An internship is a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. It’s education, it’s work, and it’s exciting!
An internship is NOT going to determine your entire future – it’s a great way to try out a career and see if it’s a good fit. If you like it, you can gain great experience and meet people who live in the world you want to live in (aka networking). And if you don’t like it, no worries: now you know! Either way, you can build valuable professional skills and - in many cases - make money.
An internship can be a great way to apply your language skills outside of the classroom and extend them to a new situation, as well as demonstrate your proficiency. It’s not always clear to an employer what an undergraduate major or set of courses actually means. Doing a an internship in which you use your language gives you experience that allows you to very clearly talk about the actual skills you used and how your language abilities and cross-cultural communication skills helped the company you worked for – and how it would help a future employer!
An internship with a language or international component can be many things:
- Based in another country, where a language other than English is required for your work
- Based in another country, where you use English at work and another language outside of work
- Based in the US, where a language other than English is required or preferred for your work
The best place to get started is the International Internship Program, a UW-Madison office dedicated to creating internship opportunities all over the world just for Badger undergraduates. You can also use campus resources like BuckyNet and work with your Career Services Office in your School or College to find an internship, or you can search on your own.