International internships offer students the best of both worlds

Denver, Colo., senior Jenny Wang spent a semester in London, taking advantage of Baylor's center for global engagement. She worked at Saint Luke's Community Centre so she could not only have a study abroad experience but also add value to her resume. Photo courtesy of Jenny Wang.

By Savannah Cooper | Reporter

Many students think that studying abroad for a semester means sacrificing opportunities for professional development as well as missing annual social events that enrich their college experience. However, the internships offered through the Center for Global Engagement lets students do both.

Working an internship while studying abroad for an entire semester is an option for students. It gives students experience to add to their resume, but also lets them create memories for a lifetime.

Every fall and spring semester, students pack up and say goodbye to Pat Neff as they embark a journey to one of these seven different locations: Berlin; Budapest, Hungary; London; Prague, Czech Republic; Santiago, Chile; Shanghai; or Sydney.

Regardless of the destination, all students who participate in the program will earn four courses worth of credit — one internship and three academic — an internship that aligns with their expressed interest, as well as an immersive living arrangement with fellow Baylor or international students.

Study abroad program advisor Andrea Reifeis joined the Center for Global Engagement (CGE) team this past summer and has become a strong advocate for international internships because of the value behind such an experience.

“It’s immediately something you put on a resume, and it holds so much merit because it shows that you know how to work with people from different backgrounds and different cultures,” Reifeis said. “You’re already thrown into a new country that you’re not use to, let alone thrown into a working environment, an employer and coworkers. All of that when you’re sitting down in front of a employer once you graduate, you’ll be able to present.”

To apply, students first need to go to the BearsAbroad portal then select which program is most appealing. In order to apply for the spring semester, the due date is March 15, while the fall semester deadline is October 15.

After the application is submitted, the CGE office will nominate students they think will be a successful candidate in the program. From there, a trifecta of communication begins between the student, the CGE office and the host institution.

Once introductions have been made, deadlines become crucial to ensure a smooth process. From securing a Visa and submitting your personal statement, cover letter and resume to applying for scholarships and receiving updates from host facility immigration compliance officers. Students need to constantly check emails and be responsive.

The CGE office hosts mandatory pre-departure meetings. These meetings talk about small things like what to pack and handling of insurance cards, as well as bigger concerns like what to do if there’s a terrorist attack or if an item gets stolen. Apps like World Q as well as a direct phone number to reach a CGE faculty member 24/7 is provided along with other information to ensure student safety.

Denver, Colo., senior Jenny Wang spent a semester in London through the FYE program working at Saint Luke’s Community Centre. Wang said that there wasn’t a tad bit of regret for leaving Baylor for a semester.

“You’re going to have so much fun while you’re abroad,” Wang said. “I think you would regret more if you really want to go abroad, you’d regret not going than staying for senior football season. You’ll still have other semesters for those as well. You might miss out on that, but you’re going to have this whole semester that has other amazing opportunities that you wouldn’t get at Baylor.”

Outside of working, by living in Europe for several months, students are in great proximity to amazing countries and prominent cities. Wang loves to travel and only had class three days a week allowing her to take full advantage of her spare time.

“I love traveling,” Wang said. “I went to 20 different cities and eight different countries when I was there. It was a really good mix of traveling across Europe and within the U.K. itself. Once you’re in Europe, it’s so easy to get to other places in Europe.”

For more information, visit the BearsAbroad website.