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Internships are extremely popular -- 9 of 10 college students complete at least one in their careers. However, the process of finding, applying, selecting and participating an internship might be difficult to understand the first time around.
Internships are basically an opportunity to go somewhere and work, generally without compensation (although you can sometimes receive sponsorship from the OCC and CES). In its ideal, the monetary gain passed up by doing an internship is offset by other benefits, principally the professional connections you build and the opportunity to try out a career for a limited amount of time without any commitment.
Most internships aim to recruit college students, and thus take place over the summer.
Apply early, apply often - all you need is one place to say 'yes' and you're good. There are tons of opportunities to apply to, but sometimes the best internships are the ones you make for yourself. Don't be afraid to ask - everyone loves unpaid help (as long as you don't abuse the privilege like this Amherst student).
If you can't afford to work without pay for a summer, don't let that stop you from seeking an internship at a nonprofit or in entertainment. You can apply for one of the OCC alumni internship grants (check out Fellowships and other cool opportunities).
Just about every paper offers an internship - just plug in the title and the word 'internship' into Google to find the page. However, the more prestigious or big the paper, the more selective the internship. Also, it's good to inquire to make sure you know exactly what you're getting into (so, for example, if you're interested in sports you won't be covering fashion).
One of the big, powerhouse think tanks for foreign policy. Covers every corner of the globe.
A medium-sized think tank that deals with Latin American relations through specific issues such as human rights and trade.
A tiny think tank in Washington run that does Latin American policy (see the main page for a good sampling). A great opportunity to jump in and get involved with the day-to-day world of policy analysis.
- Pros: The entire staff is exactly one person, so the interns run the place, writing all the articles, attending all of the conferences, editing and publishing a magazine. It's pretty easy to get an internship - Alan Cordova got one having only taken Intro to IR.
- Cons: That one person is quite a personality, and if you don't like his politics (somewhere in between Chavez and Castro), it is sometimes difficult to get things distributed (he approves all articles). Also, COHA is not exactly the go-to place for Washington power brokers, though if you were at those places, your work would be much less interesting.
- Williams cohistas: Alan Cordova
Yes, quite a few people are looking to make money off hapless college students. Investigate before committing to anything. Here is one to look out for:
Nice title, flashy web site, good marketing pitch, sounds like a winner, right? Wrong. For $6000 - $9000) you get a "guaranteed internship." in NYC, Chicago, LA, or London. You know a program is bad when they don't list the cost anywhere on their web site.
Can be heaven or hell, depending on your ability to handle politics 24x7. While it can be intimidating (and the humidity oppressive), you can't beat playing frisbee on the National Mall or being able to stroll past the White House on your way to work.