The CSI Center for International Service’s Summer Professional Internship has recently given six students from the City University of Hong Kong the opportunity to intern for approximately six weeks in a local businesses or not-for-profit organizations.

Yi Ming Lam, a Junior studying Communications who interned at the Staten Island Museum, said, “This experience is beyond my imagination…I never thought that I’d get [an internship] as good as this one. The [museum] was fabulous. They were willing to teach and guide me…This experience helps me to develop my future career in my field of study, communications, and I think it’s important to me to know what’s going on on the other side of the world.”

Hoi Ling Lee, a senior majoring in English for Professional Communications who interned at Staten Island Community Television, enjoyed learning something new. “I knew nothing about [television] before starting my internship, so whatever I do at the TV station is something new to me. I learned a lot of things about TV production. This is a new field for me, a new industry that I’ve never gained any exposure to. Now I’m thinking maybe I can enter this industry later on.”

Junman Huang, a senior Political Science major who interned at Mary’s Pence, a Catholic organization that works toward enpowering women through economic independence, added “I learned a lot of things in New York like the culture and the working attitude that the people here have.”

Other participants in the program were Man Lai Lam, a sophomore Communications major who interned at CSI’s Staten Island Small Business Association; Qing Shi, a senior Media and Communications major who interned at DesignAmerica; and Po Kwan Ho, a sophomore in Policy Studies and Administration who interned at College Bound.

The goal of this pilot program is to enhance the students’ English language skills, while giving them the chance to experience what it is like to work in the U.S. The students, who arrived last June, received two days of training regarding working in the U.S. Most of them worked an almost full-time schedule and stayed in private homes.

The Center’s Victoria Cox, who spent a lot of time with the students, commented, “My experience with these six tremendously gifted City University of Hong Kong students has been wonderfully enriching for me personally, from my perspective as their educator in the EPP [English Proficiency Program] class and later serving as their internship business mentor. It has been a joy for me to watch these students successfully navigate the somewhat tricky terrain of the world of work, and cheer them on through victories and occasional setbacks. Transitioning from student to professional can be difficult for any university student, but to overcome the added complexity of working in a foreign American land with different customs, mores, and language, not to mention working through the difficulties with the MTA/Staten Island public transportation system, is a tremendous achievement for all six of them.”

Summing up the program, Barbara Clark, Assistant Director of the Center for International Service, noted, “We have been very pleased with the 2010 Professional Internship program for The City University of Hong Kong students. Not only has the experience strengthened the interns’ understanding of the world of work here in the United States, but it also has helped us build new relationships with the Staten Island community, as well as strengthened our ties with the City University of Hong Kong. Judging from the final presentations given by the interns, their experiences here in Staten Island and at CSI have been life-changing. We certainly hope to continue the program next year.”