May 10, 2016
BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— More than two dozen Illinois Wesleyan University students will intern in Asia starting in June, thanks to a $400,000 grant from the Freeman Foundation.
The Freeman Foundation grant covers airfare, housing, a living allowance, and all internship placement and visa costs for the students. With offices in New York and Honolulu, the Freeman Foundation works to strengthen the bonds of friendship between the United States and countries of east Asia. The $400,000 grant, payable over two years, is the second internship grant received from the Freeman Foundation.
"The successful completion of the Asia internship program last year was key to obtaining the renewal funding from the Freeman Foundation. More IWU students will be exposed to Asian culture and will have the experience of working and interacting with Asians in a real work setting,” said Professor of Sociology Teddy Amoloza, who has served as director of the program from its inception. She has worked closely with Hart Career Center staff and the International Office, and with Asian Studies and International Studies faculty to implement the program.
The first group of IWU Freeman Asia interns traveled to the region in 2015 as a result of a $100,000 grant from the Freeman Foundation. Several of the students who applied for the opportunity in 2016 said they were heavily influenced by the “fantastic experiences” of last year’s cohort.
One of this year’s students is student athlete Eric Rydell ’17. He said his track and field teammate Ariella Tavor ’16 interned last year at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Los Baños, Philippines. “She said the whole experience – from the travel to the culture and the people – was great, so she kind of pushed me to apply,” said Rydell. He will intern at Human Nature, a top Filipino brand of natural and organic cosmetics and personal products. Human Nature is a new internship site in this year’s IWU program.
Rydell said he considered the IWU Freeman Asia program a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel outside of the United States and work for a summer with almost no cost to me and to represent Illinois Wesleyan in a very different way.”
He said his experience at Human Nature will focus on social enterprise development. “I’m excited to understand how people work and to compare differences in the workplace to those here in the U.S.,” said Rydell.
This year’s Freeman Foundation grant has allowed Illinois Wesleyan to expand the number of students in the program and also provide additional internship sites. New placements this year and the students interning at those sites are:
Internship sites continuing from last year and this year’s students include: