Freeman grant to fund 14 students for South Korea internships
One of them, Maddie Laquerre '24, describes her excitement over placement with adult language school in Seoul
Saint Michael’s College soon will be sending students abroad to participate in the College’s Global Citizenship International Internship Program, made possible by a grant from the Freeman Foundation.
This year’s 14 academic and professional internships are taking place in Seoul, South Korea, from late May to the end of July. Past Freeman groups have had experiences in Hong Kong, with site placement in Singapore disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. As an alternative, Saint Michael’s students participated in virtual international internships in Vietnam last summer. This year, participating students will be traveling to South Korea this summer to gain professional experience as well as immerse themselves in East Asian culture and language. The internship is open to sophomores and juniors at Saint Michael’s of any major with a 3.0 GPA or higher.
Maddie Laquerre ’24 from Colchester, VT is a secondary education and French double major who was one of the 14 Saint Michael’s students awarded this year’s Freeman Foundation Scholarship. Laquerre explained, “[the Freeman Foundation] is family-owned. They started this foundation because they wanted to improve relations between the U.S. and eastern Asian countries… They’re encouraging students to learn the culture… and helping the students becomes global citizens.”
She is passionate about learning and studying languages and feels that she can utilize that interest at Rolling Korea, a language school for adults in Seoul, South Korea, where she will be an education and marketing intern this summer. “I’m a TESOL minor, which is Teaching English to Students of Other Languages, so my focus and goal is to work with international students. That really informed by decision to apply.”
Laquerre knew she wanted to study abroad as a part of her college experience. “I don’t think I would have gone to a school if I wasn’t able to study abroad, because I feel like the only way for me to become fluent in French was to go and be completely immersed in a French speaking country.” Being secretary of the French club and a French major has added to Laquerre’s interest in language, but she is seeking to enjoy the professional and educational side of the experience the Freeman Foundation Internship provides. “I’m definitely interested in language; I’ve learned a little Korean before going. But I guess I wanted this internship to focus more on the education aspect of it, because I’m going to France next spring semester, so I’m going to get [the foreign language] experience too.”
She raved about how emboldening and encouraging her professors were throughout the application process as well as continuing to be curious about her plans. “[Professor Benjamin White] was my linguistics professor and [Professor] Mary Beth Doyle was my education professor, and they were beyond supportive. They helped me throughout the process,” she said. “Education Professor Valerie Bang-Jensen as well: she connected me with her niece who actually spent three years in South Korea, and I was able to have a phone call with her. The professors I have talked to have been extremely supportive and have asked me a lot about it.”
Laquerre has a positive outlook on how the experience will inform her idea of her own global citizenship. “I’m definitely nervous about being in a new place for a pretty long time. It’s a new culture, you’re unfamiliar with the language, you’re unfamiliar with the customs… there’s so many unknowns, but I guess that’s what’s exciting about it, because you get to figure it out yourself.”
Jeffrey Ayres, director of the College’s Center for Global Engagement and the chief adviser for the Freeman internship cohort since the program’s inception at Saint Michael’s, said other students in this year’s group include: Marisa Butzirus, Scott Czerwinski, Joshua Doubiago, Adrien Harwood, Enzo Li, Frank Loveland, Paulius Macijauskas, Joshua Marshall, Sydney Nelson, Emmett O’Connell, Carson O’Neil, Willow Schaefer, and Nikolas Selvaag.
In addition to Ayres, who is also a professor in the Department of Political Science and International Relations, the College’s Global Citizenship International Internship Program is managed collaboratively with Peggy Imai, the director of the Office of Study Abroad, and Robert Letovsky, a professor of Business and Accounting.
“After two difficult years where we had to cancel the planned internship placements for summer 2020 and summer 2021, we are excited that Saint Michael’s students will again be able to participate in-person in international internships in Seoul, South Korea in summer 2022,” said Ayres.
He added, “these international internships are really an extraordinary opportunity for Saint Michael’s students to build on their academic success, grow personally and professionally and advance career readiness—we are really fortunate to have such a program available for our students at the College.”