From Stanford to Tokyo

Stanford baseball player Beau Branton, Management Science and Engineering ’18, writes about his summer internship in Tokyo.

I’ve always wanted to study abroad, but as a student athlete at Stanford, the reality is, it’s difficult. Being a baseball player, we’re conditioned to play all year round, and for the past 12 years in a row, my summers have consisted of tournaments, camps, showcases, and summer leagues. This summer was the perfect opportunity to get away from baseball. Thanks to Stanford Global Studies, I was introduced to the professional world, immersed in a completely foreign country, and had the experience of a lifetime.

Although I was quickly whipped into the strict and disciplined working culture of the Japanese, I like to tell people that at Mitsubishi Research Institute (MRI), we were treated like royalty. Professionally, I learned more than I could have hoped for. Beyond that, I learned that to be a part of their company was to be a part of their family: karaoke and gourmet sushi in a floating restaurant in Tokyo Bay, shrimp pizza and seaweed crackers in the coffee room after work, Japanese card games in a traditional wooden Japanese house in a beautiful rural prefecture, and sharing a beer with the president of the company as we talked about baseball and his love for Silicon Valley. These experiences were only a small sliver of the memories I made in Japan.

From the relationships I built at MRI, to the 20 minute conversations with complete strangers in the cozy restaurants of Shibuya, I will always cherish the eclectic perspectives that can only be discovered by meeting new people in unfamiliar places. Ultimately, the adventures with these people are why I will always treasure endless bowls of ramen, beach days at the “Jersey Shore” of Japan, hiking up Mt. Takao, the larger-than Fourth of July fireworks on a Wednesday night, the chants and the cheers of baseball fans at Tokyo Dome, the unforgettable nights in Shinjuku, and the list goes on.

Every single day, I talked to interesting people, ate delicious food and learned something new. Although this was the second time I’ve visited Japan, my first visit was nothing compared to the experience of truly immersing myself in the experiences and culture that are now a part of me. I went everywhere that I could, did everything that I could do, but somehow I still feel that it wasn’t enough time in the country that I now hold so close to me. But you know what they say, third time’s a charm, right?

The Global Studies Internship program sends Stanford students from any major to pursue internship opportunities in more than 20 countries every summer. Visit the website for more information about the program.

Catch Beau in action at Stanford’s Klein Field this season: http://stanford.io/2nL0L0z.

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