Tips and tricks for joining UC Berkeley’s Global Internships program

Vivian Roan/File

Though it may seem like an impossible task to find an opportunity to take part of an internship for academic credit and be able to travel and study abroad, the Berkeley Global Internships program allows you to do just that. It offers the unique experience of studying in a city in the United States or in a foreign country as well as the chance to gain valuable work experience.

Last summer, I was able to take part in the program offered in Dublin, Ireland, and it changed my whole Berkeley experience.

Here are the steps I took (and the steps you can take, too) in order to join the Global Internships program this summer!

Go to the Study Abroad office and talk to an adviser 

Trying to decide between all the different study abroad programs is the first hurdle! Speaking to someone in person really helped me narrow down my choice — I decided to do the internship program over some of the other study abroad programs offered over the summer.

Get financial aid advising

If you’re anything like me (young, dumb and broke) then this was a major pit stop that could’ve become a pitfall if I wasn’t careful. Luckily for me, the financial aid adviser was able to show me exactly the sort of aid I could expect to get during my time abroad based on the cost of the program combined with my financial aid profile on CalCentral. She was also able to point me in the direction of scholarships I could apply for — this step can make a world of difference. 

Apply online by March 2

The program locations are on a first-come, first-served basis. There’s an application fee, and you’re restricted to applying to one program. This was especially difficult for me, personally, because I have such a difficult time making decisions! Choosing between the Dublin and London locations was hard, but I’m ultimately glad I made the choice that I did. I was also relieved to know that if a program was overbooked, I would have been allowed to switch over to another program, which helped alleviate some of the stress for me. 

Decide what field you want to work in

Once you’re accepted, you’ll be able to become even more specific about exactly what it is you hope to get out of the internship experience. Are you hoping to work as a part of a larger industry? Would a smaller nongovernmental organization be more suited to your taste? These are the sorts of questions you’ll be asked, along with your own personal work history and experience (don’t worry if you don’t have too much experience in your area of interest — that’s what this is all about!), and the next step will be meeting with a representative from the city that you have chosen.

Wait and see

Once you’ve figured out what you want and have spoken to the representative and done some fine-tuning, the process of finding the internship will be entirely up to the agency. You won’t have to find your own internship, and in most cases (aside from the program in San Francisco), you won’t have to find your own housing accommodations either. The hardest part is the waiting process, but they have your best interests in mind and will find the best possible internship for you!

Though the process of applying to programs requires some time and paperwork, the experience of earning academic credit, getting work experience and traveling will surely make all the work worth it!

Contact Lauren West at [email protected].