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 East Asian country during summer 2024. Grantees will receive up to $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 2024 and fall 2024.
  • Applicants cannot be in their last year of school. You must be returning for at least a semester after using the grant.
  • 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:

Mr. Chase Young
Students are strongly encouraged to contact Mr. Chase Young to express their desire to apply and discuss the process.
Information Sessions                                                    
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. Two weeks can be used for quarantine if necessary. 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 scholarship value 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 Mr. Chase Young (freemangrant@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 2024:
Application Opens December 1, 2023
Priority Application Deadline February 1, 2024
Final Application Deadline March 1, 2024

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.

*First time applicants are given preference over returning recipients who have been awarded the grant previously.

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 2024, 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?

No! UM Experiential learning in Eastern Asia does not fund study abroad programs, and you may not use a grant to pay for academic programs.

>>Where does the money come from?

The grants are primarily funded by the Freeman Foundation of Honolulu, HI. The grants are also funded by the Office of Global Engagement and the respective schools of the grantees.

>>Why Eastern Asia?

The founder of the Freeman Foundation, Mansfield Freeman, was a professor of Chinese philosophy and resided in China for portions of his life. The company that was the precursor to AIG was cofounded by him in Shanghai. The mission statement of the Freeman Foundation is "to strengthen the bonds of friendship between this country and those of the Far East".

>>How long must I intern?

The internship must last a minimum of eight weeks for at least twenty hours per week. Internships of a longer duration are encouraged. Students may not intern for longer hours over a shorter period of weeks (for example, four weeks at forty hours per week).

>>Which students are eligible?

Freeman grantees must be full-time, degree-seeking undergraduate students at the University of Mississippi in good academic standing in fall 2023, spring 2024, and fall 2024. This means that students who will graduate in spring 2022 are not eligible to receive grants, nor are students who will be enrolled at the University as graduate students.

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

Yes. International students may receive a grant, so long as they do not use it to intern in their country of origin.

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

There are no language requirements to receive a grant. There are various ways students who only speak English can be successful interns in Eastern Asia. Some countries have significant English speaking populations, and some organizations seek fluent English speakers. Research your options. You should consider how comfortable you are living in a foreign country and not speaking the dominant language before applying for a grant.

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

Yes! We are deliberately seeking students from a diversity of fields of study to award grants. The key is to make a strong case for why you should intern in Eastern Asia.


Summer 2019 Recipients