For students seeking internships coordinated through Yale College, the Office of Career Strategy expanded opportunities for the upcoming summer.
Split between domestic and international internships, summer opportunities through OCS have expanded in the past year. With the debut of summer internships in Accra, Ghana, four new positions in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and an expanded program in Sitka, Alaska, for example, alumni networks both across the country and worldwide have been instrumental in establishing career opportunities. Students interviewed said finding their internships through OCS made securing summer plans both more efficient and reliable.
According to OCS Director Jeanine Dames, 426 coordinated internships — those in which OCS is in direct communication with an employer or alumnus providing the position — were offered to Yale College students in the summer of 2014. Though the overall number of internships offered this year will remain roughly the same as in the past, Dames said, certain cities saw significant growth in the concentration of programs — substituting some other programs that were offered previously.
“We’ve done a lot of work to expand over time,” OCS Associate Director Brian Frenette said. “We want students to have certain opportunities and we can provide the resources.”
Julia Bourque, assistant director of the International Internships Program, said the Yale alumni club presidents in Accra and Buenos Aires were essential in bringing summer opportunities to Yale College students. This year, the total number of positions offered in Buenos Aires jumped from 15 to 19. Internships in 23 other countries from Singapore to Denmark to Mexico were available this summer as well, according to the OCS website.
Richard Low MED ’76, president of the Yale Club of Argentina, said internships available in Buenos Aires span a wide range of student interests. This year’s internships are at law firms, local nonprofits and software companies, as well as the film production company which released this year’s Oscar nominee for best foreign language film.
“Students do not come to Argentina simply to work but to … immerse themselves in our local culture,” Low said. “The student learns how others handle the same issues so differently and why the local psychology may be worse or better than the U.S. It is a personally enriching experience.”
Tim Follo ’16, who will be interning in Buenos Aires this summer, said having his housing coordinated through OCS was the most beneficial part of the process. Follo added that OCS international internships are especially attractive because students can use International Summer Award funding.
Ben McCoubrey ’17, who will be interning at Low’s software company, added that having OCS coordinate his internship meant the position had been “vetted” by students from summers past.
Domestically, OCS coordinated internships in 20 cities this year, with the most significant growth in Sitka, Alaska. Either through the expanded Sitka Winter Fellows Program — a yearlong fellowship for recent college graduates — or summer internships, former participants interviewed said Sitka afforded a summer off the beaten path.
Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins ’12, a native Sitkan who helped launch the program between his sophomore and junior years, said over 175 Yale students have come to Sitka through OCS in the past five years. Kreiss-Tomkins currently serves in the Alaska House of Representatives.
“I was talking with OCS and we were chuckling that Sitka probably hosts more Yalies in a summer than American cities such as Denver,” Kreiss-Tomkins said. “It changes the lives of many who come.”
Onagh MacKenzie ’15, who held internships in Sitka during the summers of 2013 and 2014, said it was unlikely that she would have found out about opportunities in Sitka had it not been for the Sitka-Yale relationship. Camping trips, mountain climbs and playing bananagrams with her host parents helped her completely immerse herself in small-town life, she said.
Summer internships coordinated through OCS must be at least eight weeks in length.