About

2018 Iacocca Internship Placements will be posted by September 30, 2017.

Statement of Purpose

The Office of International Affairs supports the Lehigh University vision of an education “grounded in fundamental, transferable skills across all disciplines and in real world challenges” with a variety of applied global learning experiences. One of the most distinctive is the Iacocca International Internship Program (IIIP), in which students live and work overseas for six to ten weeks, getting real-world professional experience while being immersed in a new culture. Students develop intercultural sensitivity and competency and self-efficacy while preparing for their careers.

In providing the initial funding to create the program, Lee Iacocca ’45 explained: “The idea for the Iacocca International Internships emerged from the questions: How do you go about building global leadership? How do you demonstrate to people from different worlds that their commonalities are greater than their differences? By putting together cross-cultural situations, students are under pressure to perform by working through their cultural differences. They say yes to globalization, yes to cooperation. The students’ enthusiasm is infectious and I would like to think it will infect the world.”

In the six years since the program began, more than 400 students have interned in 40 countries. It’s become highly competitive and is considered a benchmark for successful models at other institutions.

One goal of the program is to expand access to international experiences. While all Lehigh University students are eligible, financial aid status and lack of previous international experience are two of the key selection criteria. Undergraduate and graduate students in all disciplines can participate.

Opportunities range from experiences combining academic and formal work components; international research (typically at partner institutions of higher education, national laboratories, or research-focused corporations); or teams of Lehigh students working on faculty-led projects, sometimes with peers from another country, to address a common problem in an organization. Most internships do not carry academic credit.

Taking theory to practice, Lehigh University’s Iacocca International Internship Program aims to provide students with high-quality learning experiences that will enable them to develop both professionally and personally. These robust international internship experiences provide an in-depth introduction to work environment norms, industry awareness, and an enhanced global perspective through a true cultural immersion.

Through these internships, students develop significantly - both professionally and personally.  The technical skills developed should be relevant to his/her field of study and career aspirations.  The soft skills typically developed include, but are not limited to:

  • improved interpersonal communication
  • enhanced self-awareness
  • independent thinking
  • increased self-confidence
  • emerging professional identity
  • expanded professional networks
  • broadened global awareness, etc.

An intended outcome is to improve the student's job readiness for tomorrow's competitive global workplace.

While students gain practical career-related experience and an enhanced global perspective, the organizations that host the students get driven, intelligent interns to work on short-term projects and an opportunity to mentor young people.  These internships range in duration from 6 to 10 weeks.  Lehigh University pays for each student’s travel, accommodation and meals.  A modest stipend is provided to slightly offset loss of summer earnings.

Benefits to Students Who Intern Abroad

Through these internships, students develop significantly both professionally and personally. The technical skills developed should be relevant to his/her field of study and career aspirations. The soft skills typically developed include, but are not limited to:

  • improved interpersonal communication
  • enhanced self-awareness
  • independent thinking
  • increased self-confidence
  • emerging professional identity
  • expanded professional networks
  • broadened global awareness, etc.

An intended outcome is to improve the student’s job readiness for tomorrow’s competitive global workplace.

Benefits to Organizations Who Host Our Undergraduate Students

Organizational hosts derive benefit from a fresh perspective of a young professional who contributes to organizational projects, research or other service for a minimum of two months. Help develop today’s youth for tomorrow’s workplace. Enable students to immerse themselves in a culture that is new and different, thereby enhancing their global perspective.  

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Benefactor of the program Lee Iacocca '45 and program director Carol Ham.