Opportunities open up world of learning for Princeton students

Interns in India

"As we are currently living in an era that will see massive reform to health care systems, we can actually learn about cost-effective health care models from developing countries. In places such as India, health care has been forced to develop despite limited resources, giving rise to innovative practices that can be adopted by America and other Western nations." —Ankit Bhatia, class of 2010, a chemistry major completing an internship in India He is one of 373 undergraduates studying abroad for credit and154 students participating in international internships this summer.  

Read more about Bhatia and two other Princeton undergraduates who are interested in medical careers and are pursuing internships in health care in India. (Photo: Courtesy of Ankit Bhatia, Sandeep Raj and Tony Trenga)

Classes are out, but learning is a central summertime pursuit for many Princeton students as they participate in a range of activities around the world.

Princeton offers several ways for students to gain international experience over the summer. Internationally focused academic course work, internships, intensive language study, public service and senior thesis research all feature prominently in Princeton students' summer plans.

The Office of International Programs, which encourages students to start their search for international opportunities through its office, oversees two of the main avenues for overseas activities: study abroad and international internships.

This summer, 373 undergraduates are studying abroad for credit. Another 154 students are participating in international internships organized through the International Internship Program; this number includes students enrolled in the Princeton in France program and the Global Seminars program. International internships also are available through the Office of Career Services, German Summer Work Program, Pace Center, Princeton Environmental Institute, Program in Global Health and Health Policy, School of Engineering and Applied Science, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and the Grand Challenges Program, which focuses on energy, health and development.

Funding for international activities varies depending on the program sponsor and the geographic location. Overall study abroad funding provided by Princeton for this summer — for students on both credit and non-credit programs — is estimated at more than $700,000, not including the subsidies offered by departments and programs to keep costs of Princeton programs as low as possible. The International Internship Program gives financial awards for all of its placements, averaging $3,000 per student.

"Princeton students are using the summer to great advantage, gaining valuable intercultural and language skills and being stimulated by their travels and exploring the history and contemporary concerns of other countries and regions of the world," said Nancy Kanach, senior associate dean of the college, who oversees the Office of International Programs. "We hope that the students will continue to develop and deepen their interest in international issues through their studies both on campus and during a semester or year abroad."

From locations in six countries, seven students currently working as interns wrote about their summertime experiences:

Ankit Bhatia, Sandeep Raj and Tony Trenga in India (see above right)

Kathryn Bailey

"I have always wanted to immerse myself in a culture different from my own and make a difference in the lives of others who are less privileged than myself. When choosing colleges as a high school senior, the opportunities at Princeton to do research abroad was a big part of my decision to attend Princeton."

—Kathryn Bailey, class of 2010, an anthropology major completing an internship in Johannesburg and the Eastern Cape, South Africa, and Lesotho

Read more.

"I wanted to have a college experience away from Princeton to catch a glimpse of how other students around the world live and study."

—Tommy Lopez, class of 2010, a Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs major completing an internship in Santiago, Chile

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Michelle Thompson

"On the personal front, I am dedicated to fostering a deeper sense of my abilities and self-sufficiency. To be abroad for a substantial length of time requires a strong character, and I aim to expand my horizons, try new things and make this city my home."

—Michelle Thompson, class of 2010, Near Eastern studies major completing an internship in Cairo, Egypt

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Ben Weisman

"You can read a million books and articles on sustainable development and related topics in Africa  —  and I have  —  but putting my studies in context has really allowed me to challenge everything I have read and thought I understood."

—Ben Weisman, class of 2011, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs major completing an internship in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Read more.