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C of I students set to intern in Bangladesh

College of Idaho juniors Kendra Knighten and Ryan Gibson hope one day to help ease poverty through careers in international development. This summer, the students will get a first-hand look at the challenges and rewards associated with such a career as interns for Partners in Sustainable Development International in the South Asia nation of Bangladesh.

Knighten and Gibson – each majoring in international political economy at C of I – depart May 15 for Bangladesh, where they will spend 12 weeks working with PSDI development programs. The students will split their internship between rural Bangladesh, where they will participate in and record projects such as well building and tin roofing, and the capital city of Dhaka, where they will post photos, videos and written summaries on the PSDI website. Knighten and Gibson also will chronicle their activities in a blog on the C of I website at www.collegeofidaho.edu/blog/bangladesh.

“I’m excited to see everything I’ve been studying in action,” Gibson said. “I’ve seen through lectures and book work what positive development programs look like and what poverty looks like. This internship is an opportunity for me to see how (PSDI) operates in person and also to experience what absolute poverty is like on a very real level.”

The students also are looking forward to immersing themselves in the rich and storied culture of Bangladesh, a primarily Islamic country of nearly 150 million people nestled between India, the Himalaya Mountains and the Bay of Bengal on the Indian Ocean. Bangladesh is home to some of the world’s most breathtaking landscapes and exotic wildlife, but the country also is known for its widespread poverty and political corruption.

“I can’t wait to experience the culture of Bangladesh,” Knighten said. “It has such long lasting roots that go back though so many centuries, which is a lot different than what we are used to in the United States. At the same time, it’s going to be eye-opening because the poverty is so widespread and harsh.”

Both Knighten and Gibson have worked with the needy in the past through C of I Campus Ministries service trips. The students said those experiences, combined with their class work alongside award-winning C of I political economy professors Rob Dayley and Jim Angresano, have fostered in them a desire to effect change around the globe.  

Founded in 1891, The College of Idaho is the state’s oldest private liberal arts college. It has a century-old tradition of educating some of the most accomplished graduates in Idaho, including six Rhodes Scholars, three Marshall Scholars, and another 11 Truman and Goldwater Scholars. The College is located on a beautiful campus in Caldwell, Idaho. Its distinctive PEAK curriculum challenges students to attain competencies in the four knowledge peaks of the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field, enabling them to graduate with an academic major and three minors in four years. For more information on The College of Idaho, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu.