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Since the summer of 2013, Robert P. Stiller School of Business students have traveled to Shanghai to gain global and professional work experience, as well as valuable language skills. In 2013, 10 students participated in international internships at the Shanghai University of International Business and Economics, courtesy of a prestigious $100,000 grant from the Freeman Foundation. Some of the students' internships evolved into full-time jobs post-graduation.
"As a result of my internship I've been asked to come back after I graduate and work in Shanghai for the same company," said senior international business major Patrick Dodge, who interned at Iconx skate shop and Wild Rampage. Dodge conducted further research for the company during his senior international business capstone is contemplating taking the offer to return working full-time.
The Freeman Foundation made this opportunity available once again to Champlain's Stiller School of Business for 10 students to intern in Shanghai in the summer of 2014. In the summer of 2015, the Freeman Foundation increased the grant to the Stiller School of Business to $200,000, allowing 25 students to participate in a cultural immersion course at Fudan University and internships throughout Shanghai. In its fourth year, the program provided the same opportunities to an additional 25 students in summer 2016, including a weeklong excursion to Xi'an with dozens of undergraduate Chinese students.
This opportunity provided Champlain students a chance to gain international and professional experience. "Being accepted into this program was a major achievement," said senior international business major Alaina Cellini, who interned at Shanghai Hippo Animation Company for 10 weeks in the summer of 2013. Cellini utilized her interests in supply chain sustainability, marketing and consulting in the internship at China's leading animation company. "My three months in China were some of the most life changing ones thus far," she continued.
The grant provides a stipend towards normal expenses associated with a semester or summer internship in China. The grant also covers room and board through The Education Abroad Network (TEAN); an internship placement fee; airfare to China; and students may budget for regional travel, food and other goods. Other expenses are out of pocket for students.
"We believe that we've built a successful internship model in China with the Freeman Foundation's generous grant and we're confident the program will continue to provide incredibly successful and rewarding professional and personal experiences for the students," said Associate Dean to the Stiller School of Business, Dr. Scott Baker. Baker believes the Freeman Grant has been renewed "due to the incredible success of these programs, which were implemented through extensive collaboration between the Stiller School, the Office of International Education, the Registrar's Office, and the Office of Advancement."
Students in the 2015 cohort also participated in a two-week intensive language and cultural immersion program in Shanghai, aimed to enhance cultural competence prior to starting their internships. Their eight-week internships started following the immersion program. The 2015 internships were initiated with proven partners from the previous year's program and who all expressed interest in hosting more Stiller School of Business students.
TEAN and Champlain College match students to internships based on SSB Associate Professor Tom Myers' experience and relationships with the companies built during his visit to Shanghai in July 2013, and their majors and areas of interest. TEAN also provides in-country support to students and program administrators from the time students arrive in Shanghai. Champlain faculty and staff travel to Shanghai to check in on the students, connect with internship supervisors and officials, and to help students upon their arrival and departure.