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Washington Semester's Internship Philosophy

Added to the core curriculum in the late 1960's, the internship experience has become an integral element of the Washington Semester Program. While they vary in form and content, all internships can:

• provide needed on-the-job experience
• allow you to test career interests
• integrate classroom learning into real world situations
• enhance personal development and the development of interpersonal work skills
• provide practical knowledge of and exposure to the real world

Above all, the internship presents you with an exciting challenge−and requires a great deal of adjustment. A typical internship will expose you to the commuting scene, require you to adjust to varied office routines and co-workers, allow you to learn by being involved in the political process or private work force, and provide you with the opportunity to make contacts that may prove useful when you are pursuing future career goals. Remember, however, that your internship is what you make it−it can be as rewarding as you allow it to be. Although it may prove trying at times, an internship is an exceptional method of learning by doing and can be one of the most valuable components of the semester.

About the Internship

The internship in the Washington Semester Program is an academic endeavor as well, representing one-fourth of the semester curriculum. The course that accompanies the actual work experience helps you place your internship in the larger context and relate your experiences to those of your peers. Several class sessions plus a series of written assignments and projects constitute the course requirements.

Completion of these requirements, along with a formal evaluation submitted by your office supervisor, are the elements factored into your final grade for the internship component. A formal syllabus outlining specific requirements is included in the packet of materials you will receive once you're in Washington.

In the Washington Semester Program, each student is required to intern two full days a week. Specific days vary, depending upon your program and unit assignment. Interns do not normally receive monetary compensation for their work−you are trading your services for access to organization and for the on-the-job training the organization will provide.

Internship Bazaar

The WSP holds an Internship Bazaar at the start of each semester. The Bazaar is held in the Bender Arena on the main campus at American University, which provides space for each organization to meet with the students in an informal setting. During the bazaar, internship sponsors distribute information and answer questions about their organization. Some even pre-screen and/or interview prospective interns. We strongly encourage all students to attend this bazaar.

Start Your Internship Search Here

Our 50-year reputation of superior programming has earned us a bit of clout in the D.C. internship arena. In fact, our one-of-a-kind, fully searchable online internship database boasts over 2,000 different internships at thousands of sites-all in the D.C. metro area.