Centre-in-China internships open doors to global citizenship

As part of Centre College’s Centre-in-China program, 12 students spent their semester not just studying abroad but also participating in a variety of international internships.

In addition to taking courses in China, students are offered the opportunity to participate in an internship in the largest city in the world, as part of their coursework, that id related to their course of study or career interests.

“Most of our students join the Shanghai program having never studied Chinese or taken any Asian studies courses,” said Kyle Anderson, director of the Center for Global Citizenship. “It’s a testament to the quality of our partners and the way the program is run that our students fall in love with the language, culture and people of China. It is becoming increasingly common for our students to return to the city after the end of the program to participate individually in an international internship.”

The Centre-in-China program is the College’s only study abroad program that guarantees an internship experience.

“Our partners at the Shanghai Alliance work one-on-one with students to determine their interests and to find the ideal fit,” Anderson said. “Before they even arrive on Chinese soil, our students have already interviewed with the businesses and organizations where they will be working. They arrive in Shanghai in September confident about their internship placements and ready to join the team.”

Economics and finance major Ethan Lim ’20 (Hendersonville, Tennessee) interned in sales and marketing at WeWork for Freshchefs, a corporate catering company.

“To be honest, I had a great internship,” Lim said. “Not only did I learn more about how a growing start-up business operates and develops, but I was able to experience tasks I didn’t expect to take.”

Lim explained how he was in charge of client relations when pitching the new reservation software. He also had to visit local restaurants to represent the company.

“This taught me a lot regarding keeping composure and dealing with on-the-fly questions, testing my knowledge on the actual system,” he added.

Anderson said international internships add rich opportunity for growth and maturation. These experiences provide another circle of friends and colleagues from whom students can learn, multiplying their opportunities to improve skills that ready them for global work, leadership and service.

“These four months have been some of the best months of my life,” Lim said. “I was tested in problem-solving in various scenarios out I have been able to create memories with people I will stay in contact with for life. I am truly going to miss the bonds I made here.”

Je’Coiya Moore ’19 (Dorchester Center, Massachusetts) interned at Fudan University Shanghai Medical College’s Public Health Department, where she assisted Dr. Weibing Wang with his epidemiology research on patients’ resistance to tuberculosis medication.

“I decided to study in China because the experience would be like none other,” Moore said. “I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and study somewhere that was completely foreign to me. I was intrigued by Chinese culture and wanted to immerse myself in it.

“I am very appreciative of this experience, because it has expanded my knowledge of public health and infectious disease—two fields I am interested in pursuing further,” she continued. “This internship provided clarity regarding my professional aspirations. In addition, I have gained cross-cultural work experience that has taught me great lessons about communication, advocating for myself and staying committed.”

Mindy Wilson, associate director for the Center for Career & Professional Development said that international internships embody the philosophy that Centre embraces—to create global citizens and prepare students for their next step in a unique way.

“Internships in a foreign country, especially in such an influential city as Shanghai, can really set students apart from other applicants when they are applying for jobs and graduate school. In addition, they can help our students understand the unique perspectives that can only be afforded by participating in daily life and work in a different culture.”

by Kerry Steinhofer
December 4, 2018