By Adeney Zo, UCLA Luskin Student Writer
Seven students from all three departments at UCLA Luskin are going abroad this summer to do internships through the Global Public Affairs Initiative’s International Practice Pathway program.
The IPP program is an integral part of the Global Public Affairs initiative and offers the unique opportunity for Luskin students to intern abroad as a part of their coursework. Through IPP, Luskin students can study international affairs and apply their studies firsthand in under-served communities around the world. Before going overseas, students attend lectures in cross-disciplinary studies such as urban planning, social welfare, public policy, economics, administration, public health and environmental sciences in order to prepare for a future in global careers. After a year-long preparation period, students then apply for summer internships through well-established international organizations in order to conduct research and fieldwork abroad.
“We wanted to give a structured program to students who want to be exposed to the career side of international work,” says Stephen Commins, Urban Planning professor and co-founder of the IPP program. “It’s important for students to have career talk and not discuss academic subjects only, and this program exposes students to what career paths are available for international work.”
From the start of the program in 2011, IPP has expanded greatly and will be sending seven students abroad to various parts of the world this year. “Our two main goals for IPP are to keep growing the summer fellowship program and provide more structured career counseling for students,” says Commins.
Public Policy student Jonathan Slakey is currently preparing to go abroad with IPP next year. “I knew I wanted to travel to India and help in development work, specifically with the human rights NGO, the Association of Relief Volunteers (ARV),” says Slakey. The ARV serves impoverished communities in Andhra Pradesh, India, and Slakey will be traveling to their headquarters to help the NGO with expansion and publicizing in order to receive necessary funding.
“There are so many excellent development programs in the world that lack coverage in developed countries, which are major potential sources of funding for charitable organizations,” explains Slakey.
Though IPP does not have a set of required courses, only lectures, students apply the skills and knowledge they have gained in their degree coursework to their work abroad. One of Slakey’s courses on Education Policy, taught by Professor Meredith Phillips, will play directly into his work with ARV. “I have had to work with data all quarter, and I have a better understanding of how to organize data effectively and what to look for in a dataset, all skills I hope to use with ARV’s data in India,” he says.
As IPP continues to expand, more Luskin students may also have this unique opportunity to witness firsthand how the theories and data from their coursework operate in organizations and communities around the world.
To see a list of the countries students are going to and follow along with them on their travels, visit the Luskin Abroad blog here. Urban Planning students going on a summer exchange program to China and Jon Baskin, a student traveling to Canada on the Dr. Edwar Hildebrand Fellowship for Canadian Studies, will also be contributing to the blog.