Working World: Careers in International Education, Exchange, and Development

By Sherry L. Muller; Mark Overmann | Go to book overview

Chapter 7
Internship Opportunities

Internships are building blocks of a career. In many cases they have become an implicit prerequisite for an entry-level job. Internships are the source of much practical training and office experience that employers seek. Employers want to be sure that potential hires understand the demands of the contemporary workplace and are not under the impression that the sometimes more relaxed deadlines of academic life apply in work situations.

Researching internships should be approached as seriously as searching for a relatively permanent position. You will be trading a precious commodity—your time—for valuable training in return for either no remuneration or (if you are lucky) a modest stipend. You want to make sure you choose to work in an environment where your supervisors truly care about your growth and professional development.


EXPLOITATION? NO, A CHANCE TO LEARN
AND GROW

Internships can provide skills training and other valuable learning that one cannot acquire in the classroom. Actual work situations in the fields of international education, exchange, and development may be quite different from what you imagine, and the introduction an internship can provide to the daily tasks involved in a given job or organization is invaluable.

Certain career websites that we have come across warn students that some internships are arranged only “for the benefit of the employer” and may not offer any useful or pertinent experiences. One such website goes so far as to say that unless an internship provides a valuable learning experience, such as skills training or exposure to a specific business culture,

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