This year’s expansion of the International Bulldogs summer internship program has drawn praise from students and resulted in a surge in applications.

Students have responded favorably to the addition of programs in Spain, Hungary, Argentina, Canada, Uganda, Ghana and South Africa for this coming summer. These additions will likely expand internship offerings by at least 50 positions, Director of Undergraduate Career Service Philip Jones said. While positions are still being finalized, he said, UCS aims to offer 250 internships this summer, up from 172 last summer.

Over 600 students submitted 1,700 applications for the early deadlines of Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, Jones said, and he expects the total number of applications to exceed 2,000 once negotiations with employers are concluded and all deadlines have passed. Students applauded the expanded International Bulldogs options as being very representative of student interests globally, but most said the lack of compensation for many of the internships is problematic.

Last year, Jones said, approximately 1,000 applications were filed for all of the internships. Two years ago, when only British Bulldogs and Bulldogs in Beijing were available, 400 Yalies applied for 50 spots. Students may apply to up to five positions this year.

Along with this year’s new additions, Bulldogs internships are currently available in London, Brussels, Athens, Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, New Delhi and Monterrey, Mexico.

Jones said UCS added programs in Africa and the Americas in an attempt to balance the growth in Asian programs last year. The inclusion of programs in Madrid and Buenos Aires was in response to student requests for more Spanish-speaking opportunities, he said, while Budapest is the first Eastern European offering.

“As part of Yale’s commitment to provide every undergraduate with an international experience, it is important that there be a diversity of potential internship options, both in terms of geography and types of opportunities,” he said.

Students said they are excited about the wide variety in locations and types of internships.

Joshua Tan ’09 said he is impressed by the breadth of geographical offerings, which span five continents. By offering programs in countries that normally attract few American students — such as the cities in Africa — UCS is supporting burgeoning student interests, he said.

“It helps to have a diversity of country locations, even if they may not be of the most obvious interest,” Tan said.

Natalie Carlson ’10, who is applying to business and finance positions in Mexico, Spain and Argentina, said she appreciates the new internships in Spanish-speaking countries.

Although Tyler Scheid ’09 said he does not believe it is necessary to work abroad in order to succeed in the United States, the countries’ varying degrees of economic prosperity give Yalies an opportunity for significant exposure to different ways of life.

“There are third-world countries [available], and there are more modern English-speaking countries,” he said. “I think it’s a pretty comprehensive list of the world and of choices.”

But one area in which Yale programs are missing is the Middle East, said Tan, who would like to see opportunities in even more diverse locations.

“There’s actually a Yale advisory that prevents any foundational or administration help [to certain countries in the Middle East including] Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said. “That can’t really be blamed on the Bulldogs program.”

But not all countries in the Middle East are ineligible for Yale-funded or administered undergraduate travel grants and fellowships. Acceptable locations for Yale-funded programs include Egypt excluding its border with Gaza, Jordan, Kuwait, Syria and United Arab Emirates.

Erica Newland ’08 said there is still a lot of room for UCS to expand into more areas.

“It would be nice if they had internships in Australia, New Zealand or another English-speaking country,” she said.

The expansion into Africa caters to student interest in public health, Robert Nelb ’08 said. These positions include public health care provision and outreach, work in an AIDS hospice, and research in global infectious diseases.

”With public health in particular, in a global setting it’s hard to find a really solid project underground, so if UCS can help it’s great,” he said.

Nelb is a staff columnist for the News.

But many students said they were concerned that most Bulldogs positions are unpaid. Interns are responsible for the costs of room, board, transportation and other expenses.

Chris Sweeney ’10 said the cost of the typically eight-week internships could be a prohibitive hardship for some Yale students.

“There should definitely be some compensation, because obviously if you’re going overseas, some of those trips can be quite costly,” he said. “I think the financial aspect could be a setback for some of the people applying.”

Some locations may be easier than others for students to afford, Tan said.

“I guess I feel that it should be okay [that interns usually are unpaid], especially in places like China and Singapore where the cost of living is much lower than in the U.S.,” he said. “But I can see it being a hardship in places like London, where it’s higher.”

But Brian Edwards ’08 emphasized the importance of the International Summer Award, which helps students on financial aid cover their summer expenses while working or studying abroad.

In addition to support for the costs of their summer program, students eligible for the ISA receive a grant equal to the standard student income contribution expectation for the 2007-2008 academic year. They may apply their ISA grant during one of their Yale summers abroad, although if they use the ISA to fund language study abroad during one summer, they can get a second summer of funding to work in a country in which that language is spoken.

Jones said his long-term goal is to offer between 100 and 150 internships in each of three regions: Europe, Asia and Africa/the Americas. UCS will achieve this effort through expansion of existing programs and additional locations with possible future cities including Lima, Peru, and Copenhagen, Denmark, he said.