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Internships, Fellowships, Off Campus, and other Opportunities

A tagline you hear a lot at Cornell is something along the lines of “one exceptional opportunity after another”–and, well…it’s pretty accurate! This piece is written by a Cornellian that is familiar with all that Cornell offers. Peter Catchings, ’16, a PA with NSO 2015 exemplifies a Cornellian doing it all, as an athlete, Student Senator, active member of various organizations, all on top of academics. This summer, Peter was a Cornell Fellows as he participated in an internship in law in Chicago. Learn more about some of Cornell’s exceptional opportunities. 

Hey there first-years! I’m Peter Catchings, a rising senior from Naperville, Illinois majoring in Politics, and I’m here to give you some helpful tips about internships when it comes to Cornell College.

Firstly let me say welcome to our Cornell RAMily! We are so excited for a new group of first-year Cornellians to be on campus! As you will now be an integral part of the Cornell community, you will quickly see that one thing that separates our institution from others is One Course At A Time, which is commonly referred to as the block plan. The block plan is truly a gift, as it allows you a ton of flexibility with regard to classes at our institution. The block plan offers the opportunity for short-stinted but acutely focused alternatives to traditional courses that are offered on the Cornell campus. These alternatives include but are not limited to internships, fellowships, study/travel abroad programs, and independent studies.

Internships are a phenomenal alternative to traditional-based classes at Cornell. Internships are focused on applying skills, knowledge, and techniques learned and acquired through Cornell courses, while simultaneously gaining real work experience within a certain educational realm. Internships are available both during a school year during specific blocks or during the summer. The best part about internships…you can earn college credit for them! You can either work at an internship during the summer and gain credit which will be additional to the classes that you take during the year, or you can insert an internship in lieu of a blocked class!

So how to do you get these internships? Excellent question! Cornell has some extremely helpful and useful resources to get internships. Jason Napoli and the rest of the staff in the Career and Civic Engagement Center (CCEC) Office can help you use our all-encompassing academic interface, JIVE, to search for internships that will be beneficial for real work experience, networking opportunities, and résumé bolstering. Also, academic advisors are able to help you reach out to different organizations, or may even offer you an internship to assist with a personal research project they are conducting! The last resource you have is…fellow Cornellians! Alumni and current students have expansive and knowledgeable connections when it comes to what internships may be good or how to apply for these internships. All in all, internships are a phenomenal way to enhance your personal intellectual prowess, in addition to your experience at Cornell!

Can’t wait to meet each and every one of you in August, and as always Go Rams!

Thanks to Peter for this great post and some snapshots from his summer in Chicago! Learn more about the Cornell Fellows Program or check out the summer Fellows’ profiles and blogs! As he mentioned, the block plan makes way for a lot of unique experiences throughout the year that would not be possible on a semester schedule. Internships and research opportunities–which could be funded through the Cornell Fellows program!–are possible in the summer or during a block.  Where else could you take a month during the school year to do an intensive internship or research anywhere in the world?! 

As Peter said, off campus study is a big part of the Cornell experience as well. With the flexibility of the block plan, block courses offer an opportunity for travel and experiential learning throughout your four years. Every year, courses taught by Cornell professors go all over the world on amazing adventures–this year, some highlights are Tanzania, India, a course covering a large section of Eastern Europe, the Bahamas, Argentina, and various locations in the U.S. While some of these courses carry a hefty price tag, scholarships for blocks abroad are accessible to students and make those opportunities more feasible. 

Studying off campus for longer amounts of time are another opportunity at Cornell. Some students may decide to take multiple courses abroad over their time at Cornell which may total in over a semester away, but opportunities through institutions like ACM and SIT are available; however, it’s important to keep in mind that with the emphasis on off campus block courses, there is less funding applicable for a semester abroad. The assistance to ‘take your financial aid with you’ is usually competitive for semester programs, and about 8 students a year will be awarded for a semester abroad. With that said, I will be off campus first semester this year participating in the ACM Newberry Seminar: Research in the Humanities, so see–it is possible. 🙂 

The thing about the Cornell experience is that with all of these opportunities available to you, it’s about finding what you are truly passionate about and making the opportunities available work for you. If you put in that work to take advantage of these opportunities, you truly will have an amazing Cornell experience.