Monday, March 7, 2011

International internships: what makes a good one?

In a recent article for The Chronicle of Higher Education, Charles Gliozzo and Cindy Chalou, both affiliated with the Office of Study Abroad at Michigan State University, discuss the growing trend of international internships and the importance of a global education for American undergraduates. They note that the number of students who intern abroad has increased 133 percent in the six academic years between 2003 and 2009.

According to Gliozzo and Chalou, the key resources necessary to facilitate successful international internships include relationships with local businesses, a clear program structure that integrates the student’s professional and academic experiences abroad, a method for ensuring the academic credibility of the student’s foreign university, and adequate resources to support the program, financial and otherwise.

Columbia’s own Center for Career Education (CCE) offers a comprehensive summer foreign work experience program called Columbia Experience Overseas (CEO). Participants in this program are afforded all the benefits of a traditional internship, combined with the unique opportunities offered by a study abroad program. You can learn more about CEO here.

What do you think makes a good international work experience? What can be gained from working abroad that can’t be found in the U.S.? Have you had an internship abroad? Leave a comment and tell us!

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