Thursday, February 02, 2012

Summer internships for foreign students could be a very good idea

Signaling a sharp change of course in the country’s largest international cultural exchange program, the State Department has banned a leading sponsor company from bringing foreign students to the United States for summer jobs and will add new restrictions to protect students from labor abuse, officials said Wednesday.
 The New York Times reports today that a program to bring foreign students to the United States for summer jobs. The strike by some 400 working in one factory last year triggered the change, and surely this country should not put foreign students in dangerous work environments, nor exploit them in other ways.

The NYT article stresses that the students should not be placed in jobs that unemployed Americans are seeking. Indeed, I wonder if it is to our advantage to place them in jobs that could be filled by American students on summer vacations.

On the other hand, the program could have some very valuable aspects. Placing foreign students from developing nations in the right jobs in the United States for a summer could serve as a great foreign assistance program. The program could make friends for American who could be expected to play important roles in the country in the future. Adding part time course work in special sessions could enrich the education of the students.

I would hate to throw out the baby with the bath water!

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