The academic component is designed to help students analyze, evaluate, and process their on-site experience. Within the context of an academic seminar or tutorial, students receive the necessary classroom-based theories, concepts, and reflective engagement with the practical component also required for academic credit. Through a series of assigned readings, guest speakers, and relevant lectures and discussion, the academic seminar or tutorial helps students synthesize the practical and theoretical components of the internship experience. The syllabi for IES Abroad internship seminars are reviewed and approved by the IES Abroad Curriculum Committee.
The academic components of the internship program vary from Center to Center; however, all Centers and all courses include the following elements on which the students will be graded:
- A list of specific work deliverables that are agreed upon by the student and the workplace supervisor, including a tentative timetable whenever possible
- Required readings and participation in classroom discussions
- Periodic group meetings in a classroom or excursion setting to discuss the internships in their cultural, legal, political, and economic context
- Weekly activity reports written by students and submitted to the IES Abroad internship coordinator
- Personal reflective/analytical journal
- Written evaluation by internship supervisor of student’s on-site performance
- Mid-term exam (not required in each location)
- A written final evaluation of the internship experience based on the student’s statement of learning goals
- Final paper or research report (8-10 page minimum for 3-6 credit seminars; 4-6 page minimum for 1-credit summer seminar)
The classroom experience is intended to be substantive and not simply an opportunity for students to compare their subjective reactions to their experience. The internship should enable students to meet the learning goals stated in the internship seminar syllabus. Seminar models employed at Centers include the following:
- A seminar for students in teaching internships investigates the educational system of the country from a comparative perspective, looks at educational techniques and approaches, and demonstrates lessons.
- A seminar focused on politics reviews the political system and political sociology of the country or locality, public policy, and current issues in the workplace.
- A seminar focused on business discusses the local corporate environment, employment policies and career development, management styles, the organization of the workplace, etc. Or, it relies primarily on guest speakers who have special knowledge about subjects like labor, business law, human resources, and various sectors of the economy. Field study visits to corporate offices or factories are also included.
- A seminar can focus on a comparative cultural approach between the host country and the U.S. and how the local culture impacts the nature of work. It is especially important, if this approach is taken, to avoid too much stress on subjective, impressionistic discussions and to provide serious sociological and anthropological background readings to assist students in framing their observations and processing their experiences.
Academic Contact Hours
Note that an “academic contact hour” varies by location, as described in the IES Abroad Academic Guidelines (some locations are 50-minute hours; some are 45-minute hours).
Semester Program Internships
Semester interns work a minimum of 80 and a maximum of 120 clock hours on-site at their placement. A portion of the placement hours involve research related to the final paper or research report. In addition, students meet the following number of hours for the academic seminar or tutorial:
- 3-Credit Option: The 3-credit semester academic seminar or tutorial meets for 20 academic contact hours during the semester.
- 4-Credit Option: The 4-credit semester academic seminar or tutorial meets for 30 academic contact hours during the semester.
Summer Program Internships
Summer interns work a minimum of 176 clock hours and a maximum of 320 clock hours on-site at their placement. A portion of the placement hours involve research related to the final paper or research report. In addition, students meet the following number of hours for the academic seminar or tutorial:
- 3-Credit Option: The 3-credit summer term seminar or tutorial meets for a total of 25 academic contact hours, consisting of online sessions prior to departure and inperson class meetings during the 8-week program.
- 6-Credit Option: The 6-credit summer term seminar or tutorial meets for a total of 45 academic contact hours, consisting of online sessions prior to departure and in-person class meetings during the 8-week program.
- Where available, students may enroll in a language course in addition to the internship seminar or tutorial.
Assessment of Academic Component
The final assessment and grade are determined by an evaluation of the academic component completed by the student. The actual percentage of weighting of the academic component is computed at each IES Abroad Center. Please see the course syllabus for specific details related to final grade determination. In general, grades will be based on the bulleted list of items found in Part II, Section A.
On-site evaluation by the internship supervisor utilizing an IES Abroad metric also figures into the student’s final grade as described in the Assessment of Practical Component section below.
In general, 50% of the contact hours for the seminar are based on student research conducted during placement hours at the host organization related to the final paper or research report assigned in the academic component. Students’ final paper and research reports are graded by IES Abroad faculty.