We do our best to offer an all-around experience encompassing: academics, cultural immersion, and personal growth. And supplementary to that, we’ve found an increasing amount of students looking to add to their resumes and experience via internships! Read on to read about Nikki’s unique internship experience as a Tropical Bee Researcher.
Hi, I’m Nikki. I never thought studying abroad would be a possibility for me, let alone doing an internship abroad. After research, consultation, and prayer I was able to do both! I recommend you explore our resources and follow your dreams!
Our schools emphasize so much that internships can help us later on while looking for a job. I believe that people with or without an internship are hireable, but having an internship gives you a look into a field and shows you what a day-in-the-life looks like. Because of the high demand, my study abroad program with USAC offers internships in most sites, including Heredia, Costa Rica, where I lived and studied. Most internships were in education, which is great, but not my field of study. I wanted to know if I could do something hands on in agriculture, sustainability, or health care. My program Resident Director put me in touch with a man who works in a research center for tropical bees called CINAT.
Not only was it an excellent opportunity to practice Spanish in a professional setting, but I learned so much about the anatomy, physiology, pathology, and care of bees. On my first day I started learning about the bees and getting acquainted with the lab and the faculty. Come the second day I was already running exams on the bees to check them for different pathology.
- I learned how to check the number of varroa mites — a microscopic mite that is a debilitating parasite of the honeybee, causing loss of honey production — and determine if the concentration is a danger to the colony.
- I learned how to check for nosema which is a parasite that causes digestion problems in bees, and I learned how to examine the bees for Acariasis which is a mite that causes trouble in the respiratory system of bees.
- As my days went on I learned more and more from the faculty at the center, including learning about propolis (seriously, check it out), and visiting the colonies to extract honey comb.
Maybe you don’t study agriculture, biology, or even science for that matter; I think the take away here is that there are cool things to do all over the world that you could find to be super interesting! I love bees so much and I could talk to you all day about them, but like I mentioned there were teaching internships, plenty of ways to teach English, there are many museums and historical preservations, and I would imagine that one could get an internship with one, there are business internships available in so many different countries. Here’s are some steps I’d take to get an ideal internship abroad (or even at home):
1. Research, research, research! Professors and advisors appreciate when students come to them with ideas in mind of what they’d like to do or where they’d like to go.
2. Chose where you want to go
3. Look into programs and offerings in that area
5. Remain diligent with paperwork and contacting necessary parties.
6. Begin your internship with goals in mind and don’t be afraid to share those goals
7. Work professionally throughout your internship
8. Follow-up and thank your internship site for all they’ve taught you, and spread the word about your experience.
By Nicole “Nikki” Pinard
Completely agree with Nikki! You’ll be surprised to know that staple internships currently available have come about because of this very thing. A student expressed a specific interest in one particular field of study for an internship, asked us in central office if we could coordinate something, then BAM! There you go on your way to a great internship that only adds to your experiential learning while abroad.
However, it does start with you. Be courageous, have a plan, speak with advisors about it, then see what opportunities await you during your time studying abroad with USAC.