CRP graduate students return from international internships

News
September 4, 2009

A growing number of master of regional planning students are taking advantage of the opportunity to gain professional experience through internships around the globe.

Chris List (M.R.P. ’10) has returned to Sibley Hall this fall after spending the spring semester and summer in Italy gaining professional experience as part of the Cornell in Rome program.

List worked with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and U.N. Water developing a desk study on water rights and water law. This work will be used as his exit project for the M.R.P. degree. Additionally, his time in Rome provided him with numerous professional contacts that will be integral to his upcoming international job search.

Aside from his work, List cherishes the friendships he forged and people he met in Rome the most.

“Working at FAO allowed me to make a large number of friends who made my time in Rome much more enjoyable,” List said. “And then there is also the beauty of Rome itself and the surrounding regions as well as the nearby lakes and beaches.”

List was the only graduate student from AAP to participate in the Rome program last year; he was joined by three graduate students from the Cornell Institute for Public Administration.

Srinivasan (Srini) Vasudevan (M.R.P. ’10) returned to his native India this summer to work for Indore City Transport Services Ltd., located in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. Indore is a rapidly growing commercial city of 1-1/2 million people.

Vasudevan’s project involved developing a system to monitor bus performance in Indore on a regular basis, including the implementation of a penalty and rewards system to improve service quality. Although his internship is not directly related to his exit project for the M.R.P. degree, it connected to his interest in public transportation in developing countries and gave him an opportunity to better understand the institutions and processes of transportation in India.

After having spent the previous year in Ithaca and other parts of the U.S., Vasudevan recognized important differences between the American and Indian systems of government and public transportation.

“In India, the most stark contrast with the U.S. system is in the lack of capacity and professionalism of the organizations, contractors, and stakeholders,” he said. “There is also little awareness of rights and responsibilities among the common people. People seem to be highly tolerant of low-quality public infrastructure, especially when it comes to sidewalks. The media is very powerful and typically antigovernment in its stance and also tends to be very superficial in its analysis of issues.”

Other CRP students have recently gone to Cape Verde, France, and elsewhere.