Global Internship Best Practices Highlighted at Faculty Conference

University Internship Program highlights partnership with Global Brigades

DePaul students in the Global Perspectives course taught proper hygiene and sanitation practices to children in Honduras in summer 2014. ​
Robust internship experiences prove to many employers that students are prepared with the skills needed to transition into successful careers. But an international internship takes this experience to the next level, indicating a student’s ability to function in a workplace that is becoming more and more global.

Since 2012, EMM's University Internship Program (UIP) has been providing DePaul students the opportunity for a global internship. At DePaul’s Teaching and Learning Conference held on May 1, Lynne Copp, faculty director for UIP, presented experiential learning as a teaching strategy, along with methods to integrate academic learning with international experiences. 

UIP offers international internships through a partnership with Global Brigades, a student-run global health and sustainable development organization, in a course titled Global Perspectives. Students assist professionals in delivering acute and preventative medical care, public health initiatives and water development systems to underserved populations during a two-week experience in Honduras. Global Perspectives uses the foundation of experiential learning—the process of learning by doing and reflecting—to integrate career development techniques with students’ roles as global citizens. 

A central learning objective for the course is that students internalize, synthesize and articulate how their internship experience will inform their personal, academic and professional pursuits. In Global Perspectives, for example, students develop a portfolio of their experiences in Honduras, which give evidence of their readiness for the diversity and complexity of the world of work. 

UIP has offered Global Perspectives during the winter intersession since 2012. The course has almost doubled in enrollment since then, providing Global Brigades with 44 focused and determined DePaul student interns since its inception.  

Beginning in winter intercession 2015, Global Perspectives will expand to provide an international internship experience to students based in Chicago. Another student-led nonprofit group, Pangea Educational Development, will connect Chicago-based students with internships at companies conducting development work abroad. With this expanded Global Perspectives course, UIP will allow students both in Chicago and abroad to interact virtually, sharing speakers, assignments and experiences. 

UIP is a unique academic partnership blending career development with academic coursework through four-credit experiential learning courses which fulfill the Experiential Learning requirement of the Liberal Studies program. UIP also offers two-credit courses targeted toward students exploring career options. In these courses, students are given a self-assessment that reveals their values, interests, strengths and skills—information they can use to aid in selecting a major that resonates with them, and exposing them to an array of career paths. 

In the 2013-14 academic year, 878 students participated in four-credit UIP courses and corresponding internships; 162 students completed UIP’s two-credit career development courses. 

Internships have become the new entry-level pathway for most organizations. In addition to providing employers with interns, UIP also helps employers build successful internship programs inside their organizations. By fostering relationships locally and nationally, UIP has developed strong employment pipelines that benefit students and employers alike.

To learn more about UIP, including the standards required for an academic internship, visit careercenter.depaul.edu/jobs/internships.aspx​.