International Educator - November/December 2012 - 45

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.
“contingent” labor market institution on economic, legal, and moral grounds. According to Perlin, most internships offer little in the way of training or mentorship, much less educational benefits meriting academic credit under the dubious guises of “experiential education” or “situated learning.” To Perlin, the fact that universities often collect sizable tuition fees for the granting of such credit only exacerbates the problem. Moreover, most internships are unpaid, which at once renders them out of the reach of many students of modest means and weakens the bargaining position of many regular workers, whose jobs interns threaten and often take. Many internships, furthermore, are downright illegal in the author’s view, either because they flout provisions in the Fair Labor Standards Act or, in the case of international internships, because they violate the spirit and in some cases the letter of national visa policies. The common use of J1 visas in the U.S. to bring in international students for “internships” in casual or unskilled jobs is a case in point. Perlin’s critique of internships echoes a wider debate about the use of unpaid labor in contemporary capitalist societies in the context of a policy of rolling back the financial commitments of the welfare state. To take but one example, successive governments in the United Kingdom over the past 10 years have sought to make “work experience” a precondition of receiving unemployment benefits. Private companies contract with the government to provide mandatory “work experience,” an arrangement justified by the British Prime Minister in February 2012 in Parliament when he stated: “I think we should encourage companies and encourage young people to expand work experience because it gives people a chance of seeing work and all that involves and gives them a better chance to get a job.” If Berger had been sitting in the visitor’s gallery, she would surely have applauded. Yet, his statement was made in the context of a political row that followed the discovery that one of the private companies providing such ‘work experience’ was requiring people to work unpaid in its own offices. The company in question had also been sending “job seekers” to two supermarket chains and other large private companies to work without pay (The Guardian, February 22, 2012). There is a very slippery slope from an ”internship” to state-facilitated unpaid labor for private capital.

Developing Defensible Internship Programs
As one can see, then, internships are as complicated as they are controversial, and developing a consistent, coherent, and defensible stance on them is an important task for colleges and university administrators today. This is especially true for international internships, both because so-called destination internships are increasing in popularity and because oversight and interventions become more difficult once national boundaries are transcended. What might be culturally and legally normal in one country can be disputed and illegal in another. What, then, to do? That is a good question, one with which a number of principals in UNC-Chapel Hill’s international offices have been wrestling for some time now. We certainly don’t have all the answers, but we have

developed what we think are some useful questions to ponder, as well as some sensible practices and protocols to think about. To start with, it is important, we believe, for colleges and universities to develop and publicize an official school policy or, more likely, policies toward international internships. Why the use of the plural policies? Because higher education is a complex “space,” and different programs at colleges and universities have different curricular needs. At our university, some certificate programs—the graduate certificate in global public health, for example—“strongly recommend” international internships, while other units encourage them without providing much support, and still others barely tolerate them, if they know about them at all. A one-size-fits-all approach regarding international internships is unlikely to work: The curricular needs of the business school, language departments, and international studies programs, as well as mathematics, physical education, and law and just too distinct. Policies, then, rather than a policy. Once developed, such policies should be rendered highly visible in order to demonstrate to various intramural and extramural constituencies that administrators are knowledgeable about the range of issues relating to international internships, and that the operative policies at their institution reflect such knowledge. Why risk the inadvertent violation of another country’s visa and immigration policies, for example, or the granting of academic credit for an internship wherein a student merely filed papers or answered phones, even if such acts were done in Japan, Germany, or Mexico? And why be forced into obfuscation when the local newspaper inquires about rumors that your school’s interns were displacing regular, paid workers during a summer sojourn at an international NGO? Better to be safe than sorry. In other words, when it comes to international internships, due diligence pays off. And diligence often comes about—and is signaled by—the establishment of an office (or at least the designation of an officer or officers) charged with internship oversight. But let us stress again:

N O V + D E C . 12 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATOR

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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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