Freeman interns in Korea get visit from their faculty adviser Jeffrey Ayres
Professor says his role as director of Center for Global Engagement enhances possibilities for more such placements as he meets with provider-network leaders
On the final week of their eight-week internship placements in Seoul, South Korea, 14 Saint Michael’s students spent time with their visiting faculty adviser, Jeffrey Ayres, director of the Center for Global Engagement and professor and chair of the Department of Political Science and International Relations.
Ayres said a major focus of his trip to Seoul was to visit the offices of the third-party provider that placed the students in internships — The Education Abroad Network (TEAN)—meeting with TEAN’s Seoul staff, visiting several internship sites in businesses and non-profits across the city where students are placed, reviewing the student housing, and of course, checking in on the overall personal well-being and level of professional engagement of the Saint Michael’s students.
Ayres also met with colleagues from two of the top private universities in Korea—Korea University and Sogang University, the latter one of the largest Catholic universities in Asia—to discuss possible future student and faculty exchange and programming with Saint Michael’s College.
These internship placements in Seoul are generously supported by an annual grant from the Freeman Foundation, as well as additional support from the Center for Global Engagement. “I am thrilled that we were able to place students in internships in Seoul, South Korea in-person, after two years of disruption from the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Ayres.
Ayres added, “the internship placements across different industries and non-profits have given our students access to high-impact, experiential learning that complements so well the liberal arts education they are receiving in the Saint Michael’s classroom. In these internships, our students have grown both personally and professionally, building global citizenship skills to communicate and think more clearly and effectively, engaging in research and analysis and solving problems, and of course learning to work well and collaboratively across different cultures and languages.”
The application process and time frame for the 2022-23 Global Citizenship International Internship Program will begin early in the upcoming fall semester, with the expectation that a new cohort of students will be selected by December through the competitive application process for placements in internships in Seoul in summer 2023.
The College’s Global Citizenship International Internship program is managed by Ayres, in collaboration with Peggy Imai, the director of the Office of Study Abroad, and Professor Robert Letovsky, of the Business and Accounting Department. The international internship program is one of the pillars of the Center for Global Engagement, in addition to study abroad, undergraduate and post-graduate fellowships, and the Peace Corps Prep program—all of which “provide opportunities for students to complement their on-campus academic work with international experiences that help them become better aware of, understand and navigate the wider world, building global competencies that will help them both personally and professionally for the rest of their lives,” said Ayres.