Meera Nagaraj

Staff Writer

This fall, the Chinese Studies Department and Center for Career Development unveiled the new Davidson in East Asia Internship Program as an opportunity for 10 students to engage in an internship for two months this summer in various regions of East and Southeast Asia. The areas include, but are not exclusive to Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

The 10 selected students will each receive a $5,000 grant covering airfare, transportation costs, housing and utilities, food and other cost-of-living expenses. Funding for the grants comes from the Freeman Foundation, which emphasizes one-to-one contact in a global environment and holds a specific interest in connecting with liberal arts colleges, according to Dr. Fuji Lozada, professor of anthropology and environmental studies, who played an instrumental role in obtaining funding for the program. The program will require students to completes activities that foster professional development, such as the creation of an e-portfolio, as well as putting together informative community presentations before and after the internship.

Goals of the program include providing a high-impact and experience-based learning environment in which students strengthen their language and cultural navigation skills as well as further their cultural awareness of East and Southeast Asian societies.

Lozada said that the Davidson-in-East Asia Internship Program comes at a pivotal moment, in light of college president Carol Quillen’s commitment several years ago to create “Transition to Impact” initiatives that are aimed at ensuring student success in the transition from campus life and college classes to careers of service. This program will further those goals and prepare students for work globally. The internship positions are “opportunities for students to take what they learn here, in a liberal arts setting, and apply it and think through it and use it in the real world,” according to Lozada. He exapnded on this to explain that through working for a global organization, “students will be able to see what works or what doesn’t work, and you learn a lot from that.” The skills learned from an internship can be redirected in the classroom as well. “Students will come back and reflect more on the issue in class,” Lozada said.

Increasing global awareness and allowing students to implement problem-solving and critical thinking skills learned in the classroom in the real world appear to be major themes of the program. “We want students to realize that there’s a big world out there, and East and South Asia will be an important part of our future,” Lozada said.

The emphasis, he states is not for students to be “fluent linguistically” but rather to develop a “cultural fluidity” through the internship by developing the skills needed to thrive in a different culture. According to Lozada, “the goals for the internship in East Asia program mirror Davidson’s wider goals that enable graduates to be self-aware, thoughtful, and knowledgeable — global citizens who are at ease with differences among people and cultures.” Additionally, he continued, participants in this program will learn to be “team-builders who are able to work effectively with a wide range of people and partners.”

Several warm leads for organizations that may offer internship positions have already been identified by the Chinese Department and the Center for Career Development through alumni, parent, and faculty networks. They cover a wide variety of fields such as arts, media, banking, public policy and government, consulting, technology and software, and sustainability and renewable energy. However, interested students who have identified a specific opportunity are encouraged to apply for the internship program.

The internship program is open to students of all years and majors. Interested students should plan on attending one of two information sessions in the fall and submit a written application and resume through Handshake by December 1. For more information, contact Professor Fuji Lozada at erlozada@davidson.edu or Jamie Stamey at jastamey@davidson.edu.