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December 9, 2009

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Home » Metro » Education

Internships beckon, but costs make some wary

IT sounds like a great opportunity for a college student: Spend the summer as an intern at Yellowstone National Park in the United States.

But there's a downside. Students can be working at a low-level job such as waiter or waitress. And because students pay for airfare and other expenses, the whole experience might cost them money.

For reasons like those, some students are looking skeptically at the summer-vocation program of the Council on International Educational Exchange, a non-government organization that put its footprint in China this year.

"Most of my classmates and I will not participate in such programs," said Taylor Xu, a student at Shanghai International Studies University.

"The program is too expensive and the work is too low-level."

But some students who have taken part in CIEE's program are enthusiastic.

"My communication skills, independent spirits and friend circle have been improved a lot," said Guo Tang, a student at East China Normal University who went abroad last summer.

He earned about US$4,000 from his 10-week internship as a game operator in Morey's Piers, an amusement center in New Jersey.

But he spent 100,000 yuan (US$14,640) during his stay.

Generally, a participant can earn US$3,000 to US$5,000 in the internship, which lasts 8 to 10 weeks.

But each student has to pay an application fee of US$2,500 and pay for visas, airline tickets, lodging and accommodations. Many also use the opportunity to travel a lot in the US, driving their costs still higher.

Moreover, the internship opportunities offered in the program are all entry-level positions, such as front-desk jobs in national parks, souvenir-sales workers in theme parks and attendants in hotel and restaurants.


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