While most professional graduate school career offices provide services to their alumni, this has not been a practice at the undergraduate level. But Bryn Mawr has taken the next step in opening up this door -at least for two 2013 grads: http://news.brynmawr.edu/2013/09/12/bryn-mawr-students-begin-paid-post-graduate-internships-at-care-and-womens-world-banking/. In collaboration with two excellent international organizations – and thanks to a major gift explicitly earmarked for this purpose – each student will receive $30,000 for a paid internship at both CARE and Women’s World Banking. This kind of funding is not common at most institutions and its impact is modest, but, it does point to a broader sense of responsibility for assisting students pursue their careers after they graduate.
There’s little doubt that post-graduate internships hold tremendous value for students as a bridge to the workforce. As career offices broaden their overall role and pay more attention to how they prepare students to graduate with transferable skills, internships have become commonplace on campuses. In fact, there is a movement for beginning to work with students on their career development upon their arrival on campus (see the Chronicle of Higher Education, 9-30-13, “Career Centers Stretch to Fill New Roles.”
My hope is that more centers, in concert with planned and intentional institutional practice- align themselves with the advising process taking place in study abroad offices regarding how education abroad experiences are linked to student career aspirations. Domestic and international internships, work abroad and service learning all have the potential to shape student values, develop transferable skills, and deepen understanding of other cultures –all critical assets when students prepare to enter the workplace.