For Paul Weissman ’52 and his wife, Harriet, the Weissman International Internship Program has been an incredibly rewarding experience, one that connects them with new students every year.
“We decided to make it a work experience for the summer, because we felt strongly that people should interact with people in other cultures,” Paul Weissman said. “We wanted them to live and work with people abroad. In many cases, the recipients feel that it is a life-changing experience.”
The Weissmans’ two sons and daughter spent time living in Paraguay, Wales, and Italy, and, “We saw from our children’s experience what a worthwhile endeavor it was,” Harriet Weissman said. “We could see the value of such an experience as a true education of the world. It’s a win-win situation: The students go abroad and have these amazing experiences, and they, in turn, act as the best possible ambassadors abroad.”
The Weissmans make sure to meet the interns twice: before they leave, and after they return. They keep albums filled with pictures of the cohorts of interns who have traveled abroad through the program over the past 20 years.
One requirement of the internship is that each recipient communicate about his or her experience, completing a report on what they’ve learned. Having just reread last year’s reports, Harriet Weissman considered them “mind-bogglingly inspirational.”
“It’s wonderful to know that we’ve helped to have such an impact in so many young people’s lives, and for them to see that other cultures are not so very different from ours,” Paul Weissman said. “It’s been very gratifying to know that we have affected their lives so dramatically.”