COVID-19 Updates

Due to the COVID-19 situation, the UM Experiential Learning in Eastern Asia (Freeman Internship program) was canceled for summer 2020 and we hope to run again 2020-21 for the summer 2021. It is undetermined at this time when the application process will open for summer 2021 internships. Please direct all questions and emails to Bree Starnes (bstarnes@olemiss.edu).


UM Experiential Learning in Eastern Asia

Eastern Asia Summer Internship Program

UM Experiential Learning in Eastern Asia is supported by a grant from the Freeman Foundation, of Honolulu, Hawaii, by the University of Mississippi Office of Global Engagement, and by the applicants’ respective schools to intern in an Eastern Asian country during summer 2020. Grantees will receive $7,500 to advance their career goals and gain professional experience by interning full-time for at least eight weeks.

The Mission of the Freeman Foundation and the Purpose of the Grants

Established in 1994 by the estate of AIG cofounder Mansfield Freeman, the mission of the Freeman Foundation is "to strengthen the bonds of friendship between this country and those of the Far East; to develop a greater appreciation of [East Asian] cultures in this country and a better understanding of American institutions in and purposes on the part of the peoples of East Asia, and to stimulate an exchange of ideas in economic and cultural fields which will help create mutual understanding” between the United States and Eastern Asia. Freeman grantees will advance this mission by gaining real-world work experience in the Eastern Asian country of their choice. In this way, applicants will bring Mississippi and the United States to their host countries and bring their host countries back to Mississippi and the United States upon their return.

Recipient Qualifications
  • Freeman grantees must be full-time, degree-seeking undergraduate students at the University of Mississippi in good academic standing in spring 2020 and fall 2020.
  • Applicants cannot be in their last year of school.
  • Students need not be citizens of the United States, but they may not use the grant to intern in their home country. 
  • International applicants should have first enrolled at UM as a freshman and be degree-seeking at UM.
  • There are no foreign language proficiency requirements to receive a grant, but proficiency in a relevant foreign language may strengthen an application.
Point of Contact

Interested students may direct questions to:

Ms. Bree Starnes
bstarnes@olemiss.edu; Croft 318; (662) 915-2990
Students are strongly encouraged to contact Ms. Bree Starnes to express their desire to apply and discuss the process.
Information Sessions

International Education Week:                           Thursday, Nov. 14 at 12:00 pm-1:00 pm
UM Experiential Learning                                                     Union 321
  in East Asia Panel                                                   

Eligible Countries

The program focuses on sending students to countries that are at the heart of the University of Mississippi's and the Croft Institute's long-standing engagement with Eastern Asia: China, Japan, and South Korea

Internships in other parts of Eastern Asia can also be supported, and students are encouraged to explore all possibilities within the broader region.

The Internships

UM Experiential Learning in Eastern Asia funds internships, not study abroad programs. Grantees must intern full-time, at least 20 hours per week, for a minimum of eight weeks. Grantees are not permitted to take classes during the workday, such as language or cultural immersion classes, although they may take classes in their free time. The internship must provide a meaningful work experience and should contribute to the professional and personal growth of the intern. Ideally, that means that a significant portion of the internship will be devoted to a long-term project over the eight weeks.

The internships may be paid or unpaid—Grantees will receive the full $7,500 amount regardless. Grantees may secure their internship by tapping the Ole Miss alumni base and their personal networks, or may elect to use an internship provider.

Organizations UM Students Have Interned with in Eastern Asia
Global Youth ConnectNonprofit Children and Youth
International Fund for China's Environment Nonprofit Environment
Shanghai World ExpoInternational Trade and Development
Enovate ChinaManagement Consulting
Millennium Challenge CorporationInternational Trade and Development
Mars CompanyFood Production
FedEx CorporationPackage/Freight Delivery
ABBElectrical/Electronic Manufacturing
Kantar Media CICMarket Research
PwC USAccounting
AptarGroup, Inc.Packaging and Containers
Sifang Art MuseumNonprofit Art
LabbrandConsulting Firm
Internship Search Engines:
focuses on nonprofit and community-building work. Lists programs as well as individual internship and volunteer opportunities. Search by location.
Singapore Economic Development Board 
shows internships and a list of organizations.
Singapore American Chamber of Commerce 
shows internships and a list of organizations.
finds individual internships and job listings. Search by location.
Intern Abroad
displays a variety of internship programs. Search by country or internship discipline.
Institute of International Education
is an independent nonprofit that manages more than 250 programs.
Transitions Abroad 
finds internships and volunteer opportunities. Also has useful articles on international internships.
Internship Providers:

Asia Internship Program
Award-winning internship program across Asia and Asia region that provides intern placement to over 8 East Asian regions

programs available for all of Asia, most popular provider in China
World Endeavors
provides intern locations all over the world, and host family accommodations
Absolute Internship
offers a variety of internships, from fashion to legal

Application Process
Required Materials

The application for UM Experiential Learning in Eastern Asia consists of the following components:

  1. Application essays
    Address the following four questions, each in a separate paragraph.
    • What is the internship you have secured or are working to secure? Discuss: daily obligations, details on the employer, and projects you will accomplish.
    • How does this internship relate to your field of study and professional aspirations?
    • How will you interact with the culture of the country and region?
    • Is there anything else that makes you an ideal candidate for the Freeman Grant or that you would like to share with the application committee?
  2. Documentation of internship—use the certification form (download to the right) OR document your progress in securing an internship. For example, a contract, preliminary agreement, email correspondence, etc.
  3. Professional or academic recommendation—use the recommendation form (download to the right).
  4. Budget
  5. One-page resume
  6. Unofficial university transcript

Applications will not be assessed until all components are submitted. Incomplete or late applications will not be reviewed.

