Janelle Laros, '21, with coworkers during her summer 2019 internship with Calvin Klein in Hong Kong. The internship was one of dozens offered around the world through Lehigh's popular Iacocca International Internship Program. (Courtesy of Janelle Laros)

Students reflect on Iacocca Internship experiences


The Iacocca International Internship Program is an opportunity for students to live and work abroad during the summer. The global internships range from positions in corporate companies to faculty-led research projects, providing opportunities for students of all majors. 

To make international experiences accessible for all, most of the expenses the trip’s expenses are covered. Internships include a stipend that allows undergraduate and graduate students to have financial freedom and compensation for their work. 

Accepted students receive in-depth career and cultural training beforehand, preparing them to take on potentially difficult tasks in their new environment. 

Many students, such as Janelle Laros, ‘21, returned from their Iacocca Internships this year feeling more confident and prepared for the independence that comes with adulthood. 

Laros was accepted to an Iacocca Internship with Calvin Klein in Hong Kong, where she worked in retail planning and development — a position she was unfamiliar with. 

“I got a lot of hands-on opportunities in the design process of what it looks like to be a designer in a corporate setting,” Laros said. 

Outside of work, she was able to travel and experience the intense political climate of Hong Kong. Specifically, she experienced escalation of the Hong Kong riots over the course of the summer. 

The riots started peacefully, but Janelle watched them grow into violent protests that injured many people and caused chaos in the urban hub. Through her experiences, she had to solve a lot of her problems on her own for the first time. 

“A lot of the problems I had to fix were things that an information session couldn’t have prepared me for,” she said. 

Working in an unfamiliar city, Laros learned to be her own main line of defense, and to always be on top of her work. Reflecting on the experience, she advises future Iacocca International Internship students to be open-minded. 

Kristine Phan, ‘21, said she came out of her shell during her time in Nagoya, Japan. 

“It’s a chance to learn more about not only yourself, but also the rest of the world around you,” Phan said. 

Her position as a research intern at the Nagoya Institute of Technology helped her gain hands-on work experience she could never receive in her classes. 

On the weekends, Phan was able to travel to different parts of Japan, and she even flew to Korea. She had the freedom to explore the country and its culture outside of a work setting. 

“You get what you put into it,” she said. “You have to be willing to go the extra mile.” 

Bai Hao Yu, ‘21, tried to take advantage of all the opportunities he was presented with. 

A finance and business information systems major, Hao Yu went into his company, CoworkIN, as a finance intern. However, when he expressed he was interested in photography, he was given a different position which consisted of taking photos of the office space for the company’s marketing department. 

“Try new things,” he said. “If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t. But what happens if it does?” 

In New Delhi, Yu had to learn to overcome hardships of feeling alone and dealing with the language barrier. Specifically, he wasn’t comfortable with bargaining—a common tactic that he was unfamiliar with in the U.S. 

However, through active communication and translations, he was able to effectively communicate in India. 

Yu recommends that students understand their capabilities and find a program that matches it.

“I went with a group program because I wasn’t quite comfortable going to a foreign country by myself,” he said. 

With support from his two other Lehigh companions and coworkers, Yu learned to be confident in trying new things. 

The Iacocca International Internship Program application for 2020 is currently open. The deadline is Nov. 22, at noon. All students are encouraged to apply.

Comment policy

Comments posted to The Brown and White website are reviewed by a moderator before being approved. Incendiary speech or harassing language, including comments targeted at individuals, may be deemed unacceptable and not published. Spam and other soliciting will also be declined.

The Brown and White also reserves the right to not publish entirely anonymous comments.

Leave A Reply