New Internship Program Takes Students to the Emerald Isle
Ireland Internship Program Gives 9 UT Dallas Students Professional Experience Overseas
Aug. 21, 2013
Carter Plotkin, a political science senior, helped update website content and assisted the research team at a public service agency.
Nine UT Dallas students saw the world through Irish eyes in Dublin and came home smiling after spending the summer in the University’s first work program of its kind.
The internships – open to students of all majors – provided a customized, two-month experience with organizations that ranged from financial institutions to creative agencies to advocacy groups. Ireland was selected as an affordable overseas destination.
“We had an outstanding amount of interest,” said Lisa Garza, director of the Career Center. “Having an internship abroad gives UT Dallas students an edge in the global marketplace. This is another way the Career Center can broaden students’ experiences with their chosen fields before they graduate.”
The Career Center developed the internship at the request of the Office of International Education and after increased student interest in an overseas work experience.
After partnering with the organization Connect-123, which arranges internship placements abroad, the center began advertising the program a year ago.
Carter Plotkin, a political science senior, was sold on the idea as soon as he saw the posters that read: “Interning in Ireland? Lucky.”
Rachel Beckham, a sociology senior, worked in an afterschool program for disadvantaged youths in a Dublin suburb.
He ended up working on the Emerald Isle for the Institute of Public Administration, helping update website content and assisting the institute’s research team on policy reviews and government efficiency reports.
“The information-gathering was tedious, but the research was fascinating to me,” said Plotkin. “I now have international publication experience, which will be an outstanding factor when I apply to law schools.”
Rachel Beckham, a sociology senior, worked with the Aisling Project, an afterschool initiative for disadvantaged youths in the Dublin suburb of Ballymun. Mentoring 7- to 13-year-old students gave her a first-hand perspective on the needs of youth from low-income neighborhoods.
“It gave me an inside view of what it’s like,” said Beckham, who hopes to be a counselor someday. “They (the disadvantaged youths) were looked down on and were not expected to make it, so they were unambitious and unmotivated. The kids take it personally and they believe they can’t make it. It’s the mission of the project to make them believe they can.”
Dr. Rodolfo Hernandez, director of the Office of International Education, said overseas internships are a way to enhance the total educational experience for UT Dallas students.
“Having an internship abroad gives UT Dallas students an edge in the global marketplace. This is another way the Career Center can broaden students’ experiences with their chosen fields even before they graduate.”
“Students need to know how to interact with locals not only culturally, but also professionally. By pursuing international academic work, students can enrich their personal professional portfolio and strengthen their competitiveness in the labor market after graduation,” Hernandez said.
While in Dublin, students lived in apartments, figured out the Euro exchange rate, cooked their own meals and learned to use public transportation. And they brought home lots of Irish tea.
“People were really, really friendly. They were very kind and welcoming,” said Plotkin, who now wears a traditional Irish Claddagh pendant around his neck as a symbol of friendship, love and loyalty.
Applications will be accepted for the summer 2014 program beginning in late fall. Students can earn up to six credits for a summer internship. Students must be in good academic standing and must plan to continue their studies at UT Dallas after the summer experience.
Students are encouraged to attend an information session to learn more. For more details, contact the Career Center at 972-883-2943.