Graduate Finds Her Way Back to China
Julie Colatrella ’12
Can study abroad help
you after Smith? For Cassie Chao ‘10J,
the answer is yes.
Cassie Chao ’10J
Chao’s study abroad program, Alliance for Global Education,
helped her find a position with the Student Ambassadors Internship program in
Shanghai, where she will use her Mandarin language skills this summer to guide
guests through the USA Pavilion exhibits.
The Student Ambassadors Internship
Program, a collaboration between the US-China Institute at
the University of Southern California and the USA Pavilion,
recruits students to serve as national representatives at
the World Expo in Shanghai, China. Only 160 student ambassadors
were chosen from across the country to represent the United
States by providing narratives or answering questions about
the exhibits while primarily speaking Mandarin. Chao will
be working with 79 other student ambassadors and the full-time
staff of the USA Pavilion.
Chao says she hopes networking
within the program will help her eventually find a job in
While the job comes with tremendous
prestige, it also has its perks. “Just like the Olympics have ‘Olympic
Village,’ the Expo has its own living quarters,” says Chao, reporting that student
ambassadors will be living in brand new two- or three- bedroom apartments in
what is known as the “Expo Village.” The apartments are fully furnished with
washing machines, appliances, flat-screen TVs, and microwaves, which are, according
to Chao, not typical in China.
Chao, who visited China in 2004
and 2006, and lived in Beijing and Shanghai as part of her
junior year abroad, says she developed most of her language
skills while in China, though her family is from Taiwan.
She hopes the program will help strengthen her Mandarin speaking
had been dying to go back, and I feel so grateful that I have this opportunity,” she
Chao will begin training in
mid-July as a second session ambassador and will begin her
job in August, continuing through October. Though she will
not find out what the position entails until she arrives
for training, she expects to work within the USA Pavilion,
assisting with the flow of visitors.
“There are a few ambassadors selected to work in VIP operations and external
companies related to the Pavilion,” Chao says, hoping to be assigned to that
post, based on her previous work experience in event operations. “While I am
not expecting to meet President Obama, I hope to,” she joked.