Study Abroad Internships

On certain programs, there will be an obligatory, accredited internship component. Internship possibilities will vary between the sites, but all internships focus on working directly with an organization or company in the host community and include a final report/analysis reflecting on the work done and lessons learned.

The programs that currently include internships are:

Shanghai/Beijing INTERN
Japan – Hikone INTERN
Jordan – Amman INTERN
Kenya – Nairobi ICRP&INTERN
New Zealand – Auckland INTERN
Thailand – Chiang Mai INTERN

Japan, Hikone JCMU
Placement Site: Takachiho, Shiga Coffee Corporation
Date: Jan 2019
Title: Coffee Culture in Shiga

Learning Aspect: My project involved working at cafes in Japan to reach a better understanding of how small businesses in Japan operated, and to have a better understanding of how communities function in Japan, specifically in Shiga. I worked part time at two cafes in Japan, one in Nagahama and one in Hikone. As I hope to open a cafe of my own one day, I was interested in learning how these cafes made and branded their product. To gather this information, I observed and took field notes while working. The goal of this project was to observe the coffee drinking community in Japan, and to understand the way they keep their business going. I learned that coffee shops in Japan are reliant on a reliable customer base, and if in the right location, they are reliant on tourist traffic.

Japan, Hikone JCMU
Placement Site: Josei Elementary School, Shiga School for the Blind, and Maibara Kids Club
Date: Jan 2019
Title: Youth Education in Japan

Learning Aspect: My project was focused on learning about education of elementary school age students in Japan, and I achieved this by visiting three internship sites: Josei Elementary School, Shiga School for the Blind, and Maibara Kids Club. I collected information primarily through note-taking, conversation, and shadowing classroom instructors. Through my internship experience I came to understand how English is taught as a foreign language in elementary school classrooms, including in an after school program. In addition I gained newfound knowledge about special education in Japan; this involved no only awareness of disability but also how spaces could be accommodated to better aide those with disabilities. Finally, as a result of communicating with students, I learned about how Japanese cultural values permeate many aspects of social interaction. I believe my knowledge could be applied to many areas of American culture on my return, from ESL classes to changing public spaces to accommodate disability.

Thailand, Chiang Mai
Placement Site: Inter-Mountain Peoples Education and Culture in Thailand Association (IMPECT)
Date: Jan 2019
Title: Understanding the Approach of IMPECT to Working with Local Communities

Learning Aspect: For my project, I was an intern at IMPECT in the Natural Resource and Environmental Management Program. I helped with translating documents in this and other projects, and spent one week in Pongsa district assisting with an ongoing project. I was interested in working with local environments, and wanted to know how IMPECT’s approach differs from other community based participatory research. I was also curious if scientific analysis could be added to the ongoing project known as the 10 Steps of Natural Resource Management by Local Communities. During my five weeks, I took detailed notes in a field notebook and talked with project staff to gain a better understanding of the project. I also sat in on other meetings and workshops taking place at IMPECT. To accomplish my goal of better understanding how IMPECT works with local communities, I studied the 10 Steps of Natural Resource Management by Local Communities. I learned that in comparison to other studies, IMPECT is more conducive to community involvement and ownership. However, while there is some scientific data involved in IMPECT’s process, there is less than most other CBPR projects.