The Power of Internships

Sometimes all you need is a foot in door. Often times an internship will serve as that buffer between the angst of college life and the uncertain, but fascinating world of a professional career. It can be a great way to figure out where you might be a “good fit,” a common phrase used to describe one’s sense of belonging with an organization or community. With the right support, internships can be an effective way to discover one’s gifts and passions.

Jason Chmura, Manager of New Business Development at Save the Children, discusses internship opportunities with students on Tuesday, September 10, 2013.
Jason Chmura, Manager of New Business Development at Save the Children, discusses internship opportunities with IL students on Tuesday, September 10, 2013.

A few years ago, I had a student named Weronika who was interested in pursuing an internship with Save the Children for academic credit. She was one of five interns with “Save” that semester who participated in our IL 298 internship course. Each student developed an e-Portfolio to track their goals and accomplishments throughout the semester. Following the semester-long experience, Weronika discerned that Save the Children was a great fit for her and was fortunate to be retained full time by the global non-governmental organization. Two years later, she returned to our office with colleagues from Save the Children to recruit more IL students for internship opportunities.

Let’s be clear, internships do not always guarantee outcomes like Weronika’s. What internships offer is the rare opportunity of time to learn and explore a potential career path. Once hired, the objectives of your employer and the responsibilities of your role will drive your priorities. Take advantage of the opportunity to apprentice while you can. As an International Studies or International Business major, you should use these precious moments to figure out where and how your academic study can serve as a bridge to your professional aspirations.

For information about internship opportunities with International Studies visit our internship Web page or contact me at jgriffin@fairfield.edu