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Monday, November 19, 2012

Getting Involved Part I

As your first semester here at American University is coming to an end, it may seem like an odd time to talk about getting involved, but really it is an ideal time! Seeing as you've gotten more settled into your classes and being away from home and on your own, it is a good time to start thinking about future semesters and how to make the most of them. This blog will discuss the best ways to going about securing an internship and studying abroad, when and if  the time is right for you.

Internships by Triana Tello Gerez

AU is ranked in the top schools for internships, which tells you a lot about this school, its location and its students. Throughout your years at AU you will learn how there is a big focus on the “learning by doing” idea, which is exactly what internships provide. It is for that reason, as well as our awesome location close to many very interesting places to intern, that many students here take their education beyond the classroom. However, sometimes we feel pressured into doing internships; there is a feel that internships are what we are here for, and that we need to have many on our resume. But that is not the case. Internships are great for many reasons, but peer pressure and resume building are not one of those.
        With internships (as the New Radicals say)  you will only get as much as you give (unless you are lucky enough to get one of those rare ones that pay, in which case, you will also get money).  Doing internships just for the sake of doing them, will only take your time and energy, and in college, those are precious (don’t waste them!). One of the most important things to remember about internships is that you have to be enthusiastic about them and be ready to give them your best. Internships can be great for networking, learning, figuring out what you like and dislike in terms of future careers, acquiring different skills, meeting people and figuring out how what you learn in class applies to the real world, but in order to get this, you have to be committed to them.
        So, with that in mind, here are a few pointers:
-When to intern: it is best to start once you have settled in to college and have some knowledge to apply to your internship. This is different for everyone, but first or second semester sophomore year would be good.
-How to look for internships: The career fair and the career center web page are good resources. However, don’t be afraid to branch out: ask your professors, check out idealist; talk to upper-classmen about their experiences, etc.
-How to make the best out of it: Be enthusiastic; get to know your supervisor and other people and interns in the office. Even if you realize you don’t love it, be a good worker, meet deadlines and if you have time, ask for new projects! Don’t be bored, and keep it interesting.
-Commuting: check out the buses, they can be faster than the metro (in some cases) and they are cheaper!
-Applying for them: Tailor your resume at the Carreer Center (they are great!); send in your best papers and reach out to AU professors for your recommendations (high school recommendations are good, but it is a good idea to start forming mentor relations here at AU)
-Learn a lot and enjoy! 

Study Abroad by Sofie Friedman
There are more than 850 students annually who study abroad from American University. AU Abroad  is the best resource to look up the best areas of study for your major, learning more about the application process, and finding out who your AU Abroad advisor will be for your corresponding program or country of study.

Studying abroad is available on a semester, year or even summer program basis but all specific questions, just like major specific questions should be targeted to your AU Abroad advisor. Studying abroad is an amazing experience that can enrich your college experience immensely. As someone who studied abroad at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland last spring semester, I can't recommend it enough. While it can be scary being on your own in a new country, it's an experience that many students recommend taking advantage of during your time here at AU. Often many employers view your experience abroad as an advantage when being hired and consider it something that makes a person more well rounded.

Most students choose to study abroad during their Junior year for one semester, although this varies based on finances, how much of one's general education and major requirements have been fulfilled, and when the program is offered.

In order to study abroad, you must have already completed 8 out of the 10 general education courses that you must complete during your time here at AU. Keep in mind, these general education classes can only be completed at AU and can therefore not be classes you choose to take while abroad. Also, depending on your major, there may be some courses that you can only take here on campus. However, it is generally the case that many major elective courses can easily be fulfilled at your abroad university.

When choosing a place to study abroad, try to think about whether you want to immerse yourself in a new language, if you want to go to a school known for its focus in your specific area of interest, or if you want to go for more of a cultural experience. 

As always if you have specific questions about studying abroad ask your CAS Peer Advisor or contact AU Abroad directly!


Happy Thanksgiving to all celebrating!!

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