyone at the office treated me very well, so it was definitely a great educational and learning experience for me.”
Sara Allen, Summer ’13
University of Michigan
“I have a deep interest in Asia, globalization, and international relations and was thus drawn to the work of JUSFC and CULCON. My time at CULCON not only gave me great insight into U.S.-Japan relations, but it also provided me with an invaluable professional experience. While at CULCON, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to attend various events that highlighted the importance of diplomatic relations and exposed the inner workings of a government organization. The entire office was extremely kind and supportive and I could not have asked for a better internship experience!”
Eri Arai, Summer ’13
Bryn Mawr College
“Most of my time here was spent coordinating and publicizing the Friendship Blossoms Initiative. Apart from my work in the office, such as evaluating applications for dogwoods from Japanese municipalities and revamping the agency’s social media presence, I have been able to immerse myself in the world of diplomacy by sitting in on congressional meetings on Capitol Hill, meeting the Japanese Ambassador to the U.S. at his residence, shadowing meetings with Japanese Ministers at the embassy, and working with Foreign Service officers. Everyone in the office was kind, sincere, and inspirational–I learned many invaluable life lessons from their mentorship and will miss them very much. In a nutshell, my internship at CULCON/JUSFC was an amazing, unforgettable experience.”
(photo: Eri with Japanese Ambassador Sasae)
Krista Dieckgraeff, Spring ’13
“As a K-12 Japanese Immersion student from Alaska, I came to Washington D.C. through Marquette University’s Les Aspin Center for Government Program to study and intern for the semester. With a stroke of luck, I was able to join the team at CULCON, JUSFC, and The Bridging Foundation, spending three days a week immersing myself in the world of U.S.-Japan relations. During my time here, I have blogged, researched, and worked on various projects, such as the Friendship Blossom initiative, Bridging Scholar applications, and the eBook initiative. I have also had once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to meet Secretary Mineta and Ambassador Sasae. I could not be more appreciative to Pamela, Margaret, Jean, Sylvia, and Paige for giving me a great experience and being such wonderful mentors. Thank you for a great semester!”
(photo: Krista with Secretary Norm Mineta)
Spencer O’Connor, Fall ’11
“One of the highlights of interning at CULCON/JUSFC was working with people who are passionate about their jobs. The internship helped me clarify my career goals in the international relations field, while providing me valuable skills, professional experience, and networking opportunities.”