International Internship Programs Offer Students a Glimpse into another World

Posted: April 19, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Catherine Probst

As the second leading university in Virginia for sending students abroad, Mason, through the Center for Global Education (CGE), provides students with a variety of international internship options.

Students may participate in a semester- or summer-long internship program focusing on topics ranging from international development to conflict resolution and peace building.

“The idea of our internship programs is that nearly any major can apply as long as they meet the eligibility requirements of [having a] 2.50 GPA and 45 credits and get a placement relevant to their major,” says Misty Hensley-McGaffey, International Internships program officer.

Mason’s first internship program, created in 2003 and the most popular, takes students to London, England, for a semester or summer. In London, students attend weekly classes on British life and culture and intern at institutions such as the House of Commons and the British Museum.

Traveling to Marseille, France, the hub of Mediterranean culture, students can intern at marketing firms, nonprofit organizations, real estate companies and trade organizations. Weekly classes are offered on Mediterranean life and culture.

The Global Humanitarian Action Program provides students with training and career development in the humanitarian field. Some of the themes of the program include disaster studies and risk assessment. Students will work four days a week at a humanitarian organization in Washington, D.C., attend weekly seminars and travel to Geneva, Switzerland, to visit major humanitarian organizations.

Students can also choose to intern for eight weeks at an organization that focuses on international development in Washington, D.C., while traveling to Costa Rica to experience firsthand the opportunities and challenges of international development. Weekly seminars cover topics such as ecotourism and fair trade.

For students who are looking for an even more far-reaching experience, a trip to Beijing, China, may do the trick. Students will spend a semester-or summer-long internship focusing on business, culture and politics. Weekly seminars and cultural excursions allow students to experience historic and present-day Beijing.

“Although it is a fairly new program, launched last fall, it is quickly gaining popularity among students,” says Hensley-McGaffey.

A unique six-week summer program in Israel and Palestine allows students to gain experience in Arab-Israeli relations. For four or five days a week, students will intern in a variety of Israeli Jewish and Israeli Arab and Palestinian organizations while attending seminars with Israeli and Palestinian decision makers. Travel opportunities include excursions through Israel and Petra, Jordan.

The advantages of studying abroad are endless and include applying federal loans and aid to internship costs. In addition, Mason offers limited scholarships for the program, and students are encouraged to research other study abroad scholarships in the Resource Library.

Students can also earn academic credit for participating in internships and weekly academic seminars. Working with a program officer or faculty director ensures students are placed in internships matching their personal and professional interests, skills and previous course work.

Eligible students must complete an application online and bring or mail in the supplementary documents to the CGE office.

For more information on international internships, visit the CGE web site, call 703-993-2154 or stop by Room 235 in the Johnson Center on the Fairfax Campus.

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