International Educator - November/December 2012 - 44

FORUM

By Peter A. Coclanis, Robert Miles, and Niklaus Steiner

A

International Internships: Establishing Better Rules for the Game

CCORDING TO LAUREN BERGER, “a college resume without internship experience is considered ‘naked.’” Although Berger, CEO of Intern Queen, Inc., has a vested interest in making sure that such résumés are properly attired, she has a point. Over the past 20-odd years, members of Generation Y have increasingly come to believe that internships are de rigueur, and have acted accordingly. Whereas only about 17 percent of U.S. college grads in 1992 had held internships, that percentage was up to 50 percent in 2008. Statistical data regarding college internships are notoriously difficult to compile, so the above figures should be seen as illustrative rather than definitive. That said, both proponents of internships, such as Berger, and fierce critics of the institution, such as author Ross Perlin, agree on the general trend and estimate that about 70–75 percent of U.S. college students today will have internship experience by the time they graduate. Thus, Berger’s campaign to stamp out résumé indecency appears to be succeeding in spades! Growth—Both Absolute and Relative
In an age of globalization, it is not surprising that international internships have grown both in absolute and relative terms. According to Perlin, the number of U.S. college students who participated in creditbearing international internships doubled between 2000 and 2008 (totaling 13,658 in the latter year), with thousands more pursuing the non-credit route. Moreover, as the world flattens and borders become more permeable, students from other upper- and middleincome countries around the world have increasingly taken the internship bit. As a result, we are seeing greater and greater circulation of students from North America, Europe, and Asia into and out of transnational internships. Indeed, at times it seems as though every internationally minded Gen Y college student in the developed world has donned his/her résumé smartly in study abroad and international internship experience, often accessorized by engagement with, if not establishment of, an international NGO. So why the feeding frenzy regarding internships? For today’s eager and ambitious college students, there seem to be lots of reasons. Some, of course, are related to actual skill-building and the acquisition of valuable “hands-on” experience along the lines of venerable apprenticeship programs and cooperative education schemes. We suspect, however, that most of the reasons are narrower in scope, relating to the acquisition of what Pierre Bourdieu famously referred to as social and cultural capital, that is to say, contacts, networks, and status-raising knowledge and skills that, once acquired, can be deployed for careerist purposes. How? First and foremost, through “signaling” to potential employers “hidden” traits or attributes via a well-clad collegiate résumé. Even the most ardent supporters of internship programs—people such as Berger and Heather Huhman—unwittingly suggest as much, pushing internships mainly for their networking, résumé-building, and reference-creating possibilities. In their view, at the end of the day there is really no such thing as a “bad” internship experience, provided stocks of social and cultural capital are being accumulated.

INTERNATIONAL EDUCATOR N O V + D E C .1 2

Dissenting Voices
Others disagree, no one more so than the aforementioned Ross Perlin, whose scathing 2011 book, Intern Nation: How to Earn Nothing and Learn Little in the Brave New Economy, will give pause to intern queens and commoners alike. Perlin’s critique of internships is both broad and deep, with the author challenging this

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of International Educator - November/December 2012

International Educator - November/December 2012
Table of Contents
From the Editors
In Brief
Voices
Transforming Lives
Local Connections
Juniata College Faculty Discovered the World and Students Followed
Partnering
Forum
In Focus
Health and Insurance Supplement
International Educator - November/December 2012 - International Educator - November/December 2012
International Educator - November/December 2012 - Cover2
International Educator - November/December 2012 - Table of Contents
International Educator - November/December 2012 - From the Editors
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 3
International Educator - November/December 2012 - In Brief
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 5
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 6
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 7
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 8
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 9
International Educator - November/December 2012 - Voices
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 11
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 12
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 13
International Educator - November/December 2012 - Transforming Lives
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 15
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 16
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 17
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 18
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 19
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 20
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 21
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 22
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 23
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 24
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 25
International Educator - November/December 2012 - Local Connections
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 27
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 28
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 29
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 30
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 31
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 32
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 33
International Educator - November/December 2012 - Juniata College Faculty Discovered the World and Students Followed
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 35
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 36
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 37
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 38
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 39
International Educator - November/December 2012 - Partnering
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 41
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 42
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 43
International Educator - November/December 2012 - Forum
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 45
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 46
International Educator - November/December 2012 - 47
International Educator - November/December 2012 - In Focus
International Educator - November/December 2012 - Cover3
International Educator - November/December 2012 - Cover4
International Educator - November/December 2012 - Health and Insurance Supplement
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-Cover2
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-1
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-2
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-3
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-4
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-5
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-6
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-7
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-8
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-9
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-10
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-11
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-12
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-13
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-14
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-15
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-16
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-17
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-18
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-19
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-20
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-Cover3
International Educator - November/December 2012 - S-Cover4
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