More Elis in more places

Yale’s International Bulldogs program will offer Elis new opportunities to work abroad this summer in cities in Israel and Denmark.

The new internship programs will be located in Tel Aviv and Copenhagen, increasing the total number of International Bulldog cities to 20, Undergraduate Career Services Director Philip Jones said Monday. The number of Yalies participating in the International Bulldogs programs this summer is expected to increase to 270 from 220 last summer, he said, thanks to expansion of other programs, including those in Istanbul, Athens and London. The Beijing program will also return this summer after a yearlong hiatus due to the Olympics.

But the program will not continue to expand forever, Jones said. When the number of undergraduates participating in the programs reaches 300, which will likely happen in the summer of 2010, UCS will shift its focus from expanding the number of opportunities abroad to concentrating on improving its existing programs, he said.

While there has been interest in creating a Bulldogs program in Israel for several years, Jones said it had been impossible to do so until last March, when the University loosened its restrictions on international travel.

Israel may not be the only Middle Eastern country with a Bulldogs program for long. UCS is considering creating a Bulldogs program in a currently undetermined Arab country for the summer of 2010, he said.

Part of the impetus for creating the Copenhagen site was to expand the program’s European opportunities, as well as to offer more architecture and design-related internships, Jones said. European programs receive roughly 50 percent of all International Bulldog applications, even though only about one third of all internships are located in Europe, he said.

“We’re looking at where are the gaps and where is there extra demand,” Jones said. “There is tremendous demand for Europe. As we look forward, we want to make sure we offer a significant number of programs in Europe.”

The program in Tel Aviv will offer roughly 20 spots, compared to 10 in Copenhagen, Jones said. Internship opportunities in Tel Aviv will include positions in the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Sotheby’s and non-governmental organizations concerned with the conflict between Israel and Palestine, Jones said. Students in the program will not be allowed to travel to the West Bank or Gaza Strip, he said, given safety concerns.

Budgets for the two new cities have not yet been determined, Jones said, though he expects the budgets to be comparable to those in other nearby Bulldogs programs. Last year, the Istanbul program’s estimated cost was about $4,900, while the Brussels program cost about $5,000, according to the UCS Web site.

The dozen students interviewed Monday evening expressed support for expansion of the International Bulldogs program, but only two said they were interested in spending time in either Tel Aviv or Copenhagen through the program.

Prospective Architecture major Maggie Tsang ’11 said she is already planning to study architectural design in Copenhagen over the summer and will consider applying to the new Bulldogs program there.

“Copenhagen is suited for a design culture,” she said. “It has a lot more to do with what is going on right now in architecture and design.”

Still, not all students were enthusiastic about two new cities.

Rachel Schiff ’10, who spent last summer in Tel Aviv researching the intersection of queer identity and Judaism, questioned whether a Bulldogs program would allow students who wanted to spend time there to experience Tel Aviv’s vibrancy.

“I think Bulldogs programs provide an extra boundary between you and citizens of the country you are trying to explore, making it harder to create a local community,” she said. “What I’m worried about is the Bulldogs program housing students in a wealthy, politically and intellectually shallow location … where students cannot necessarily find the other, diverse part of Tel Aviv.”

But Harvey Johnson-Black ’12, who said he may apply for an internship with the program, said he appreciates UCS’s assistance in finding housing and internships in Tel Aviv.

The hefty price tag for the International Bulldogs programs put them out of reach of some students.

“I considered participating in an International Bulldogs internship, but because of the cost associated with it, the domestic U.S. Bulldogs program was much more attractive,” said Amy Yue ’11, who applied for the “Bulldogs in the Rockies” program in Colorado last summer.

Last summer, about 380 students participated in Bulldogs programs in the United States and around the world, Jones said. Of these, 160 participated in the Bulldogs Across America programs, run separately from the International Bulldogs programs.

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