It’s time to think about next summer, pt. 2

In the previous post I discussed the benefits of studying abroad. Now I would like to address the issue of internships. Employers, whether small businesses, major corporations, government agencies, and nonprofits have long realized the benefit of offering summer internships: they get cheap (and sometimes free, which often means illegal) labor, they contribute to training the employees of tomorrow, and many times they also use internships to recruit candidates for full-time positions once they have graduated. For college students, internships offer hands-on experience, networking opportunities, and another line to add to the resume. They are also a good opportunity to spend some time outside your home state – something students who attend college in the state they grew up in should seriously consider. Interning over the summer has become so popular in recent years that many leading graduate programs and employers want to see some internship experience (or volunteer work, or both) on one’s resume as a precondition for consideration for admission or employment.

There are many types of internships, but in general they are divided into paid and unpaid ones. Don’t expect to earn too much money in paid internships, but they at the very least should cover basic living expenses. For many students, paid internships are the only way to spend the summer away from home, in a major city they have always wanted to visit or live in. That of course makes them more competitive and harder to get than unpaid ones, so reading the application instructions carefully, and having good grades and the right people as your references are the key to success.

Where does one find internships? Your university/college/department posts info on many such opportunities on bulletin boards and websites. Your university’s career center should have information about local and national internship opportunities (for Ball State’s career center, click here). Your professors may be another good resource. And, of course, there’s the Internet. Below I’ve listed some good search engines for internships. You should also look up companies you are interested in. Many have a section on their website devoted to internships. Some places would only take students who have completed at least 2 years of college, but those in between freshman and sophomore year should not give up on looking for one as well.

internships.com – a general search engine.

internmatch.com – another search engine.

dcinternships.org – for internships in Washington DC.

Internships with the federal government

New York City internships (for the City of New York).

Los Angeles internships

idealist.org – internships with non-profits

Financial sector internships

Internships in Indiana

Internships in Europe

A good article from the New York Times about paid and unpaid internships.

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