Assessment Criteria

Applications will be judged based on:

  • Strength of essay and recommendation.
  • Relevance of proposed internship to field of study and career plans
  • Academic record
  • Demonstrated interest in Eastern Asia

Each grantee will be awarded up to $7,500. The application committee will accept applications that exceed the $7,500 grant limit, and grant recipients will be responsible for the additional cost. The application committee will not assess financial need. Proposals with budgets below or above $7,500 are not more or less likely to succeed, so long as they are well-researched and feasible.

Application Submission Directions

Students are strongly encouraged to contact Ms. Bree Starnes (bstarnes@olemiss.edu) to express their desire to apply and discuss the process.

Submit all completed materials  via email to bstarnes@olemiss.edu. You may submit the items as they are ready.

Please name the documents according to the following format:

  • FreemanApplicationFirstNameLastName

  • FreemanCertificationFirstNameLastName

  • FreemanRecommendationFirstNameLastName

  • FreemanBudgetFirstNameLastName

  • FreemanResumeFirstNameLastName

  • FreemanTranscriptFirstNameLastName

Timeline for Summer 2020

The application committee wants to reward students who take the initiative to secure an internship provider early on. Grants will be awarded on a rolling basis.

Applications open and being accepted!

*First time applicants are given preference over returning recipients.

Intern Responsibilities
During the Internship: Share your experiences #UMabroadwithFreeman 

Applicants are encouraged to use the #umabroadwithfreeman on all social media platforms and share your photos through tagging the UMFreemangrant.

These photos will be used to advertise for the UM Freeman Grant as well as posted on the Croft Institute for International's platforms.

If you do not want your photos shared, please let Bree Starnes know before going abroad. 

Sarah Berry at Shanghai First People's Hospital

Sarah Berry at Shanghai First People's Hospital #umabroadwithfreeman

Sarah Liese & Jasmine Nguyen in Japan

After the Internship

Applicants must agree to give back to the University during the semester after their return.

In fall 2020, each Freeman grantee will be required to submit a two-page reflection that details their professional and personal growth while interning abroad. Grantees must also submit photos and complete a survey about their experience. Grantees will be required to attend an information session about the University of Mississippi Eastern Asian Internship Program in which they speak about their experience and answer questions. Finally, grantees will be expected to write a thank-you letter to the Freeman Foundation.

Student Internship Experiences
Stephanie Penn, 2019 Freeman Recipient

Stephanie Penn.jpg

"My time as a financial analyst intern at Bitkub in Bangkok, Thailand was an amazing learning experience and a huge step out of my comfort zone. Being a finance and technology enthusiast, my goal was to acquire work experience at a company that is pushing past the traditional bounds of the financial system in a way that makes a difference. Bitkub is a digital asset and cryptocurrency exchange platform aiming to bridge the gap between blockchain and cryptocurrency services to “non-tech users”. Bitkub.com is revolutionizing the financial way of life for individuals by providing feasible and convenient financial services.

My experience in South East Asia was nothing less than 24/7 excitement. From the food to the amazing culture and friendliness, Asia captured my heart in the 3 short months that I lived there. In my spare time I was able to explore the city and surrounding countries from the inside and out; visiting temples, floating markets, experiencing Michelin Star street food, and interacting with locals. Thank you, thank you, thank you to the Freeman Foundation and Ole Miss for allowing me the opportunity to grow professionally and individually."

Stewart Eaton, 2018 Freeman Grantee

"I was accepted as a chemical engineering intern with a company by the name of EnerGaia. EnerGaia is a biotech startup that focuses on producing a special type of algae, spirulina, as a sustainable food source.  Spirulina is a blue-green algae, also known as a cyanobacteria, that only naturally grows in a couple of places on Earth due to it requiring water with a very high alkalinity around a pH of 10 along with very high temperatures and large exposure to sunlight. Being one of the oldest single cellular bacteria on the planet, spirulina is hailed as a miracle food for many reasons.

I had no idea what to expect upon arrival, but thankfully my boss walked me around the facility and explained what happens in each stage of the process. After discussing the basics, my boss mentioned some of the problems they were encountering and was eager to hear my perspective for potential solutions. I was really surprised at the level they took me in and respected my opinions from the start. My first week of work consisted of me learning the ropes of the business by collecting samples from each of the systems of bioreactors and running lab tests to measure things like the optical density, salinity, nutrient levels, and degree of contamination.

Overall I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity. Interning in Asia has been one of the best experiences of my life and I will certainly return one day.  I deeply value all of the friendships and memories I made along the journey. I also learned a great deal about Asian culture, food, business, and algae production of course.  Going out of your comfort zone and integrating yourself into a completely unfamiliar environment really helps open your mind to some of the many things are possible in life."

Frequently Asked Questions

>>Is this a study abroad program?

>>Where does the money come from?

>>Why Eastern Asia?

>>How long must I intern?

>>Which students are eligible?

>>I’m not a citizen of the United States. Am I eligible for a grant?

>>What if I don’t speak an Asian language?

>>My major is not related to Asia. May I still receive a grant?

>>Must I go to China, Japan, or South Korea?

Summer 2019 Recipients