INTERNATIONAL ACADEMIC INTERNSHIPS
A few years ago, a group of faculty members with background in study abroad and/or supervising international academic internships met to discuss how best to prepare and guide students doing international academic internships. Liability and safety concerns, suggestions for preparatory activities, and ideas for helping students reflect and engage upon their return to campus were all addressed. Their discussion is reflected in the current process for registering an international academic internship, and in the resources provided for faculty supervisors of academic internships.
International Academic Internships Differ
The nature of international academic internships impacts how they are supervised by faculty members on campus.
No face-to-face contact with student during the internship experience . Faculty rely primarily on email to check in periodically with interns working abroad.
- Students encounter new work situations at the same time they encounter new cultures and regions of the world. International internships require even more preparation on the students' part, since they will need to have a broad understanding of the country and cultures they will encounter in addition to the work they will be performing.
Faculty supervisors of international academic internships have great potential to positively impact students' experiences by facilitating more comprehensive preparation and learning.
Suggestions For Helping Students Prepare
The following list was developed by a group of faculty members with extensive background supervising students studying or interning abroad. We strongly recommend incorporating an appropriate combination of these activities into the academic activities you assign for any international academic internship.
Students should be encouraged to...
- Prepare on their own, under the guidance of faculty who have expertise related to their experience
- Read any of the following articles/books:
- "The Limits of Charity," by David Hilfiker
- "To Hell With Good Intentions," by Ivan Illich
- "Tourist Traps & Guilt Trips," by John Barbour
- Mountains Beyond Mountains, by Tracy Kidder
- Request background information about the organization, clientele, work culture, community, etc. from the internship site supervisor
- Interview 3 people before departure, either people who are from that country or people who have significant knowledge and/or experience in the country where the internship will take place
- Meet with another student who has done an international academic internship
- Attend a panel during which the country/region/culture is discussed
- Consider and list on the Learning Agreement & Plan any previous coursework which covered related topics/regions
- Reflect on any previous experiences which resulted in skills or knowledge that would be helpful during the internship
Planning For Internships Abroad
It will be helpful to remain aware of a few key pieces of information related to the registration process for international academic internship credit as you work with students.
Deadline to register for an Interim/Spring International Academic Internship is Nov 1st. Deadline to register for an International Summer Academic Internship is April 1st. After that, students will need to register via the petition process for a late add (petition fee will be assessed). Students interested in completing an academic internship during fall term should consult with the Piper Center staff member overseeing the Internships Program to discuss dates/deadlines.
Along with the Academic Internship Learning Agreement & Plan, students must also submit a Parent/Guardian Waiver, a Student Waiver (both available through International & Off-Campus Studies), and an Academic Internship Abroad Form. If the student is doing a summer international internship, (s)he must also submit the Summer Term II Registration Form (available in the Registrar's Office) and a $50 non-refundable fee.
Students completing an academic internship abroad must attend the Study Abroad Orientation facilitated by International & Off-Campus Studies (IOS). These are offered both fall and spring term. Check with the IOS Office for dates/times.
Click here for detailed information about registering an International Academic Internship.
Suggestions For Helping Students Reflect
Upon returning to campus, offer the student you supervised an opportunity to reflect and debrief with you one-on-one. Additionally, students may need opportunities to reflect with other students, and to engage with the campus community in new ways in light of what they learned and experienced during their internship. Here are a few suggestions to engage students in meaningful reflection:
Direct your student to the Piper Center for more information about activities and events of interest, including the World Wide Service Fair, various workshops and career panels, and opportunities for one-on-one discussion with staff members.
Help your student find avenues to engage and get involved by suggesting participation in the many on-campus clubs and organizations, including Volunteer Network.
Encourage your student to attend/participate in any of the International & Off-Campus Studies follow-up activities for study abroad participants. This includes the World Issues Dialogue, photo contest, and literary contest.
Piper Center staff are available to support your efforts to supervise international academic internships. Do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions or concerns about this process!
Back to supervising an academic internship
"Reflection in Service Learning: Making Meaning of Experience," by Robert G. Bringle and Julie A. Hatcher