Section: News

College reinstates internship training class for international students

College reinstates internship training class for international students

Lisa Swaim, the assistant director of the Center for Global Engagement, emailed Kenyon’s international student dislist on Feb. 26. The message announced that an internship course for international students would be offered this semester. The message went out one day after the Collegian reported the College had eliminated a similar internship course called EXPL 205.

At the beginning of the semester, the provost’s office eliminated a course titled “Connecting Academic and Intern Experiences,” also known as EXPL 205. The class, taught by Scott Layson, director of the Career Development Office,  allowed international students to get Kenyon credit for internships in the U.S.

The course was a resource for international students here on a student visa. According to visa laws, students who wish to get paid internships must go through one of two processes: Optical Practical Training (OPT), which people usually reserve for job-searching after graduation and which involves a $380 fee, or Curricular Practical Training (CPT), which can be completed through one’s college. The EXPL course offered students the opportunity to receive CPT.

“Losing the course initially essentially made it impossible to really look for an internship in America,” Sam Clougher ’17, from Dublin, said. “Without the course, I didn’t want to commit time for applications I wouldn’t be eligible for or would have to pay to get.”

The new course, also called EXPL 205, will fulfill the same role as its predeccesor. Associate Provost Ivonne García will teach the course this semester. At print time, the course organizers had yet to decide its start or end dates.  As of print 20 students have enrolled in the course, García said.

“I’m working with the CGE and CDO to offer a new version of EXPL 205 limited to students with an F-1 [student] visa status,” García said. “Since I serve on the Curricular Policy Committee, work collaboratively with the CDO and CGE, and since I am committed to the College’s mission to expand opportunities for experiential learning within the curriculum, I decided to teach EXPL 205 given that I believe this will help us continue to define the ways in which the course can evolve.”

The course will be modeled after the original EXPL 205. It will include required readings, meetings at the CDO and a reflection paper or presentation after students have completed their internships.

Before Swaim’s announcement, it was unclear if there would be a replacement internship course. Natasha Siyumbwa ’17, who is from Zambia, had given up hope there would be an opportunity to get CPT this year.

“[International students] talked to staff at the CGE, President Decatur, and we even discussed it in International Students at Kenyon meetings but it seemed like it was a done deal,” Siyumbwa, a political science major, said. “However, after many discussions and activism, the new class was introduced and now I can apply for paid internships within my major.”

Sewar Quran ’17, who is from Jordan, secured a summer internship with Pfizer, a U.S.-based pharmaceutical company.

“Having the CPT class reinstituted means that I can now accept the job offer without using my OPT, which is a huge relief,” Quran said.

Clougher is grateful for the opportunities the new course offers.

“Having the class gives me freedom to at least look for internships,” Clougher said. “Even if I am unsuccessful, I know it will be off merit and not because the class was canceled.”

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