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SIBC offers global experience

Lauren Knauf | Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Student International Business Council (SIBC) will sponsor internships for up to 20 students this summer, allowing them to participate in humanitarian and business projects in locations around the globe, vice president and senior Maria Bufalino said.

“Students looking to broaden their international experience as well as their basic business knowledge should apply to our internships,” Bufalino said of the programs, which send students to work in locations like Belize, Thailand, Germany, Italy and Washington, D.C.

The internships range from teaching and working with students to more general business projects in firms overseas.

Although the internships are generally unpaid, SIBC covers the costs of travel, documentation and vaccinations.

“In some instances, the employer will provide a stipend or some form of payment as well as housing to the student,” Bufalino said.

Summer internships are often fiercely competitive, and sophomore John Goedert, vice president of internships for SIBC, said the 2010 programs will be no different.

“This summer will probably be above the norm in terms of competitiveness because of the positions we’re offering and the state of the economy,” Goedert said.

He predicted SIBC’s new opportunities, including a sports marketing position in Germany and non-profit management in Washington D.C, will garner much attention this year.

“These are experiences that are difficult to find elsewhere,” Goedert said. “What the intern gets out of a position depends completely on where they are.”

Matthew Brownschidle, a senior finance major, has participated in SIBC programs in Thailand and Belize. He said the internships are “great opportunities to get your feet off the ground and develop the most basic business skills, which involve interacting with other people.”

Brownschidle worked for a printing company in Belize in the summer of 2008. He said his experience demonstrated how the SIBC’s internships use business and commerce to promote peace and prosperity.

“The books were sold at extremely low prices in the hopes of advancing children’s literacy in Central America,” he said.

James Pappas, a junior finance major, also participated in an internship through SIBC.

Pappas helped Notre Dame alumni in Ghana with efforts to start a dried fruit business.

“There are so many challenging dimensions of international business, like dealing with cultural differences, that an international internship allows students to understand and master,” he said.

Pappas, like Brownschidle, encountered a humanitarian element in his work abroad. The company that he helped launch will be an important source of jobs in an impoverished country, he said.

“Everyone that I talked to in Ghana was very excited about the prospect of our company coming in and bringing jobs,” Pappas said.

For its internships, SIBC seeks students of all areas of study who have an interest in international business. Goedert said the ideal interns are students “who will be passionate about what they will be doing.”

Applicant reviewers particularly favor those who have shown their dedication through participation in previous projects in SIBC, he said.

SIBC also offers a variety of projects that involve collaboration with major corporations. They enable students to think practically, beyond what is simply taught in the classroom, Bufalino said.

Bufalino and Goedert emphasized the importance of the organization’s mission statement, “Peace Through Commerce,” in its activities, especially the internships.

“Our interns come back with a better grasp of what international commerce is and how important it can be to our mission of peace,” Goedert said.