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$400,000 grant will support KU students interning in Asia

Friday, January 22, 2016

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas Office of Study Abroad has received $400,000 in funding to provide significant scholarships to KU undergraduate and graduate students participating in accredited internship programs in East or Southeast Asia over the next two years. Provided through the support of the Freeman Foundation, these scholarships will advance the OSA’s Generation Study Abroad commitment of increasing participation in study abroad to 30 percent while furthering the mission of the Freeman Foundation to strengthen the bonds of friendship between the United States and the countries of East Asia through student engagement in the region.

“International internships enable students to gain a deeper understanding of the different cultures, economies, systems and values of peoples across the planet, and to apply that perspective to the context of the professional work environment,” said Angela Perryman, director of the Office of Study Abroad. “These experiences are critical to the mission of KU and to our efforts in graduating globally prepared students.”

In fall 2014, the KU OSA was awarded a pilot grant of $100,000 from the Freeman Foundation for the provision of twenty $5,000 scholarships for students with the goal of increasing access to and participation in professional internships in Asia. Scholarship support proved to be a significant driver in encouraging students to pursue internships in the region. In calendar year 2015, 27 students completed internships in China, Mongolia, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam (up from just seven participants in 2014). Scholarship recipients represented 14 distinct academic majors and all academic levels. Seven award recipients had never traveled outside of the United States prior to departing for their internship programs, and the majority of students had never previously traveled to Asia.

Speech-Language-Hearing major Brigid Derby interned at Eliott’s Corner Pediatric Therapy Clinic in Beijing. “Through my internship experience, I learned about the diversity of the profession, what it is like to work in a private practice setting, different strategies to assist Chinese-English bilingual children and the organization of the online medical database Cliniko. Having clinical experience as an undergrad has been incredibly beneficial.”

Secondary English Education major Thompson Deufel received a Freeman Foundation scholarship to intern in Gwangju, South Korea, at the Kyung Hwa Girls’ High School during the summer term. Throughout the course of his internship, he assisted in a classroom, taught conversational English classes, and planned and delivered original lesson plans. Deufel believes that his internship accurately reflected the work he hopes to do in the future.

“The most beneficial aspect of my internship was the real-life scenarios of teaching that we were not only given the opportunity to witness but also given the chance to be a part of. By working hands-on in the field, and in a true ESL classroom, the experience gained was far more beneficial than any lecture we could have taken” Deufel said.

The Office of Study Abroad plans to award approximately 40 scholarships of $4,000-$6,000 each year in 2016 and 2017. Students may participate in any credit-bearing internship program with a minimum duration of six weeks offered in one of the following Asian countries: Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Macao, Malaysia, Mongolia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand or Vietnam. Qualifying internships should be for a minimum of 20 hours per week during the summer or 10 hours per week during the semester. Additional information on the Freeman Foundation Scholarship for East Asia Internships is available online at The deadline for applications for summer 2016 and fall 2016 awards is March 1.

About the Freeman Foundation

The Freeman Foundation's major objectives include strengthening the bonds of friendship between the United States and countries of East Asia. Through education and educational institutes, the foundation hopes to develop within the United States a greater appreciation of Asian cultures, histories and economies and a better understanding of the American people and of American institutions and purposes by the peoples of East Asia.

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