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GYLC Day 3: Engaging in Diplomatic Partnerships

24 June 2016

We are now getting accustomed to the daily routines, time difference and shaking off the jet-lag. As has become the norm, our day begun with the Leadership Group Meeting (LGM) during which we were briefed about our visit to the US Department of State. Given the tight security restrictions, we were reminded time and time again to carry our identification documents. We were also warned that the day was bound to be long and challenging, yet rewarding in terms of the diplomatic knowledge we were expected to acquire.

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At the State Department, Mr. Niles Cole, a career foreign service officer addressed us about the role of the consular section, including processing passports for American citizens and issuing visas to foreign nationals wishing to visit the US, among other duties. This was a precious eye-opening experience, as he specifically briefed us about the requirements and process of applying for student visas for those keen to pursue further education in the US. He was kind enough to respond to our many questions which varied from whether US citizens have diplomatic immunity if they commit crimes outside their country to whether it's fair for the US to issue travel advisories to their citizens intending to visit some specific countries.

After lunch and shopping at the Dupont Circle, the country groups split up to visit different embassies. Our group was assigned the Japanese Information and Culture Centre. Julia and Kevin, the officials who addressed us, kicked off with an informative video about Japanese geography and culture before discussing various values, traditions and customs. I thought this tied in well with the ideas presented by yesterday's speaker on intercultural communication. 

We then had a photo opportunity at the White House and Washington Monument giving us an insight into the capital city's key attractions.

After a long day out, we had dinner at the hotel and happily dressed down into casual attire for our group meeting. Here, we continued discussing Turkey's conflict with Greece over Cyprus. Overall, the day was full of events, and there were many things to learn.

Jeonghun Bae