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Opportunities abound for international interns

Ten USF students qualified for internships abroad this summer under the University’s Global Ambassador Summer Internship Program. These students will travel to places such as Spain, Costa Rica, Thailand, Indonesia, Mexico, India, Israel, Lebanon and Egypt.

Ashlea Herbert, admissions officer in the international admissions office, said all USF students are qualified to participate in the program as long as they are in their last semester or last year of their bachelor or post bachelor’s degree. As interns, they are required to work for at least one month so they learn what it’s like living and working in another country.

“It is a whole different experience,” Herbert said.

There are more than 20 offices around the world where students could be placed, such as U.S. embassies and U.S. education offices around the world such as Fulbright, AMIDEAST and U.S. for International Development (USAID).

Applicants for this program are required to submit their transcript and letters of recommendation in January. A thorough evaluation of their credentials is done and those selected undergo interviews conducted by a panel. The office of International Admissions releases its decision toward the end of March or the beginning of April. The office places students in different offices abroad, prioritizing the students’ choice and interests.

Aiah Yassin of the honors college is now halfway through her internship in AMIDEAST in Cairo, Egypt. She chose Egypt because she wants to experience working in a non-American atmosphere. She has now adapted to her job.

“I was scared at the beginning, but now I go to work everyday very excited to solve Egyptian student problems,” Yassin said. “They all want to study in the U.S. and they have no idea what to do, what exams to take, what papers to send.”

Upon her arrival in Egypt, she felt very much welcomed. She attributed this to the efforts of Evelyn Levinson, associate director of International Admissions, who kept up communications with contacts in the countries each ambassador went to.

Ryan Orgera, a graduate student of French/Spanish International Relations, chose to go to Mexico because “Mexican-American relations are strained, elections are taking place in Mexico, and such a large percentage of the U.S. is Latino that I felt our neighbor to the south would be a great place to go. Our northern and southern counterparts are far too often left off the agenda for U.S. students,” he said.

Since the global ambassadors program is an internship wherein some earn academic credits, the students shoulder their own airfare to and from the country and also find and pay their own housing. However, Herbert said there are offices that provide for transportation and housing of the students and pay a stipend. Mexico, for example, provides free housing and Spanish lessons. It all depends on the country the ambassador goes to, she said.

When the students return to USF, they become ambassadors on campus. They work with the staff of the international admissions office during functions with international students. When it is time to recruit for the next summer, they help train future global ambassadors.