CAPS, Freeman Foundation grants boost student internships in Asia

The UO has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the Freeman Foundation to award and administer Freeman Internship Fellowships for undergraduate and graduate students conducting internships in East and Southeast Asia.

The funds, administered by the UO’s Center for Asian and Pacific Studies, offers fellowships of up to $6,000.

The grants allow students to choose an internship in Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Macao, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, or Vietnam.

Over the past 12 years, Vice Provost for International Affairs Dennis Galvan has been impressed with the opportunities these internships have brought to the UO community of students. But he also feels the program allows students to gain an edge not many graduates can achieve through a traditional college education.

“This is one of the best investments we've made in developing global education at the UO.  And is one of the best investments a student can make—real work experience overseas is a ticket not only to self confidence, but also to greater competitiveness in a tight job market,” notes Galvan.

During 2011-2012, a total of 86 UO students participated in internships around the world.
One such student was Shawna Widmer, an advertising and public relations major who chose an IE3 summer internship at Elephant Nature Foundation in Thailand, nursing and rehabilitating abused or abandoned Asian elephants.

Unlike an independently chosen internship, IE3 Global Internships provide UO students with academic credit, placement support, pre-departure orientation, international health insurance and support by a regional director in the U.S.

"If you had asked me 2 years ago, I would have never thought that I would be able to go by myself to Asia and have an internship where I did not know one person for an entire summer. I have found that truly if I put my mind to it and work really hard, anything is possible,” says Widmer.

For Taylor London, an international studies major, who also chose an IE3 internship, the experience of teaching English to children at Jinqiao Schools in China was nothing short of transformative.

"When I am asked the inevitable question of ‘How was China?’ I launch into descriptions of the weird food I ate, traversing the Great Wall in Beijing…my wonderful host family…teaching kids English…my supervisor, Ma Laoshi,” says London. "It was three months of my life that taught me to live every day of my life with joy, purpose, love, and compassion."

IE3 Global Internships offers UO students many options to intern abroad and a total of 29 internships in East and Southeast Asia, including internships with the Vietnam Green Building Council, Shure University in Japan, Women’s Aid Organization in Malaysia, and Pathways to Development in Cambodia.

IE3 Internships and Freeman Internship Fellowships are still available for summer and fall 2013.  Apply by January 25 for a summer internship or by April 15 for a fall internship.  The Freeman Internship Fellowships deadline is April 15 (for summer or fall).
For more information on the Freeman Internship Fellowships, please visit the CAPS website.

For information on IE3 Global Internships, please visit Study Abroad Programs online or drop by 333 Oregon Hall.

About the Freeman Foundation
The Freeman Foundation's major objectives include strengthening the bonds of friendship between the United States and countries of East and Southeast Asia. Through education and educational exchanges, the Foundation hopes to develop a greater appreciation of Asian cultures, histories and economies in the United States and a better understanding of the American people and of American institutions and purposes by people of Asia.

About UO Center for Asian and Pacific Studies
The Center for Asian and Pacific Studies is a research and outreach center devoted to promoting understanding of the Asia-Pacific region. Its primary aim is to foster collaborative and individual research engaging Asia-interested scholars from the UO, the nation, and around the world. The Center is distinctive in terms of its geographic scope with programmatic focus on East Asia, South East Asia, South Asia, and the Pacific Islands.

About IE3 Global Internships
IE3 Global Internships provides opportunities for students to grow personally, professionally and cross-culturally. Students integrate their academic experience into professional practice through high quality, affordable and rigorous international internships that help them develop the global competencies employers seek: intercultural competence, adaptability, creativity, global awareness, stewardship and job skills. To date IE3 Global Internships has placed more than 2,000 interns in over 97 countries worldwide.