Students discuss Freeman Grant JanPlans
On Thursday, Feb. 16, students and faculty gathered in the Robins Room of Roberts Hall to hear from six students who were awarded Freeman Grants to pursue internships in East Asia over JanPlan and one student who conducted an independent study.
The East Asian Studies Department presents Freeman Grants to students pursuing internships in East and Southeast Asian countries. The maximum amount awarded in each grant is $4,000, which helps students pay for travel and other expenses.
Ismael Perez ’13 interned with the Little Bird Hotline for Migrant Workers, a non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Beijing, China that helps migrant workers adjust to life in the city.
One way the organization does this is by distributing thousands of “survival guides” for different cities. The handbooks include instructions on everything from what to do at a stoplight to where to go for childcare. Perez said, “Even something as simple as crossing a street can be confusing [for someone working in a new city].”
Perez’s job included translating legal documents and entering data. “[Little Bird] is small in numbers,” he said, “but very, very big in impact.”
Juliette Chan ’14 and Xavier Loving ’14 gave the next presentation. They interned with China Development Brief, am organization that maintains an international NGO directory, in Beijing.
Chan and Loving conducted comparative research on NGOs in China and around the world. Their goal was to develop a report summarizing how different countries regulate the non-profit sector.
According to Chan, one of the most educational parts of the internship was “being able to talk to the people who work there.” Loving said that he “really liked the English exchange.” The students were able to practice Chinese while their coworkers practiced English.
Next on the agenda was Stephanie Ruys de Perez ’14, who interned with Jones Lang LaSalle in Tokyo, Japan. This company works with international developers looking for investors. Ruys de Perez said it is a “commercial real estate service company.”
Ruys de Perez worked in the company’s Corporate Finance Division, where she had the opportunity to attend meetings, edit reports and PowerPoint presentations, and experience the city.
One interesting aspect of Ruys de Perez’s internship was “seeing what it’s actually like to be a foreigner working in Japan.” She added, “I had never really lived in a city before, and there I was living in a city where I was basically illiterate.” One of her favorite parts of her experience was staying in a home with students from around the world.
The next student to present was Arya Moallem ’12, who interned at an engineering design and consulting firm in Shanghai, China, called Baseline Technical Services. Much of the work Moallem did involved green building standards and labeling. She researched the similarities and differences between the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification system and China’s three-star system. Moallem noted that even as China’s economy continues to grow, “there isn’t that much money going into labeling.”
Moallem also commented on the opportunities he had to visit historic places around China and the “phenomenal experience” of Chinese New Year.
Next, Jonathan Su ’15 gave a presentation about his independent study on Taiwan’s recent presidential election. Su focused on the two strongest candidates during his presentation: incumbent Ma Ying-jeou of the Kuomintang Party (KMT) and Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan’s first female presidential candidate of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Su attended multiple political rallies. At one point he was mistaken as a member of the press and was granted special access to photograph the candidates up close. Su also commented on the political climate of the media. According to Su, “Political advertising is literally everywhere [in Taiwan], and you can’t escape it.”
Jeff Carpenter ’12 gave the final presentation of the evening on his internship with AOI Advertising Promotion, Inc. in Japan. AOI produces television commercial,s and Carpenter was involved in various aspects of the production process.
Some of Carpenter’s responsibilities included translating storyboards between English and Japanese and sharing his expertise with Apple’s video editing program Final Cut Pro. According to Carpenter, “It takes about 10 hours of work to get one second of advertising.” Each of the students who presented emphasized what a wonderful experience they had abroad.
For more information on internships abroad or the Freeman Foundation, please contact the Career Center or the East Asian Studies Department.