Freeman Foundation Grant to Support Internships in China | St. Lawrence University Patti McGill Peterson Center for International and Intercultural Studies

Freeman Foundation Grant to Support Internships in China

St. Lawrence University has received a $40,000 grant from Freeman Foundation to support student internships in China.

Helen Huang, director of Asia Programs in St. Lawrence’s Patti McGill Peterson Center for International and Intercultural Studies, said the new East Asia Internship grant received from the Freeman Foundation will significantly expand opportunities for St. Lawrence students to immerse themselves in living and working in China, where they will be able to gain an authentic understanding of, and appreciation for oriental culture and society.

“We have been building our China Internship Program since 2013, and for the past seven years, St. Lawrence has been creating multiple internship positions in China, sending over 40 students to do the internships all over China in fields such as financial services, education, public policy, environmental organization and research institutes,” Huang said. “Considering the fact that the Freeman Foundation’s mission is tied to the East Asia area, we will also open this grant opportunity in the future for students who are interested in doing internship in Japan.”

According to Huang, the Freeman Foundation has played a critical role in enhancing St. Lawrence student interest in China and other Asian countries. Two grant awards in 1999 and 2000 respectively, engaged over 50 faculty and more than 100 students. Outcomes included dozen of new Asian study courses, numerous faculty/student traveling research projects, faculty exchanges, and enhanced language study.

“The internship program in China has had profound impacts on SLU student participants, particularly our U.S. student interns,” Huang said, “not simply an opportunity to learn about Asia culture, but prepare Laurentians to be world citizens.”

Erica Sawyer ’20 who completed her summer internship at Sichuan University Bio Lab, described her experience in Chengdu as “incredible.” 

“I was lucky enough to work along intelligent and dedicated people who taught me about their careers, lifestyle, and language,” Sawyer said. “I have taken many things away from this experience, but the most significant is an understanding of the way behavior in the face of unfamiliarity provides a shrewd means of self-examination.”

Dylan Butts ’19, who interned at Qingyu Hedge Fund in Shanghai appreciated the opportunity to develop his future career path. “This internship not only aligned with my passion for traveling and different cultures, but also related to my academic field of economics,” he said. “I was given a great background in finance and international trade. I hope to work international in business or economics one day, and this internships gives me a lot of creditability for those types of jobs in the future.”

Established in 1994 by the estate of AIG co-founder Mansfield Freeman, the mission of the Freeman Foundation is mission is to encourage friendship between the U.S. and countries in the Far East through the exchange of ideas and people and the growth of mutual understanding.

Eight students who successfully secure an eight-week internship in China will receive $5,000 to cover their flight, visa, room and food for their internships in China.  

Huang said she believes the grant will attract more students to learn about East Asia culture and society as well as enhance their competency for their future career. For more information, contact CIIS at or visit