Students doing an internship, while generally not paid for their work, can earn between one and four academic credits. Any IECA student seeking credit toward the major for such work experience should consult in advance with the IECA program chair. While some students participate in internationally-focused internships while enrolled at the VU campus, often through the Crusader Connection Program, they do so more often while studying abroad. Availability of internships and the process by which they are arranged varies from one study-abroad center to another and students seeking this kind of work experience as part of their overseas program should consult in advance with the International Studies Office.
IECA students who have recently completed an internship abroad describe their experiences:
Susan Van Dyke, '08
Political Science & IECA majors
As both an IECA and a Political Science major, I have always been thoroughly interested in many different areas of politics and interpersonal relations. This semester, I have been fortunate enough to be able to intern at the campaign headquarters for Indiana Congressman Pete Visclosky. Through the Crusader Connection Program at VU, I have been given the opportunity to intern for the Congressman while receiving a scholarship and academic credit in addition to real-life experience. Twice a week I spend my afternoon at the office assisting the campaign manager with daily tasks and general constituent relations. Most days I spend the majority of my time working on database maintenance and confirming contact and personal information for the Congressman. I am also responsible for answering and directing phone calls in addition to greeting any constituents who come into the office. Although the work I do is not always glamorous or overly-stimulating it is a wonderful experience just to be in the office and witness how a campaign is run and how different members of the staff relate to the process. In addition, the basic office and public relations skills and tips I have picked up will be valuable in any area of work. My internship with Visclosky for Congress will help me to discover what area of political and governmental relations I would like to pursue after graduation.
Blain Keller, '08
Chinese and Japanese Studies & IECA majors
This past summer, I did an internship at the Japan-America Society of Indiana (JASI) in Indianapolis, which manages relations between the state of Indiana and Japan, focusing on relations between Japanese companies throughout the state, and promotes Japanese cultural awareness through a variety of programs and activities. JASI coordinates conferences and banquets designed to create a sense of community among Japanese companies in Indiana. Many important state government officials and business figures attend these events.
I helped out with preparations for JASI’s Annual Fundraising Gala, the biggest event that the society holds yearly. My responsibilities included contacting companies, processing payments, and decorating the Indiana Roof Ballroom. Many prominent Japanese and Americans attended the event (which included Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman and Hachiro Ishida, Deputy Consul General of the Japanese Consulate in Chicago). A government delegation from Tochigi Prefecture (the sister Japanese Prefecture to Indianapolis) visited, and I was in charge of greeting the delegation.
The most valuable experiences that I gained from my internship were working in a business environment and networking. I learned so much about Japan-US business relations by helping out and attending various events. I enjoyed being able to use my knowledge of the Japanese language and culture often and working with people who had the same passion for Japan.
Through my internship, I have been able to gain a better sense of my future career path. This internship definitely augmented my IECA major: I was able to use what I learned in my IECA classes out in the business world. I would encourage anyone who has an interest in an internship to participate in the Crusader Connection scholarship.
Anni Metz, '08
Spanish & IECA majors
I'll be interning this semester at the Valparaiso International Center, a not-for-profit in-the-works that hopes to help meet the needs of new international residents to Valparaiso and also to educate American-born Valparaiso residents about other cultures. The VIC has not yet opened its doors and is definitely still in the planning stages, so this internship is a really exciting opportunity for me! I'll be working on a lot of fund raising efforts, as well as renovating the building to meet the needs of the VIC. I highly doubt that I'll ever have the change again to aid in the formation of a non-profit from the ground up. In addition to meeting and working with tons of wonderful, internationally-minded people in the Valparaiso area, I'll also be able to put my economic and cultural knowledge to use in helping to make budgets, plan programming, and make contacts with people who are interested in serving the international community in Valparaiso.
|Allison Clark, '07
French & IECA majors
Studying abroad gives language students endless opportunities which we’re all aware of. But working in a different country allows you to discover a completely separate aspect of life which is normally left unexplored. And that’s exactly what I got to do! While studying in Paris through Boston University, I got the chance to take classes and do an internship. An internship coordinator helped me find one with Enfants & Développement, formerly Save the Children: France. This non-government organization plans and executes projects to improve education and health services for children in Southeast Asia and francophone Africa. Because I was the only native English speaker working for them, I really got to make a difference. I did research for English-operating companies with appropriate grant programs. I also translated various works from French to English. But my favorite part of my responsibilities was their web page. I proofread translations and formatted the English web site using Dreamweaver.
Beyond the tasks and duties that typically come with a job, working abroad taught me so much more about French culture. I frequently had lunch with my co-workers and enjoyed a relaxed atmosphere which allowed for lots of conversation – and always in French!
Katie Jajtner, '07
Spanish & IECA majors
I spent the 2006 summer in Argentina through a program called CDS International located in New York City. I received information on a similar program located in Spain sponsored by the same company from Professor Ames on email. (I believe they have programs in Germany and France as well.) The experience was amazing, not exactly what I was expecting, but well worth it! I had the opportunity to help at a government run sports agency in the city where I lived, Córdoba. While working I had the opportunity to talk to co-workers on politics, economics and other issues in Argentina and around the world among other tasks. Some days there wasn’t any work to do, but on other days I would enter information on the computer, file hard copies, and even do some translation work from time to time. I lived with various other students at different times throughout my stay in a house located near the city center. Traveling around Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Bolivia really added a lot to my experience. I was able to see the different economic development levels, different and interesting cultures, and of course greatly improve my Spanish skills. As an athlete, I knew coming into college that I probably would not have an opportunity to study abroad, but this was an amazing alternative.