Students, Businesses, Families Benefit from Global Internship Experience

| August 5, 2012
Webster University - Global Internship Experience

Members of the 2012 cohort with GIE and Webster leaders

In a global economy and competitive job market where employers seek the best of academic and professional experience, internships can be essential. Candidates who participate in the Webster University Global Internship Experience gain a special edge.

They have the unique experience of navigating a cross-cultural office environment, preparing them for the global workforce. The Webster University Global Internship Experience helps students from around the globe  gain valuable personal and professional experiences, preparing them to succeed in a global society. Partner organizations provide meaningful opportunities for students to apply what they have learned in the classroom. In return, students bring unique perspectives and valuable knowledge to companies.

Webster University Global Internship Experience

Members of the GIE Advisory Board — including some past participants

“In a world that is more connected than ever before, Webster University recognizes the importance of students becoming global citizens,” said Julian Schuster, Provost and senior vice president of Webster University, at a recognition ceremony in late July for this year’s participants.

Now in its 32nd year, the program has provided internships in the U.S. and seven international locations for over 1,000 students. In its inaugural year, 1980, the GIE began as an exchange between the U.S. and Germany.

In 1986, the governing board of the Higher Education Center awarded Webster University the administration of the program, and in 1999 the State of Missouri Department of Economic Development awarded a grant to expand the exchange to a wider range of countries.

This year, 15 U.S. students from Webster and Truman State Universities and King’s College are interning in China, Germany, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands and the UK. Another 18 students from Germany, Japan and Mexico are contributing their skills to companies and non-profit organizations across the St. Louis region. And in a newly-created opportunity for international students matriculated at the Webster Groves campus, 5 Webster international students from China, Ecuador, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam are bringing their excellent training in business, computer science, and media communications to a wide range of local companies and non-profit organizations.

Language skills are an important part of intern’s qualifications, and proficiency in Chinese, German, Japanese and Spanish are key criteria for our U.S. students applying to intern abroad. Students also must demonstrate sufficient background in their field of study to warrant a full-time placement relevant to that field.

Global Reach, Local Impact
Webster University Global Internship Experience leaders

Webster President Beth Stroble chats with Center for International Education Director Deborah Pierce and GIE Advisory Board member Renato Cataldo.

“Getting to experience the typical life of a Japanese office worker has really helped me with my perception of Japanese culture,” said Cory Schmidt, GIE intern in Japan. “Cultural differences will always make business dealings a difficult game, but this type of first-hand experience will give you a winning edge.”

Past participants in the program often find a way to stay connected to the Global Internship Experience. Three of the Advisory Board members were student participants in the Germany program during the 1980s.

But it’s not only the participant interns who gain from this program; their host families cherish the experience too.

“During the past 18 years, our family has had the privilege to create connections with a wide range of students, and they have become friends and family for life,” said Rocky and Jane Keel, frequent hosts of GIE interns. “Our daughters have grown up with big brothers and sisters — a wonderful gift exposing them to the variety of life and cultures.”


Category: Featured, Student Affairs and News, Webster News

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  1. Paula Hanssen says:

    Our students in International Languages have often participated in this internship program, and have gone on to work for international companies or civic institutions – it’s a wonderful program that supports our mission.