Campus & Community

Weissman interns learn from experiences abroad

3 min read

They detail immersion in other cultures, and how their lives changed

Kristen Calandrelli ’10, explored her longstanding interest in foreign policy and international relations while working with the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs at the American Embassy in Copenhagen, Denmark. James McFadden ’10, created a body of first-hand primary source accounts of human rights progress and violations as a field communications reporter with EG Justice in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. Katherine Huang ’11 learned about investment research processes and asset management from a global perspective with Bank of Communications Schroders Fund Management in Shanghai, China while Oscar Basantes ’10 evaluated investment portfolios and analyzed financial markets and risk management at the Banco Cofiec in Quito, Ecuador.

 These are just a few of the internships in a variety of fields that 48 Harvard College Weissman interns explored in a variety of fields this summer, supported by the Weissman International Internship Program. Administered by the Office of Career Services, the program was established in 1994 by Paul ’52 and Harriet Weissman to help foster the development of Harvard College students’ understanding of the global community in which they live and work. Since its inception, the Weissman Program has enabled more than 350 students to work in fields ranging from public service to business, from science to arts administration.

In their final reports, the 2009 Weissman interns related the joys and challenges of living and working in another culture, negotiating new environments, working with a supervisor, and using foreign language skills in daily life. 

Aditya Balasubramanian ’12, who analyzed financial statements, drafted funding proposals, and helped redesign a grassroots microcredit institution’s Web site in Resistencia, Argentina, detailed a process of self-discovery and unpredictability that has given him a new approach to life. After spending the summer at a nonprofit educational development agency in Dublin, Katherine Gunn ’11 related a fresh career direction and a sense of personal growth, thanks to the welcoming atmosphere in Ireland.  Eric Dong ’11 expressed a greater interest in macroeconomics and an appreciation for the survival skills he learned in contrasting cities after spending the summer working with UBS-SDIC and Blackrock-Bank of China Funds in Shenzhen and Shanghai, China. Tannis Thorlakson ’11, who worked with Grassroot Soccer in Cape Town, South Africa, planned events that combined youth soccer tournaments or camps with HIV testing, counseling, and education. She is now considering a future in the environment, health, and international development areas.

The Weissman Program was designed for returning undergraduates to ensure that students enrich the Harvard community and, in turn, have their remaining undergraduate time enhanced by their global experiences. Each fall, the recent Weissman interns are welcomed back at an annual luncheon held at the Harvard Faculty Club. On Oct. 22, interns spoke with Paul and Harriet Weissman, Associate Dean Jay Ellison, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Bill Fitzsimmons, and others of insights gained, perspectives shifted, and worldviews broadened.

For more information about the Weissman International Internship Program, please visit the Office of Career Services Web site.