Global Internships are an important part of the work we do at CIEE to help individuals build bridges across culture and contribute positively to the world.
Working abroad is the chance for students to step outside of their environment to listen, learn and respond to the needs of others. It is a way to share American culture and values with new communities of people and learn of theirs in exchange.
The work that Global Interns do may seem small (planting a new garden or editing a manuscript, for example) but it is far from insignificant. Over time, the contribution of global interns in the communities where they work creates a cascading positive effect that spans the globe. CIEE changes lives, our alumni change the world.
In that spirit, we are excited to share stories of alumni who used their Global Internship projects to make a positive difference in their host communities.
Global Interns Driving Social Entrepreneurship
Global internships offer the chance to partner with locals in a foreign community to respond to emerging or current challenges with innovative actions and build new solutions together.
Averill Smith from the University of Southern California, an alumna of the Global Internship program in Lisbon, and an example of the major impact that participants can have on the organizations where they work, as well as the positive outcomes that result.
“She wanted an internship in fashion, so we found a fashion startup,” says Luisa Caldas, Center Director for CIEE Lisbon. “She started as an intern and grew so much with the team that she began contributing as a clothes designer – she helped to design the summer collection for this year.”
Caldas is confident about the opportunities that exist for participants to find internships that capture their interest, fit their academic needs, and allows them to have an impact.
“The Portuguese government has been investing a lot of money in creating accelerators for startups over the past decade,” she says. “This has proven to be great for our interns. We can find organizations that focus on the subjects and type of work that our students are focused on. Often, the startups are made up of small, international teams, where English is the main language spoken at work.”
Global interns develop an international business perspective and work amongst other professionals in a foreign environment.
They sharpen their interview and conversational skills, and in doing so, often build a robust global professional network and portfolio.
Xavier De Leon, from the University of California, Berkeley, worked closely with executive leadership at French South African Tech Labs, an early-stage business incubator helping digital startup founders become powerful changemakers in Cape Town, South Africa.
“My experience in Cape Town has been nothing short of incredible. I've really enjoyed working alongside the CEO and many other ambitious entrepreneurs. Another highlight for me was meeting all the other Global Interns – I could never have chosen a better bunch of people to share this trip with. From trying new foods to attending a rugby game to exploring the dunes, this summer has been unlike any other.”
Global Interns Make a Difference
The CIEE Global Internship Conference is your chance to discuss the impact of global internships and more with leaders in global work exchange and international education. It is a space totally dedicated to global internships, where knowledge is shared, ideas are born, connections are made, and dialogue is elevated to advance student success, public diplomacy, and economic development.
Join us in Berlin at the 11th Annual CIEE GIC: Global Experiential Learning in a Borderless World on June 21-23, 2023. Register here.