I was almost a professional intern for a few years after college. I did several internships and then had a job of leading summer intern teams for four years. Internships are a wonderful way to learn and grow. It’s a great way to learn about yourself, your strengths and weaknesses. It’s a great way to learn about the world and about working on a team. Also it’s a great way to figure out what you want or don’t want to do in the future! And sometimes it’s a step towards finding the organization you could work with in the future.
I think it’s important to pick the right internship! Here’s some thoughts on how to pick:
- Consider your future goals
- You want to do an internship that will give you opportunities that lead you towards your future goals. For example if you want to work with kids then make sure you apply for internships where you will get to work with kids…or micro finance or whatever it is that you are interested in.
- If you want to work with a specific group of people (i.e. Muslims or Buddhists or in a city or a village setting…) then look for opportunities to get experience with those people.
- Get good training
- Some internship programs do a great job at preparing and training interns before and during their experience overseas. I think it’s important to have personal, professional and spiritual development as part of your internship experience.
- Look into several organizations
- Before you choose specific internship programs to apply for I think it’s good to look into several different kinds. Organizations have personalities per say…and it’s good to find a good fit for your personality. Do research to find one that lines up with your own priorities and beliefs etc. Also some programs have only summer internships others have semester long etc. Consider what works best for your situation.
- Talk to lots of people
- Proverbs 15:22 says: Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.
- Talk to others that have done internships, talk to your mentors, parents, and teachers, pastors …whomever you can to help you discern the best internship for you.
- Set goals for your experience
- Before you start your internship decide what you want to learn etc. and write it down. Reflect on it throughout your internship and especially at the end. This will help you to get the most of your experience and process it so you can use all that you learn!
To get you started in your search…here are some links to organizations that offer internship programs:
www.musana.org (will be taking applications soon for summer 2013)