CAS '21 Kristine Lai

GRIP: Intern in Australia

Program Abroad:

  • Global Research & Internship Program (GRIP): United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney Intern in Australia

Ask me about...

  • Completing an internship that seemingly had nothing to do with my major or my previous experiences in STEM

  • Integrating and doing real impact, substantial work that has eventually emerged on the international platform at a well-established workplace with funding support from the Prime Minister and several US agencies

My Experience Abroad:

This summer, I interned at the United States Studies Centre, affiliated with the University of Sydney. The United States Studies Centre is a research-based Think Tank that is a leading force in Australian and Asian-Pacific insight and focuses rigorous analysis of US-Australian relations, ranging on issues from foreign policy, finance and economics, and culture. 

My experience with my internship is unique in a strange way– it is, from the outside, completely unrelated to my Biological Basis of Behavior and Cognitive Science major back at Penn, which seemingly could not be further from international relations work between Australia and the United States. Recently, however, I've begun to consider pursuing a career in a more business-related direction. In that sense, my internship has been perfect for me. I've been deeply involved in economics and finance research around the world and on an international platform– just by simply doing research for reports, I'm gaining a priceless amount of knowledge about these topics. Not only does my internship give me a range of knowledge, spanning from innovation and energy, to venture capitalism in Australia, but it also gives me the niche and specific expertise in areas that I spend days on days researching.

Other Highlights:

  • I was completely involved in international relations research, focusing on research and innovation, economics and finance, and policy and security. And yet, in the end, my internship was the last step I needed to make a decision about my future to pursue a path in business that integrates my passion for STEM.

  • Traveling around the region, allowing me to try the best coffee in Melbourne, swim within a foot of a sea turtle at the Great Barrier Reef, and jump off a mountain by paragliding in Queenstown, New Zealand.

  • Watching the sunset at the Sydney Opera House with my fellow GRIP in Sydney interns

On the Penn Abroad Blog:

Finding Love in Sydney

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