Internships

Internships are not only relevant, but one of the most effective job-finding tactics. Internships are a great way to add "real world" work experience to your undergraduate education. Internships at Hope are for-credit, supervised work experiences related to a student's major or vocational interest. Hope College offers semester, yearlong, and May/June term off-campus opportunities. Hope students may choose from 1,800 internship opportunities annually. More than 800 internships are offered within Hope's off-campus domestic study programs.

Some examples of internships include; assistant on The David Letterman Show, assistant with the San Francisco 49ers, and working at the American Bar Association in Washington, D.C. Intentional learning takes place in the form of a self-directed learning contract through the student's enrollment in an academic internship course at Hope or an approved off-campus academic program. Many departments at Hope have developed extensive internship placement options for their students. The Department of Social Work, for example, has 35 placements in local human service agencies, including schools, hospitals and non profit organizations.

Recently, Dr. Joel Toppen, assistant professor of political science, helped develop a joint internship/research assistantship program with World Vision. Centered in Johannesburg, South Africa, the program gives Hope students an opportunity to learn about, research, and address global poverty issues in an immediate, experiential way. "Issues of global poverty are the most pressing human issue of our time," he says. "We have a responsibility to address these issues in a serious and humane way." 
Other placement options target goals for professional or graduate school. Hope College offers a variety of off-campus opportunities for exploring legal careers through practical experience. The political science department's banner program is the Washington D.C. Honors Semester, a hugely successful internship program that allows students to spend a semester in D.C. working with law related offices. Past internships have been with the U.S. Attorney, the D.C. Public Defender, the American Bar Association, the D.C. Attorney General, numerous public interest law firms or legal defense funds, and a variety of other law-related enterprises. Local internship opportunities also are available as well as a network of Hope alumni now practicing law who are open to mentoring and shadowing experiences.
"You can do some effective research here. But in order to understand issues of global poverty and development, you have to meet people. You have to be in the field." Dr. Joel Toppen, Assistant Professor of Political Science
Internships show you myriad ways to work in your field of interest, using your distinct talents and abilities. Possibilities for an English internship, for example, could include:
  • Working with storytelling at a senior center and applying ideas about narrative theory.
  • Working as a newspaper reporter.
  • Working at a publishing company.
  • Writing grants for non-profit organization
  • Developing projects at a museum.
  • Working at a church on the integration of literary arts into congregational life.
  • Working with a tutoring program on what "English" means for students whose families may not be native speakers.
  • Working with an organizational communications consultant.
  • Working on a joint research project with a faculty member.
Make sure your experience at Hope includes one or more internships as you explore your interests and abilities. 

*(Gardner, Chao,& Hurst , 2008).