Taubman College is pleased to announce a new fund to support international internships, which will provide resources for students pursuing professional degrees in architecture to gain practical training in professional architecture practice with firms around the world. The first two students will travel to Kigali, Rwanda, in summer 2019 as interns with MASS Design Group. Over time, the program will expand with the goal of eventually placing students in multiple international locations each summer.
Through the fund, Taubman College and host organizations will share the cost of providing the paid internships, so students can gain the valuable experience that internships provide without having to worry about managing their cost of living over the summer. In addition to the hands-on training, international internships also give students exposure to cultures, landscapes, socio-political considerations, environmental concerns, and other challenges that might be different than what they experience at home but which are important background since architecture increasingly is being practiced on an international basis.
Accordingly, the program will have a lasting influence on participants’ futures in terms of preparation for practice and development of a global mind-set, says Sharon Haar, chair of the architecture program. “To really understand architecture’s role in our complex, global society, students need to step outside of the academic studio, outside of their comfort zones, and, ideally, outside of the United States. We are so grateful for the opportunities that the fund will provide for our students to do so.”
The program’s initial partnership with MASS Design Group, a nonprofit firm based in Boston and Kigali, will give students the chance to work with architects at the leading edge of public interest architecture. MASS Design’s projects include hospitals and schools in multiple African countries, as well as a national genocide memorial in Rwanda.
Interns will be selected through a competitive application process and will be announced in January. Within two weeks of beginning the nine-to-12-week internships, they will be required to submit a detailed plan that outlines their work and the anticipated value of that work, both professionally and personally. Interns also will be expected to submit a final report after they return from Rwanda.
“This is a transformational gift for Taubman College,” says Dean Jonathan Massey. “We are excited by the possibilities that it presents for our students, and thankful for the visionary leadership and generosity that has made it possible.”
The program is made possible in part through a generous gift to create an endowed fund at Taubman College, which has since been strengthened with a significant bequest to establish the Longo International Architecture Internship Fund. The gift was announced at the November 2, 2018, celebration to conclude the Victors for Michigan campaign, which has been the most successful campaign in the University of Michigan’s history.