Danielle Rocheleau Salaz, Executive Director, Center for Asian Studies
University of Colorado Boulder.
Until recently, for students wanting to do a global internship, the only CU-approved option was through a for-profit provider who charged high fees for a cookie-cutter program. With the Asia Internship Program (AIP), CAS has removed the middle man, cutting student costs and providing more meaningful options through alumni and friends who understand CU and go the extra mile to support student interns each summer.
AIP provides opportunities for students to live in Asia for 6-8 weeks and put their studies into action by working in authentic business settings. They learn about business culture while gaining valuable international work experience, resulting in 1) leadership development and strong Asian connections for the interns, 2) enhanced engagement with overseas CU alumni, and 3) increased opportunities for host company employees to deepen global ties through interaction with CU students.
Keeping costs low expands access to a wider subset of the student body; additionally, we provide scholarships to offset student costs with donor support. We work with host companies on job descriptions, then publicize internships to students. Students apply through CU’s Education Abroad portal. AIP interns complete coursework while overseas to earn Asian Studies or other internship credit.
How does this benefit the University?
AIP is a rare program connecting CU alumni, students, and donors in meaningful and rewarding ways. There are limited mechanisms for connecting CU students with overseas alumni; AIP has created a new opportunity to engage our alumni in Asia directly with students, who can benefit from their mentorship and expertise. Alumni can reengage with CU by bringing interns into their workplaces, incorporating students’ youthful enthusiasm and new perspectives into their businesses. Non-native English speakers have increased opportunities to practice English with interns, while they also support the development of interns’ foreign language skills.
AIP has resulted in life-altering experiences for each of the students, and made a lasting impact on the company employees as well. Having established a record of success, AIP now serves as a model for the Global Ambassadors’ internship program. Accounts of AIP have been published in the Boulder Daily Camera and CU Boulder Today.
Initial discussions with CU alumni and friends were held beginning in 2013, and our first group of CU interns worked in Tokyo in summer 2016. Following my development trip last September, we are expanding this summer by opening opportunities with four companies in Shanghai for the first time, and by offering internships at three new companies in Tokyo.
Given that international internships are one of Chancellor DiStefano's priorities, we plan to expand AIP in three ways: 1) we will continue working with the CU alumni in Tokyo and Shanghai to find new company hosts in those cities; 2) we will explore new partnerships in other cities in Japan and China (we are in early talks with a potential host in western Japan, for example); and 3) we will research expanding into new Asian cities (for example, early conversations are underway with partners in Yogyakarta, Indonesia).