First Steps in Preparing for an Internship

1. Establish Contacts

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 personal safety resources for off-campus studies programs.
  • Couchsurfing International: 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.
  • Airbnb: 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 Funding

Learn more about and apply for Career Center internship funding for summer, non-summer, and paired internships. Your application will make you eligible for funding from a number of international funding sources.

3. Join the Summer Internships and Career Readiness Program

Any Carleton student who has secured a summer internship may participate in the Summer Internship and Career Readiness Program. To learn more about joining this career preparation program, please contact Rachel Leatham.


Internships for Academic Credit (IDSC 280)

Sometimes, organizations offer internships only to students who are eligible to receive course credit for their internship participation. If you have secured an internship that requires you to earn Carleton credit, you have options. Carleton offers a one-credit Interdisciplinary Studies course, Learning from Internships (IDSC 280). The course entails setting learning goals before your internship, participating in reflection activities during your internship, and writing a short research paper after your internship that integrates your experience with academic literature.

If you would like to earn academic credit for your internship, begin by filling out the intent to register form. Note that you may also be able to work with a faculty member to complete a three- to six-credit independent study related to your internship for academic credit. This option is only available at the discretion of the faculty in your department. This is also the best option for international students who need to receive major-related credit for their internship experiences. International students interested in internships must meet with Liz Cody in ISL to discuss work permissions.