Find an Internship
Congratulations! By starting the search, you have taken an important step towards finding, funding, and securing an extraordinary internship.
Finding an internship can be fun. The search process itself offers a great opportunity to explore different work settings and begin to build your professional network. You will also develop search skills that you will again use to find a job after you graduate. The Career Center is here to help you every step of the way, so please contact us with any questions.
Here are some strategies to get you started:
- Commit to a positive attitude: Be confident that your unique personality, skill set, and liberal arts education are of tremendous interest to potential internship sponsors.
- Focus yourself: To the extent possible, be clear about your needs and priorities for an internship.
- Goals: Begin to envision what you hope to gain from an internship. What type of professional talents would you like to develop or deepen? What academic theories would you like to test in the “real world?”
- Location: Think about where you want to do an internship. An internship offers a great opportunity to find out whether you’d like to live in an area after college. Would you prefer to be close to family? What about doing an international internship? Would you like to stay in Northfield for the summer?
- Setting: Explore what type of organization in which you’d like to intern. Would you prefer to be in a larger organization (500+ employees) or a much smaller setting (25 or fewer employees)? Would you prefer to be in the private sector, a non-profit, or the government?
- Mission: Consider your sources of personal motivation. Do you think you would enjoy working for an organization that advocates around a cause (such as environmental activism or human rights) or a service-based organization (such as health care or education) or technology (such as internet-based communication or a high-tech startup)? Or would you rather be in the private sector focusing on organizational management, such as strategic planning, financial analysis, or human resources?
- Financial Resources: Some internships are paid; others are not. For those that are not, you may want to consider designing your internship to take advantage of funding available at Carleton. A number of Carls (alumni and parents) have provided significant resources to Carleton to help support interested students to participate in an internship regardless of financial need.
- Identify sources of information. A lot of formal information about potential internships is available online (as found on websites, databases, etc.). But perhaps even more important is the information available from informal sources – contacts that you make in the networking process and by pursuing informational interviews (see Networking and Informational Interviewing).
- Identify organizations for whom you may wish to work. Start a list of places that seem interesting and keep it handy to capture ideas that you come up with throughout your search.
- You may have new ideas from conversations with friends and family or related to coursework or an interesting class discussion.
- Your faculty adviser may have ideas about organizations that would be great hosts for an internship.
- Get ideas about exciting people and/or companies to work for by reading the newspapers or professional blogs from the region in which you’d like to work or that are focused on the sector that you’d like to work in. For example, the Washington Post frequently highlights successful federal workers in Washington D.C. and the Wall Street Journal has extensive coverage of financial firms.
- Utilize your network of Carleton alumni, faculty, friends, relatives and their business associates. Reach out to them for guidance and resources that will lead to the type of internship experience you are hoping to find.
- Prepare: Get your application materials ready.
If you’re still not sure of where to begin, that’s okay! Make an appointment with a career counselor who can help.
Carleton Specific Resources
- Student Internship Experiences Database: A searchable database of where other Carls have interned.
- Pathways: Explore how certain classes and majors could lead to potential careers, internships, and off-campus study programs.
- The Tunnel: The Career Center's searchable database of internship and job listings.
- The Career Center’s Twitter and Facebook pages for alumni or parent-sponsored internships.
- LACN: A database of internship openings developed by a consortium of 29 liberal arts colleges called the Liberal Arts Career NetWORK (LACN). Login in through the Tunnel and click on the LACN logo on the left-hand side of the page.
- Spotlight on Careers: Another collaborative effort with LACN, Spotlight is designed to give students an overview of 28 different career fields. Each site provides numerous links to related resources, and several sites provide links which list internship opportunities.
- Going Global: Packed with country-specific career information, this research tool provides expert advice and insider tips for finding employment at home and abroad.
- CareerBeam: The Career Center has partnered with CareerBeam to provide you comprehensive career resources and information. Look for the Internships.com link.
When looking for international internships, here are a few things to remember:
- Culture: Build your cross-cultural competency for interviews, networking and resumes by consulting Going Global.
- Networking: Consider attending larger academic or issue-based conferences and seminars where you can meet representatives from international organizations. You may find someone who works in a field of interest who is able to either directly provide you with an internship or can connect you with someone else who can.
