One of the best ways to get essential international public service experience and enhance your knowledge and skills is through a summer internship. Because the internship experience can vary wildly depending on the particularities of your host organization, we offer the following words of advice for researching and preparing for a summer internship: Before applying for an internship, you should try to ensure that your interests, strengths and goals are a good match for the organization you have in mind. Research organizations through their websites or other print information and contact past interns. In some cases, the organization you are researching may be able to refer you to a non-staff member (such as a former intern) with whom you can speak about the work of the organization and/or living and working in the destination city or country.
Communicate with people at the organizations in which you are most interested and people knowledgeable about those organizations, and get clear answers to your important questions. Is this organization willing and able to provide you with the degree of supervision you seek? Will you be able to work on legal projects? International projects? Will there be other interns? Will you have access to computer, telephone and other resources necessary for doing your work? Make sure that you and your potential sponsoring organization agree on your goals for the summer, and how they will be met.
Ensure, diplomatically, that you are aware of significant events at the organization that might affect your summer internship. For example, it would be important to find out if the project you intend to work on will go forward even if the organization does not receive critical funding.
HLS students are eligible for funding through SPIF, the Chayes Program, and the Human Rights Program. Depending on the work you want to pursue and your background, you may be eligible for grants from foundations, religious groups or community organizations.