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Lee Sommerfeldt – Morgan Stanley and Bridging Scholarships to Japan

Name: Lee Sommerfeldt

Class Year: 2018

Hometown: Sealy, TX

Major(s): Business Administration, East Asian Languages and Literatures (Japan Emphasis)

Opportunity and Year: Bridging Scholarships: Study Abroad in Japan0

Project Summary: For this scholarship, I wrote both a statement of purpose for studying abroad in Japan, as well as a research paper regarding the efficacy of Shinzo Abe’s economic policies.

How did W&L prepare you for this opportunity? I’ve received the most assistance from Washington and Lee’s Japanese Department. Although it is probably the smallest department on campus, both Professor Ikeda and Professor Tashiro have been paragons of W&L’s culture. The ability to meet with them on a moment’s notice and receive advice has helped me develop my language skills and passion for Japanese culture. Mixing that with our excellent commerce school and the library’s resources, Washington and Lee has given me the skills to seamlessly apply liberal arts thinking to more concrete topics, such as the modern Japanese economy.

Why did you apply for this opportunity? Aside from the financial assistance, the scholarship also gives me the ability to meet and network with many businesspeople in Japan, possibly even the U.S. Ambassador. Professor Ikeda made sure that I was aware of both opportunities early on in the study abroad application process.

Post-graduation Plans: After graduation, I hope to find employment in a company that has both US and Japanese branches. I’m particularly interested in management consulting, reinsurance, and the finance industry. The more I’m able to travel and utilize my language skills, the happier I will be.

How will this opportunity help you achieve your goals? I plan to take full advantage of the networking opportunities provided through the program. If all things go well, I may even be able to find myself an internship in Tokyo for the coming summer. I’m excited to gain more international experience this upcoming year.

Extracurricular Involvement:

Sigma Nu Fraternity, Campus Kitchen, Venture Club

Off-campus Experience:

I spent the summer after my freshman year attending a language school in Fukuoka, Japan. During these two months, I lived with a non-English speaking host family with which I was able to practice the Japanese I had learned.

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