International Studies Internship Guidelines

Main Objectives of the Internship

Opportunity for Students to Apply Principles Learned in and Outside the Classroom

An internship should provide the student with hands-on experience and a good sense of what an actual job in the organization will be like. The student should be able to relate the internship experience to the knowledge that he or she has gained through college-level classroom instruction.

Opportunity to Observe Professionals in Action

It is important that student interns be able to observe professionals in their particular field to grasp what the occupation will really be like. We encourage interns to participate in staff meetings, attend presentations and meet with clients when appropriate.

Opportunity to Develop Specific Skills

The students should leave the internship with a new set of skills or improvements in their current skill set. We encourage the student to concentrate on the following areas:

  • Research Skills
  • Writing Skills
  • Technical Skills
  • Presentation Skills

Organization of the Internship and Responsibilities of the Student

Internships may earn a varying number of credit hours depending on the amount of time devoted to the internship placement and the amount of academic work associated with them.

IS 404 – Three credit hours – for placements involving between 12 and 15 hours per week (a minimum of 150 hours per semester). Academic work generally includes, but is not limited to, one 10-12 page paper and creation of a portfolio (weekly journal) reflecting on the internship.  The grade will be weighted 80% on the paper and 20% on the journal.

IS 405 – Six credit hours – for placements involving between 18 and 22 hours per week (a minimum of 240 hours per semester). Academic work generally includes, but is not limited to, one 18-20 page paper and creation of a portfolio (weekly journal) reflecting on the internship.  The grade will be weighted 80% on the paper and 20% on the journal.

Consultation is strongly advised before accepting an internship position. A signature from the faculty advisor is required before registration for course credit. In most cases the paper will be a blend of on-the-job learning and reflective writing.

Sample Outline for Term Paper

  • Introduction – Brief overview of the agency, including:
    • Type of agency or company
    • Size
    • Brief history
    • Organizational structure (including your location in that structure)
    • Goals
    • Objectives
    • What do you do?
  • Details of Learning Experience
    • A discussion of issues, problems, and practices relevant to the agency/company
    • How does the literature address these issues?
    • Refer to both published articles and books and coursework materials (textbook or class notes)
    • What actually happens in the agency?
    • According to the agency, what issues, problems and practices are most important?
    • Review selected agency documents
    • Describe any differences you have observed in the formal and informal structures of the agency
    • Synthesize your agency placement experience and themes from the international studies literature and course materials
    • How has your understanding of international issues been enhanced or changed by this experience?
    • What ideas have helped you understand your experience?
    • What works? What does not?
  • Summary and Discussion of Observations and Findings
  • Bibliography

Procedure to follow to write the report paper

Within a week of beginning an internship position the student and faculty advisor must consult to accomplish the following:
Clarify internship position. The student should be able to produce a written job description from the agency or person supervising the internship. The job must be intellectually rewarding and directly connected to international issues.

Begin research agenda: This involves defining the academic focus of the internship. Questions should be addressed such as: What can be learned on this job? What outside reading will be helpful to understand the political processes involved in the job? What sort of information can be gathered while on the job? What sort of paper will be appropriate to write?

Throughout the internship, interns will be required to keep a log of activities and observations. This log may serve as the basis for reports to the faculty advisor, for insights about the process, and/or as a place to record new data.

The student can consult with the faculty advisor as needed. If the intern placement is out of town, consultation can be by phone, e-mail or letter. It is the student’s responsibility to initiate consultations.

Before the end of the term the student intern must see that their job supervisor sends the faculty sponsor a brief evaluation of the intern’s performance and activities.

A final draft of the report will be due on the first day of exams.

On-Site Supervisor Responsibilities

Provide a meaningful setting in which the student is able to utilize academic work in an applied setting. The assigned work must permit the student to become familiar with the agency, staff, and clientele.

Provide a written evaluation to the faculty sponsor at the end of the internship.