Buckman International Internship Program

Initiated in 1994 by a generous gift of the Buckman family, the Mertie W. Buckman International Internship Program provides the opportunity for outstanding students majoring in International Studies (IS) at Rhodes to work abroad during an eight week period in the summer months. In addition to the work experience, Buckman Interns are provided with a stipend to use for cultural enrichment while abroad. This program is coordinated by faculty members from the IS department and Career Services and the Buckman Center for International Education. The program covers the cost of airfare and accommodations while living abroad, tuition costs (2 hours of Rhodes credit), and expenses for one week of travel abroad.

Rhodes International Studies students have travelled to all areas of the world with the Mertie W. Buckman International Internship Program. Some countries include Singapore, Hong Kong, Germany, Argentina, and Ireland, with internships with a variety of employers ranging from multinational corporations such as FedEx to local human rights organizations. Students interested in these sites should specify their desired sites on the application form and in the letter of application.

Qualified applicants will be rising junior or senior IS majors (including IS-related interdisciplinary majors) with a minimum overall and major g.p.a. of 3.3 and relevant foreign language skills. Applications are available in October in the IS department and Career Services.

2017 Buckman International Interns


Anna Lee Nabors
Hometown: Birmingham, AL
Major: International Studies 
City, Country: Brussels, Belgium
Internship Site: German Marshall Fund of the United States

Over the summer, I was an intern at a think tank called The German Marshall Fund of the United States. (GMF) is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with offices throughout Europe. It focuses on various issues of European-American relations including security, defense, and energy security. I worked at the Brussels office with the energy security program doing research on current energy developments and environmental policy changes that were relevant over the summer. The Brussels office is in the heart of the and brings together around 10 interns every summer from both European and American backgrounds. With people from such diverse backgrounds and the huge number of international institutions that are based in Brussels, there was never a boring moment, and there were countless opportunities to learn something new. 

This summer I was able to grow a lot in my understanding of international governance, energy policy, and how think tanks are run. I also got to experience a lot of travel throughout Western Europe and learn to navigate things on my own, which was huge for me in terms of personal growth. 


Caleb Fowler
Hometown: Austin, Texas
Major: International Studies & History
City, Country: Dublin, Ireland
Internship Site: Pow-Cow

This summer I had the unique pleasure of interning in Dublin, Ireland, for a startup frozen yogurt company called Pow-Cow. Interning in a startup where I represented half of the work force was a great experience for me because I was able to play a big role in almost all of the projects we had lined up for the summer. That allowed me to try my hand in many areas, such as marketing and sales, that I had interest in but no previous formal experience. Working for Pow-Cow in a shared office space run by a local business incubator confirmed for me that I would like to work within the startup sector after I graduate.

Outside of work I explored the island of Ireland extensively from north to south, biking along coastlines, hiking mountains, and slogging through bogs. While in Dublin, I was blessed to form close relationships with my housemates and get connected to several communities throughout the city. I even found a little piece of home in a local pub where some folks would play Americana music and let me accompany them on guitar all summer. Overall, my time in Ireland was extremely influential on my personal and professional growth, and I am deeply grateful to the Buckman family for affording me this incredible opportunity.


Claire Rickard
Hometown: Montgomery, Alabama
Major: International Studies
City, Country: Paris, France
Internship Site: Demain Nos Enfants

I spent this summer interning at the diverse French charity, Demain Nos Enfants. This charity is widespread in its impact and its projects. During my time there, our main focus was social issues. I was brought on to work with their newest project: a web series designed to provoke thought and discussion among the French population about their society and its problems. The web series’ purpose is to be used as a tool by schools, educational programs, clubs, and other groups to prompt and lead discussions. I worked specifically on the episode concerning the homelessness problem in Paris.

Through this internship, I not only gained professional skills regarding marketing and videography, but also broadened my appreciation for another culture through the relationships I formed with friends at my work and French host family. Through my coworkers I was able to have deep discussions about homelessness, migrants, religion, etc., in our respective countries, all while gaining a more intimate intercultural knowledge. My French host family allowed me to see the contrast in domestic customs and political opinions of both French and American politics. The experiences from my summer in France, both professional and personal, are invaluable to me and I am very thankful to the Buckman family for making it possible.


Jordan Giles
Hometown: Shreveport, Louisiana 
Major: International Studies & Russian Studies Double Major
City, Country: Dublin, Ireland
Internship Site: VMM International

After considering all the different fields that are available to international studies students, I decided to gain experience in the charity sector this summer.  In Dublin, Ireland, I interned with an international development non-governmental organization (NGO) called VMM International. The organization works with community groups, NGOs, and other organizations in Africa and Asia to build healthy, sustainable communities. VMM provides administrative, financial, and personnel support to these partner organizations in nine African countries and two Asian countries.

I was an intern to the International Program Manager, essentially the organizer and overseer of all international programs, projects, and volunteers. Under her leadership, I learned an incredible amount about aid, international development, volunteer sending organizations, charities,
faith-based organizations, international projects, and so much more. My most exciting task was preparing a budget for a consortium of five organizations including VMM to be submitted to the European Union for funding of a variety of international cooperation projects that focused on topics such as refugee visibility, youth work, gender equality, access to clean water and health-care, and many more.

My experience with VMM this summer has imbued me with an incredible appreciation for the work of NGOs worldwide, who often work understaffed, underfunded, and underappreciated. My co-workers continue to inspire me to commit myself to helping the world, regardless of the personal cost. I am incredibly grateful, and I owe this life-changing experience to the Mertie Buckman International Internship Program and the generosity of the Buckman family. 


Laurie Williams
Hometown: Dyersburg, TN
Major: International Studies
City, Country: Barcelona, Spain
Internship Site: Casal dels Infants

As one of Barcelona’s most respected non-profit and social outreach programs, the Casal provides after-school and summer programming for at-risk youth, including the children of migrants and refugees as well as those receiving public assistance. I chose to work with three-to five-year-olds, organizing daily activities, assisting with weekly field trips, and tying a lot of loose shoelaces. I was even able to go camping with them my last week in Barcelona! And thanks to eight weeks of corralling kids, I can now deliver commands more confidently in Spanish than in English.

Barcelona is an amazing city in which to live and work, and I loved the independence I found there. Being able to immerse myself in Spanish culture in all aspects of daily life was incredible and pushed my language acquisition farther than I expected in 10 of the shortest weeks of my life. Every day brought something new, and I could not be more grateful for the experience I had.