This summer Penn’s International Internship Program will expand both in terms of the number of internships available and the countries where these internships are offered.
IIP, which began five years ago and is available to both graduate and undergraduate students, provides students with the opportunity to intern all over the world.
Last summer, IIP sent 51 students to intern around the world, and expects to send 65 students this coming summer.
This increase in opportunities is matched by a significant increase in applicants. Currently, there are 350 student applicants, which marks a 45 percent increase from the number of applicants last year.
Cara Bonnington, international internship manager for Penn Abroad, is working on expanding IIP.
“We have expanded to new locations and new alumni clubs,” Bonnington said. “We have many more applicants than we can take.”
Zeke Emanuel, vice provost for Global Initiatives, who is helping lead this expansion, believes that interning abroad can greatly impact an individual.
“We want to give students meaningful experiences in foreign countries that are meaningful for them and to the country,” Emanuel said. “We want them to appreciate the complexity but also the solvability of problems around the world.”
The expansion of IIP required a greater outreach to various regional alumni clubs in search of more internship possibilities. Additionally, Bonnington said that they are now reaching out to other donors and alumni to raise additional funds.
“More [students] are on financial aid than those that are not,” Emanuel said. “We want to make sure that more students that have financial aid are in this program than not.”
Past students described their experiences at IIP as life-changing, providing great opportunities to work and live abroad.
College sophomore Aliza Stone spent 10 weeks in Botswana interning at SOS Children’s Villages, a nonprofit that helps provide childcare and health support to families in Africa. While in Botswana, Stone worked both at the orphanage’s school as a teaching assistant and in the library, repairing the facilities.
Stone described the experience as perfect for anyone adventurous and flexible.
“I definitely gained a lot of independence, living in such a foreign and different place completely on my own,” Stone said. “You really do get a new perspective on how big the world is, and what is — and isn’t — possible to do or change within it.”
This Friday, Feb. 1 is the deadline for the IIP applications. Although the office is pleased with the current application rate, they are always looking for more students to participate in this opportunity.
“It’s a great thing to be able to feel like you can make a difference in the world and then simultaneously learn,” Emanuel said of IIP. “What could be better?”
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