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Stanford University in Berlin

Krupp Internships / Praktika

25 Jahre: 1982-2007 - History, Archive


Krupp Internship Program for Stanford Students in Germany Celebrates 25th Anniversary

In May, 2007, Prof. Dr. h.c. mult. Berthold Beitz and former President of Stanford University Prof.  Gerhard Casper met with Stanford students, faculty, alumni, and officials of the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach-Stiftung to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Krupp Internship Program for Stanford Students in Germany at Villa Hügel in Essen.

The program was launched a quarter century ago, when Kenneth Kaufman, Special Assistant to the President of the University and Claus Zoellner of the Stanford Club of Germany met with Berthold Beitz to discuss developing a program that would give Stanford students the opportunity (after completing a period of intense preparatory study at Stanford’s German campus in Berlin-Dahlem) to work in German firms and institutions.  A successful pilot program, conducted under the auspices of the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) the previous year, had confirmed that productive integration of Stanford students into German workplaces was not only feasible but highly beneficial to intern and host team alike.  There was, in the early 80s, a perceived need in public discourse for new initiatives that would enlist successor generations in the project of sustaining and further developing the special relationship that had emerged between the United States and the Federal Republic of Germany in the post-war era.  Berthold Beitz embraced the plan and pledged Foundation support; the Krupp Internship Program for Stanford Students in Germany was born. 

Since that morning in 1982, Germany has changed a great deal — and the Krupp Internship Program has changed with it.  Initially created for students of engineering and natural sciences, the program was soon expanded to include students of the social sciences and humanities as well, and the number and variety of host firms and institutions is vast (over 350 to date). The Program responded to the fall of the Berlin Wall and to German unification by expanding its host base to the new Laender, where Krupp/Stanford interns — often the first American local townspeople had ever met — were received warmly and with open curiosity. Eric Yoon, an early intern in Saxony, expressed it well:

In Meissen, a small town in the heart of Eastern Germany, few things must have looked stranger than the sight of a Korean American kid like myself marching around the winding, medieval streets, grunting barely intelligible German.  Nevertheless, all kinds of people – young and old, employed and unemployed, those hopeful about unification and those fearful of its consequences – took me on tours, filled me with bratwurst and beer, introduced me to their families, and shared their stories with me.  For that I shall always be thankful.

In the first 25 years of the program, over 850 students completed full-time internships of 3-6 months.  In May 2001, a survey of 592 Krupp/Stanford alumni was conducted in an attempt to gauge the long-term impact of the Krupp Internship experience. The response rate of 60% speaks for itself. The great majority of respondents said the program had changed them, had influenced their professional and personal plans, had increased their awareness of international affairs and increased their interest in Germany.  The majority confirmed that they have used insights and knowledge gained in Germany in their subsequent professional lives.

In 2005 the first issue of an annual electronic newsletter, Briefe aus Berlin, was sent to all alumni of the Program. The publication, which is written in part by current or former interns, provides information and culture capsules on Germany today (reports from interns in the field, German film reviews & recommendations, web links, political analysis, German poetry), describes highlights of the year's Program and functions as a forum for the Krupp alumni network.

In summer of 2006, the Kuratorium of the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach-Stiftung generously approved renewal of the Program grant; this grant will secure the program through its thirtieth year, by which time well over 1000 Stanford students will have deepened their understanding and appreciation of this country through the lens of the German workplace.

Karen Kramer
Stanford in Berlin