- Domestic Resources: Not all internships serving international populations need to be internationally based! Many organizations throughout the United States run programs to work with international and immigrant populations such as English as a Second Language (ESL) teaching programs and refugee assistance services, like the International Rescue Committee. Also, many international organizations have offices in the United States. Consider reaching out to the U.S. office to find out more about the international positions. This can be helpful with private sector, non-profit, and international organizations.
- Foreign Languages: Be creative about applying your language skills. If you have fluency in a second or third language, consider going off the beaten path to use those language skills. For instance, did you know that the African continent has the most French speakers in the world, with some form of French spoken by an estimated 120 million people spread across 24 francophone countries?
- Do your research: Make sure you conduct thorough research on any organizations in which you are interested: funding sources, employee discrimination/potential gender biases, safety concerns, etc. You don’t want to arrive and realize this is an organization you don’t feel comfortable working for. You can find reviews of several programs on GoOverseas and Lonely Planet.
Okay, Okay, Got it. Where Can I Search?
Here are some good resources to get you started. However, this list is by no means exhaustive! Please note that the Career Center does not necessarily endorse any of these resources.
- Idealist.org: A broad database good for seeing what is out there; particularly strong in service-based organizations and non-governmental organizations. Searching under “organizations” will likely give you more to work with, because many organizations don’t specifically post internship programs but would be happy to accept one.
- Directory of Development Organizations: Comprehensive guide of development organizations by country. On the home page, use the right hand column to narrow by region, and then click on countries of interest.
- Wango: Lists of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) by region. Click on the map on the main page to start your search.
- Foreign Policy Association: Searchable by country to get a list of organizations; they tend to be more politically oriented.
- Foreign Policy Research Institute: Search for over 1,000 think tanks by country; policy oriented (hence the name).
- Boren Critical Language Scholarship: Part of the U.S. National Security Education Act of 1991, the Boren Critical Language Scholarships offer students up to $20,000 to study abroad in “critical areas,” including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East
- ELIA Abroad: Searches under the internships tab are grouped by work type, so if you have an idea of what type of work you want to do, this would be a good way to start. Also sponsors student-initiated service projects.
- InternAbroad: Search either by country or type of internship; lists nearly 1,000 organizations.
- TransitionsAbroad.com: Lists internships and a list of alternative opportunities of summer work, including farm work, au pair jobs, and student work choices while studying abroad.
- Uniworld: Database for U.S. companies with offices in foreign countries, as well as foreign companies in the U.S.
- IEE Passport: Strong in academic summer programs abroad.
- BUNAC: Offers work permits for Canada, Australia, New Zealand, as well as internship opportunities in Britain.
- LACN: The Liberal Arts Career Network, with postings from 28 liberal arts schools around the country. Sign into the Tunnel and click on LACN on the left hand side.
- Going Global: If you are interested in professional or governmental organizations within specific city, Going Global is a good resource. Go to the Tunnel, click on Going Global on the right hand column, and search under Country Career Guides.
Okay, I Got an Internship, Now What?
Great! Here are some next steps for you:
1) Even before you go, start establishing contacts other than those working in your organization. You’ll want to build a network of people with whom you can socialize with outside your internship and possibly travel companions to join you on weekend adventures. In the unlikely event that something goes wrong, it will help you to have support and a safe place to go, if needed. Here are some recommendations:
- Carleton Alumni Directory: There are alums all over the world, and it is certainly worth reaching out to them!
- State Department: Enroll your travel in the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). By enrolling in STEP, you can receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country, help the U.S. Embassy contact you in an emergency, and help family and friends get in touch with you in an emergency.
- OCS: Review the travel safety resources for off-campus studies programs.
- Couchsurfing: While you will have to do some digging, reaching out to people in your area is never a bad idea. Plus you will be able to ask them questions about an area you will likely want to know more about. Be aware of gender (particularly if you are a solo female traveler) and make sure to read the person’s recommendations and endorsements from other travelers.
- Air BnB: A similar set up to CouchSurfing, the main difference is that AirBnB isn’t free. Again, a good way to begin networking with people
2) Apply for Career Center funding! Go to the application form, and upload your supporting materials (including your resume.) Your application will make you eligible for funding from a number of international funding sources including:
- Will Fund for Social Entrepreneurship Internships
- The Initiative for Service
- The Newman Language Internship