The IFSI program accommodates students from a wide variety of disciplines and tailors the individual internship or research program according the student's academic needs. The office works with both individuals and academic departments to create the programs, while offering academic scholarships to lighten student costs.
David A. Shuler, IFSI program director, says the academic level of the cross-cultural experience is far more advanced than the classroom because of the student's personal experiences. "In today's 'global village,' a student with this kind of experience will be at the front of the queue for employment and graduate schools," he says.
IFSI's programs aspire to a philosophy of independent thinking, application of knowledge, self-imposed goals, and responsibility, Shuler says. "The program offers a variety of benefits, including the student's preparation and in-depth, hands-on experience in his or her discipline; foreign language improvement; opportunity for service; enhancement of the student's character and spirituality; and enhancement of the prestige of the university."
Following is a brief description of each of IFSI's larger programs. In addition to these, the office administers many programs on a one-time basis for individual students.
-- Karen Snow
Japan--Technical, Engineering, Computer (Sciences)
During the spring and summer terms, students live and work in Japan. They are technical or business interns in major Japanese corporations and companies.
During spring or summer terms, students work in Korean businesses, gaining language skill and experience in the Asian market.
Students in the elementary education program may do their student teaching hours in an international school in Shunde, Guangdong, where English is the language of instruction.
India--Field Studies (Multiple Disciplines)
During fall or winter semesters, students live in a southern India village and do research in their area of academic study, such as ethnography, social work, Ayruveda (traditional medicine), western health care, education, and local government. They then travel through India studying world religions.
Students complete their student teaching requirement in Mexican towns while living with local families. They instruct the children in Spanish.
During the fall and winter semesters, students teach basic reading, writing, and arithmetic in several small villages near Guanajuato, Mexico. They live with local families during their stay.
Guatemala--Field Studies (Multiple Disciplines)
While living with local Indian and Mestizo families, students study the Guatemalan culture and conduct field research. They also volunteer in organizations specific to their academic interest, such as government, health care, agriculture, education, and humanitarian work (development). This program runs spring and summer.
In the spring and summer terms, students live in Kaokoland, a remote corner of Namibia's bush. There they conduct research among the Ovahimba (an indigenous tribe), and end their experience traveling through Namibia studying the impact of European colonization.
South Africa--Humanitarian/Development (Multiple Disciplines)
With the Cape Town University's development organization, SHAWCO, students work in black and colored townships, volunteering in health, business, youth, gardening, and other community services. They live with South African families.
French and German Language Internships
The focus of the European internships are to increase students' language abilities. They are placed in jobs for the spring and summer terms in France, Germany, or Belgium. Jobs vary from store clerks to more specialized and technical work.
Jordan (Multiple Disciplines)
Students with Arabic language skills work in Jordan in the area of their academic study. PaciFic Islands Tonga--Elementary Education Elementary Education majors can choose to do their student teaching in Tonga. They teach children in a Church Educational System school and do in-service training for the local teachers.
Students work with the Center of Humanitarian Outreach and Inter-Cultural Exchange (CHOICE) in a number of lesser-developed countries for a period of six months to a year.