Culture & Society

International Internships for Undergraduates

Shirin Rai Gupta

New Delhi: While students browsed for internships across the city, nineteen year old Jaya Sukul, a first year student of Lady Sri Ram College spent her summer working on an educational project in Turkey. Gone are the days when young minds are satisfied with a mere degree in terms of education. Now, college students hunt for diverse experiences adding value not only to their resumes but also enriching their life skills. “In less than a month, my internship taught me more about globalization than any of my text books have.” said Sukul who stayed with students from over 8 different nationalities during the internship.

With not many organizations specialising in global internships, quality internships can be elusive when it comes to undergraduate students. Present in over 107 countries and 25 cities in India, AIESEC, the world’s largest international youth organization successfully enabled 10,000 international internships in 2009. With corporate partners like Godrej Industries, Tata Consultancies, AirTel and Standard Chartered Bank,  the organisation was founded by a group of students after the Second World War in Stockholm, with an objective to strengthen cultural ties across nations.

From over 500 internship applications, students of Delhi University and IIT Delhi facilitated 200 life changing international internships for undergraduates across the capital in 2010. Students were given the option of choosing diverse internships ranging across the corporate, education and social sectors, along with a choice of listing their top three country preferences. “I was placed with Novosibirsk State University in Russia and undertook research on academic projects along with organizing a series of cultural programmes across the country in May this year,” said Adhiraj Singh, a second year student at Hansraj College. “I now have friends from over 20 nationalities of the world!” he adds. Students from prestigious institutes like Shri Ram College of Commerce, St. Stephen’s College, Lady Sri Ram College, Hindu College and Hansraj College participated in these internship programs, successfully being placed in countries like China, Brazil, United States and Turkey.

Through international exchanges, AIESEC, attempts to weave people of different backgrounds, cultures and values into a fabric of mutual understanding and tolerance. “We place students on internships, personally suited to each candidate’s requirement, assisting them with each step; from visa applications to accommodation in their destination country”, said Ramita Vig, 22, president of the AIESEC chapter in Delhi University and a recent graduate of Sri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC.) Vig, who has already been placed on a management internship in Turkey, aims at setting projects for undergraduates in Germany and United Kingdom next year.

Besides facilitating international internships, the student organisation has undertaken a variety of social initiatives to improve awareness on HIV/AIDS, rural development, women empowerment and educational opportunities across the country.

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