As part of the University’s continuing efforts to make globalization more than an ethereal buzz word on Yale’s campus, a new internship program, Bulldogs in Beijing, will be launched this summer. Details of the program were discussed at an informational meeting Thursday night at Undergraduate Career Services
The program, organized as a collaboration between the University, the Yale Club of Beijing and host organizations in the city, currently consists of 17 internships at 16 Chinese organizations of varying sizes and purposes. The program aims to combine language immersion with work experience during the summer months. The internships, joining programs in England, Hollywood, Kentucky, Ohio and Germany, are a component of the University’s efforts to broaden the geographic scope of students’ experiences, Yale President Richard Levin said.
“This is of course part of the original vision of internationalizing,” Levin said. “Attracting more students here on one hand, and getting our students overseas on the other hand.”
Current Beijing residents Tom Melcher ’85, and his wife, a Yale alumna, selected possible internship sites and worked with these sites to develop the positions, University Secretary Linda Lorimer said. After the sites were narrowed down, several University officials, including Undergraduate Career Services Director Philip Jones, inspected each of the sites and finalized the list of internships, Lorimer said. Internship sites include both U.S. company branches in China such as IBM China and Miramax, along with native Chinese companies such as the health club Club Nirvana.
Students will serve as ambassadors for Yale, particularly at the Forbidden City, where they will be among the first foreign students to work in that location, said Undergraduate Career Services Director Philip Jones, who described the program as an “opportunity of a lifetime.”
The chance to work in China, a country which is assuming increasing importance to the University and the world, has the potential to offer a great deal to Yale students, Yale College Dean Peter Salovey said.
“At the moment, this is an area undergoing rapid transformation,” Salovey said. “The educational impact of a program in China now is probably optimal. There are more students from China on the Yale campus than any other country,” Salovey said.
Jones said he expects the application process for the internships will be competitive. Students enrolled in the program are required to have some knowledge of Chinese, but the level of proficiency varies according to the position.
Although all of the internships — except for positions at Miramax Films — are unpaid, financial assistance in the form of stipends will be available to students already on financial aid. Salovey said that the exact formula for reimbursement is still being worked out.
In the future, students might be paid by the work sites for internships, but for the moment they have to establish a reputation for themselves as deserving of compensation, Lorimer said.
“We hope that over time as Yale students get to be known there as hard workers who will be very productive interns and that after the first year many of these placement sites will be willing to give a stipend in the subsequent years,” Lorimer said.
Students who attended the meeting said they welcomed the new program and were looking forward to enhancing their academic careers with a summer program abroad.
“I think this would be a good opportunity to improve my language skills,” Jeri Xu ’07 said. “It would be exciting to work in Beijing because it is a completely different environment.”
During the program, students will live in a youth hostel in Beijing. The program is also designed to supplement work activities with optional social events at the Great Wall, the U.S. ambassador’s residence, and the Forbidden City.
“I’m really interested in the culture, the language, the new possibilities for China in the next generation,” Marisa Reisman ’08 said.