Twenty-seven West Virginia University students arrivedin London this week to intern at some of the most prestigious establishments in the United Kingdomthanks to the new London Summer Internship Program.
The program, coordinated by the WVU Office of International Programs and Student Affairs, matches students with international, professional experiences associated with their majors.
Some of the internships provided include the Houses of Parliament, London Zoo, The London Magazine, English National Opera and St. Marys Hospital, to name a few.
David Stewart, WVU s associate vice president of student affairs and dean of students, and Dan Weiner, director of the Office of International Programs, are credited with initiating the London program.
The two began working with Anglo American Educational Services of London in September 2006 to set up the program.
This is a unique study abroad program,Stewart said.The students are not just going to London to study; they will actually be working. Its geared more toward them developing life skills, experiencing life in London and working day-to-day in a job.
I hope they gain two things out of the program. First is the on-the-job experience that the internship can provide, and the other is the experience of studying abroad, getting to know another culture and gaining global awareness.
The faculty-led student group left Morgantown Friday (June 29) and arrived in London on Saturday (June 30). The internship lasts four weeks with students leaving England July 29 arriving back in Morgantown on July 30.
Students are staying in apartments in Chelsea by the River Thames. The cost of the trip is about $4,000, which covers transportation, internship placement and supervision, an orientation program (welcome meal, British Museum tour, theater ticket and orientation session with Anglo American Educational Services) and health insurance.
The only expenses not included are meals and the $50 per credit hour study abroad fee.
Although the internships are not paid, studentsare receiving four internship credits, one credit in British history and culture and one credit in wellness and study abroad.
The program is open to students of any major. Some of the majors of the first group of students include journalism, social work, animal and veterinary science, political science, business and psychology.
Stewart said the students will work Monday through Thursday, leaving plenty of time for sightseeing. Organized trips are planned to the British Museum, Oxford, Shakespeares birth place in Stratford, Stonehenge and Bath.
In addition, students will go on a Saturday excursion to Paris through the English Channel Tunnel.
Britt Klandorf and her husband, Hillar, are chaperones for the program. The two are resident faculty leaders (RFLs) at Lyon Hall.
Part of my bachelors degree required a year abroad in France and Sweden,Britt Klandorf said.Whilst this program at WVU is for a months internship in London, other opportunities exist through the office of International Programs for varied durations of study in many different countries. It is a truly amazing work experience that is relevant.
She added,I think nowadays when people are looking at resumes, they expect more. The bar is raised higher every year for kids. This is quite a feather in their caps.
Klandorf, an England native, said she and her husband met at the University of Hull in northern England. They are looking forward to seeing London again through the studentseyes.
Unique opportunity for students
Student interns are excited to be a part of this unique program. Jason Butts, a public relations student from Martinsburg, is interning at Peace One Day, a nonprofit organization that encourages an annual international day of nonviolence on Sept. 21.
Ive always wanted to go to London,said Butts, adding that he heard about the program from Stewart.
Stewart and his wife, Shawna, are RFLs at Boreman Hall where he lived his first year at WVU .
As a student in WVU s Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism, he hopes to gain experience in public relations and in life, in general, from the trip.
Traveling abroad gives you so much experience you wouldnt get doing the same things in the states,Butts said.And, of course, I want to do all the touristy things, like ride the London Eye and see Parliament up close and personal.
This is the sophomores first trip abroad, but he hopes it wont be his last.
I always knew I wanted to intern once I got to college,he said.I wanted to build skills and intern in something that would help my career after college.
Butts would like to do another study abroad program during the spring semester of his junior year possibly in Northern Ireland or Brazil. Upon graduation, he hopes to attend law school.
He said the Peace One Day internship will give him experience in both public relations and legal issues.
It seems like if youre dealing with countries and trying to establish peace through ceasefires, it will take both sets of skills,he said.
Christina Friend, a recent public relations graduate from Falls Church, Va.,is interning at Bell Pottinger Group, the United Kingdoms largest public relations and communications agency.
The firm is advising Iraqs interim leadership on promoting the countrys transformation to a democracy. Friend is working in the brand marketing section.
Besides being a valuable learning experience, she said it will be a great thing to have on her resume when she begins job hunting.
I thought studying abroad would be a new and different experience and a fun way to end my college career,she said.
They are the British equivalent to Ketchum here,added Friend, referring to Bell Pottinger.In addition to the internship experience, I hope to get a great appreciation for life in Great Britain versus life here, and I hope to gain a better understanding too.
Like Butts, Friend said the main thing she wants to do is to ride the London Eye.
I cant wait to see the awesome views of the city. It will be spectacular,she said.
She also hopes to see the queens guard at Buckingham Palace.
I want to take a picture with them and be crazy,Friend said, joking.