UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State’s College of Communications has a long history of sending students to intern in China. These students work in a number of positions from advertising to print and broadcast journalism, and this summer five students will join two of China’s largest media outlets.
Senior journalism major Courtney Barrow has had many internships, including ones with ABC News and AccuWeather. She also covered the Penn State baseball team’s trip to Cuba last year. She said two months in China working for International Channel Shanghai will be a drastically different experience — but she’s ready.
“I’m looking forward to appreciating the culture. I’m curious to see what the differences in journalism are,” she said. “The College of Communications is here to help, and I am grateful for this eye-opening adventure.” Barrow is also a reporter for the "Centre County Report," the TV newscast produced by communications students, and hopes to incorporate some of her broadcast experience into the internship.
International Channel Shanghai (ICS) is a variety TV channel that broadcasts in English, Japanese and Mandarin Chinese. It reaches 9 million television sets in Shanghai and it broadcasts to nearly every continent.
Barrow will be joined by junior telecommunications major Yi-Ting Wu at ICS. Over the last two summers Wu interned for a television company and an online news company in her home country of Taiwan. As an international student, Wu said she is excited to build on the skills she has learned at Penn State and the internships. She says it feels like a natural fit.
“My native language is Chinese and I have a lot of interest in telecommunications,” she said. “I think with my skills and culture experience, I can bring a lot to English and Chinese speakers who live in China.”
All of the students discovered their internships from Bob Martin, assistant dean for internships and career placement, who regularly sends emails to communications students with career and internship opportunities. While students get many of these emails throughout the semester, the prospect of a summer abroad in Asia was too good to pass up.
“Bob Martin’s emails are great,” said Stephanie Panny, a sophomore majoring in journalism, who will be interning as a reporter for China Daily. “It’s great to see what’s out there, because I’ve never really been overseas and I have always wanted to experience China.”
Headquartered in Beijing, China Daily is the nation's largest English-language newspaper with a daily circulation of 200,000. It has offices in seven major cities, including New York City, London and Kathmandu.
Despite making her first voyage abroad, Panny said support from the college and discussions with a past intern have calmed some of her — and her parents’ — nerves. Also, she plans on keeping classmate Fangzhou Xiong nearby. A sophomore public relations major, Xiong will also be working for China Daily. It will be his first internship. Beijing is Xiong’s hometown, and the internship ad jumped out at him for a different reason than the others.
“It’s close to home,” he said. “Plus, I am interested in the creative side of public relations. I saw this job was near home and applied, and I am very happy about getting picked.”
Panny and Xiong said they expect to find their niche at China Daily by covering a number of different beats. Recent visual journalism graduate Akash Ghai, another member of the Penn State team at China Daily, said he hopes he lands in the photography department.
Ghai recently completed a photo internship with National Public Radio and also worked a multimedia internship at Agence France Presse in Washington, D.C.
“After summer is over, I want to have a working knowledge of Chinese and be prepared to work in the country at some point,” Ghai said. “I hope to travel quite a bit around the country. I'm not too worried about cultural or language barriers. Where I'm from is culturally similar to China in many ways.”