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Steps to an Effective Internship

This page is meant as a general guideline for internships; we recommend that students begin the process as early as possible in the school year.

Stay up-to-date on internship opportunities, awards and events

  • Sign-up on the AIO mailing list to receive regular e-mail updates on internship opportunities, awards and events.  Sign-up by sending an e-mail to listserv [at] lists [dot] mcgill [dot] ca (with a blank subject line) from your McGill email address, the following one line e-mail message: "subscribe aio your name” (example: subscribe aio jane smith)

Attend workshops and information sessions

Attend AIO events and workshops held throughout the year to hear from past interns and AIO staff: http://www.mcgill.ca/arts-internships/calendar/

Define your interests

Take time to reflect on what your interests are and what type of internship would most effectively engage them.

Important considerations:

  • What themes and issues have interested you from class?
  • What skills and knowledge would you like to gain?
  • What skills or experiences do you have already?
  • Are you willing/able to learn a new language?
  • Do you have a country or geographical region in mind?
  • Are you looking for a public, private or non-profit organization?
  • Would you prefer office or field work?
  • How much time do you have to commit to an internship?

Set a realistic timetable

  • Start Early!
  • If you're looking for an internship in the Summer, begin your search in the Fall
  • Set aside time (at least 2 hours) every week to research opportunities, write cover letters, make phone calls, follow-up with organizations, etc.

Prepare your CV and Cover Letter

Finding an Internship

Attend workshops and information sessions. Learn more about your fields of interest.

Look up potential host organizations through the AIO:

Look for potential host organizations outside the AIO:

  • Tap connections with friends and family.
  • Mention your interests to professors and other people who work in fields that interest you. Ask for their suggestions and guidance.
  • Talk to students who have participated on internships in the past.
  • Use the web: It may seem overwhelming at first but careful searches can yield a lot of information. It can be a useful resource, especially when getting started
  • Phone organizations: Don't rely on e-mail alone when approaching organizations. Phone organizations and speak to someone to determine what opportunities exist. Make sure to get the name and contact information of the person responsible for interns. Sending an e-mail to the right person improves your chances of having your request read.

Throughout your search:

  • Be proactive - If you are applying directly to host organizations, follow up on your applications with an e-mail or a phone call.
  • If you do get an internship, make sure to get a letter of confirmation from your host organization saying you will be interning with them and outlining the terms of the internship.

Getting Credit

Students may receive up to 3 credits for their work provided they return to McGill the semester following their internship. Students must register for their department's internship course and write an academic paper under the supervision of a McGill professor. The steps to getting credit are straightforward but require advance planning. They must be completed before the start of the internship:

  • Review the steps to getting internship credit approval and your department's particular requirements at: http://www.mcgill.ca/arts-internships/credit .
  • Early in the year, talk to professors and discuss their availability to supervise your paper
  • Discuss possible research topics with your supervisor and write a proposal for the internship course.
  • Review your department's particular rules regarding eligibility and course requirements
  • Once you have a confirmed internship and a supervisor, complete the Internship Credit Approval Form available at http://www.mcgill.ca/arts-internships/forms (note: This must be done PRIOR departure. Approval is not given retroactively)

Funding and Internship Awards

The following is a partial list of potential sources of funding for students:

  • For returning students, the AIO offers a number of competitive awards: www.mcgill.ca/arts-internships/awards
  • Office Québec Amériques pour la Jeunesse (OQAJ) http://www.lojiq.org
  • Write a project proposal and solicit sponsorship through your Member of Parliament/Congress, local businesses, high school or college, etc.
  • Organize your own fundraising event.