Every year, hundreds of students apply to participate in the Stanford Global Studies Internship Program, which offers undergraduates and graduate students an opportunity to extend classroom learning while engaging in immersive cultural and professional experiences around the world.
Open to students in all majors, the eight-week program features internships in a wide range of fields, including business, non-profit, media, education, medicine, art, science, and government.
This past summer, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the program pivoted to offer 35 students virtual internships in 19 locations around the world. Below, six students reflect on their virtual internships.
Rogers Investment Advisors, Tokyo Japan
This summer, I interned at Rogers Investment Advisors based in Tokyo. Although I was not able to work in its office near the beautiful Zojoji Temple, I was still impressed and thankful for the guidance I received from my mentors, and the support from the other interns.
Every day, we had an hour-long class on alternative investment. We started from fundamentals such as hedge fund economics and leverage to more complex fixed income structuring, and we were finally equipped to discuss the global financial crisis in a sophisticated way. I felt so lucky to have mentors willing to invest time into helping us learn and to have a study group that was always ready to help.
In addition, during daily tasks such as preparing a daily news brief and researching hedge fund strategies, I was constantly able to reflect on and apply the knowledge just learned in class. How could the latest news on politics signal future interest rate fluctuation? How did certain hedge funds seek alpha in complicated debt tranches? A highlight of the internship was an asset management project for a Japanese pension client. I got to learn more about the Japanese market and practiced portfolio construction knowledge in a real-world business scenario.
This past internship has been an amazing experience of working hard, learning, and constantly asking questions. I really hope that someday I can meet in-person with the lovely people that I worked with.
Keru, Shanghai, China
This summer, I had the incredible opportunity to work for an organization named Keru, based in Shanghai, China. Keru is an education consulting company that works with nonprofits to further the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals across Asia. I came into this internship expecting to do work that was good for others, but by the end of the experience, it was clear that all the hard work put into helping them made me into a better person too.
I primarily worked on marketing and business development strategies. Everything from writing articles for LinkedIn about how service-learning can be life-changing, to developing a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. All of these projects helped me develop my professional skills, and I learned a lot about what it takes to run a bootstrapped, social impact firm in modern times. But perhaps the most impactful thing I worked on this summer was the service-learning program I mentored and taught. Our end goal was to present a local non-governmental organization in China with a modern, globally-focused educational curriculum for students in rural schools who are often left behind. I got to teach students the fundamentals of curriculum building, and eventually deliver some incredible classes and strategies to be replicated across rural China.
This internship has ignited my passion to continue working in the social-impact realm. It taught me that firms founded with goals to change the world can be sustainable and successful in the long run. Without the program’s support, I wouldn’t have been able to learn so much about China, and the needs of the world.
Social Science Research Center, New York, NY
I had a wonderful time virtually interning at the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) this past summer, and I feel so grateful to have been able to learn so much about their work while getting to contribute. I was assigned to SSRC’s Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum, focusing on policy work for the UN, especially issues related to conflict dynamics and prevention.
I worked on research, media roundups, briefings for managers, notetaking for meetings, and helped redesign the website. I also sat in on expert brainstorming sessions. I really got a better sense of the type of work that international lawyers and political academics do on a day-to-day basis. In addition, I learned a ton about different crises going on in the world, such as the Rohingya refugee crisis and the impact of COVID-19 in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. I have a better idea of the types of jobs I could pursue after I graduate with a political science degree.
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington, D.C.
Over the summer, I worked with the Carnegie Senior Fellow Karim Sadjadpour on radicalism in the Middle East. My work focused on the relationship between sexuality and radicalism to get a better understanding of how sexuality has been utilized as a tool for perpetuating extremism in the region. This was a great experience since I got the opportunity to work closely with an insightful researcher at a global think tank on a topic that I was interested in but had much to learn about.
Furthermore, this internship taught me how to be a better researcher, especially through extensive qualitative research and exploring primary sources. One of my main goals for this summer was to get a better understanding of how a think tank works. Fortunately, I was able to get a better sense of this type of work. This is very valuable to me, and I will pursue this type of opportunity later when I graduate from Stanford.
Beyond the critical perspective and career insight that I gained from this internship, I also learned how to work more independently in a remote setting. This experience has been tremendously helpful to my growth as an individual, as a researcher, and as a prospective candidate for opportunities in foreign relations and especially in the think tank world.
B.A. in International Relations ’20 & M.A. in East Asian Studies ’21
University of Auckland, New Zealand
Conducting community-based research through the Global Studies Internship Program has been an impactful and invaluable experience for me at Stanford. I now look forward to continuing community engagement and research important to Pacific Islander communities.
This summer I remotely interned from Honolulu for Dr. Margaret Mutu of the University of Auckland and her tribe, Ngati Kahu. I conducted research regarding Dr. Mutu and her tribe’s recent experiences with Chinese foreign developers. We examined the positive experiences of the mana whenua (ancestral stewards) of the Karikari peninsula under Chinese as opposed to American developers. In 2015, the tribe and the Chinese executives of Shanghai CRED Real Estate Co. successfully negotiated a development plan that respected Ngati Kahu ancestral sites on the property. This was considered a great success after years of contention with the previous American owners of the property who refused to respect ancestral burials.
During my internship, I examined the cultural exchanges and practices that have allowed for this positive relationship to grow over the years. It appears that Shanghai CRED recognizes and upholds the te mana te rangatiratanga (authority and power) of the indigenous stewards of the area. However, I also discovered that aboriginal descendants in North-Western Australia had an opposite experience with the same company. In 2019, Shanghai CRED allegedly cleared land without first consulting the Nyikina Mangala Traditional Owners. In comparing these two cases, I learned of the diverse effects of Chinese development for the indigenous peoples of Oceania.
My M.A. thesis examines the potential implications of the Belt and Road Initiative on indigenous Pacific Islander communities. Through my internship with Professor Mutu, I learned the complexity and breadth of Chinese growth in the region. I have thoroughly enjoyed gathering data, conducting interviews, increasing my interpersonal communication skills, and respectfully learning about another culture. This internship has given me an opportunity to apply my personal interests to a comprehensive research project with real implications for culturally appropriate research. I have learned crucial research and writing skills that will prepare me for graduate school and a future career in law.
Intumit, Taipei, Taiwan
This summer I hoped to gain valuable experience working at a tech company in order to determine if I wanted to major in computer science. After my time working with Intumit, a company in Taipei, Taiwan, I am confident that I will major in CS. Because of the pandemic afflicting the world, I was unable to physically travel to Taiwan for the internship. However, my virtual experience was still very valuable. Through frequent emails and video calls, I developed a wonderful working relationship with my supervisor and fellow interns at Intumit. My new understanding of how to work in a virtual environment will continue to reward me throughout my life.
Despite staying in America for the internship, I was still able to gain a greater insight into Taiwan’s culture and people. I had some opportunities to utilize my Mandarin ability. Intumit was also very kind, and at the end of the internship, they hosted a Zoom party. They sent a package with a variety of Taiwanese snacks to give the other interns and me an actual taste of Taiwanese cuisine. It was very kind, and I look forward to physically working in Taiwan sometime in the future.
Visit theGlobal Studies Internship Program websitefor more information about internship positions, deadlines, and ways to get involved. In 2021, we are planning to offer a hybrid of virtual and in-person internships in the spring and summer quarters, depending on the evolving nature of the global pandemic.