23 August 2008

Planning for the Exotic Internship

Exotic internships—like archaeological digs—are certainly possible for college students. As a movie this summer demonstrated, archaeology does have requirements, though! In the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, the character Bridget went to Turkey for her internship. She planned far in advance, which is typical for an internship involving international travel. Her experience was well documented as demanding patience, attention, and a humble attitude. The other internship in this movie was the character Carmen's lucky, last-minute acceptance at a theatre festival in Vermont. Last minute? Lucky? The movie accurately portrayed this college student as not applying in a timely manner. She relied on an insider to get her into the program. That's a feature of dramatic license—real college students rarely enjoy that level of coincidence and luck!

The movie's treatment of internships was entertaining and at least hinted at the pragmatic steps you must take to land an exotic assignment.

  • 1 - Start early. For an international internship, a year's advance planning may be needed.
  • 2 - Educate yourself on requirements. Not just application requirements, although those are important, too. But also ask yourself the hard questions about how you will fit in. Do you have the patience for the very slow work of archaeology? Are you prepared to be at the lowest rank and therefore assigned the most boring tasks? Not all digs are large in scope; are you prepared for the small job, possibly the one that doesn't even involve digging?
  • 3 - Understand the sacrifices that will be involved. International or remote locations may mean living without cell phones, or even electricity! What creature comforts can you give up for several months?
Even if it's not a dig you are seeking, use the style of questions here to examine your suitability to the internship you dream of. Research the details so that your expectations will be realistic ones.

The content on this blog is not offered as legal advice or guidance. Consult your college, advisor, or internship supervisor for help with issues surrounding internships. © 2008 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. Dr. Bold is a co-author of the book Reflections: Preparing for your Practicum or Internship, geared to college interns in the child, education, and family fields. More about Dr. Bold can be learned at www.marybold.com

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