It is our goal that all Northwest Community College Initiative (NWCCI) participants return to their home countries with new skills to contribute to their communities. To achieve this goal, all participants will complete a 60 hour unpaid internship in their field of study during their program. Internships provide a valuable opportunity for NWCCI students to put what they learn in the classroom into practice and are also a way for our students to provide a unique and diverse cultural perspective to their communities.
With the start of the winter quarter comes new courses, culture presentations and the search for an internship. To fulfill scholarship requirements, each NWCCI student must complete a 60-hour unpaid internship related to their field of study. Internships provide a chance for students to apply their learning to a real-world work environment and to gain valuable professional development skills that cannot always be taught in a classroom.
“Interning at Downtown Bellingham Partnership was an everyday learning process and during these three months I learned more than ever about my field of study, about teamwork, creative solutions, my own skills, the city where I lived for the past year and to where I want to direct my career to.” – Natália Galindo Cestaro, Brazil
Most students will complete their internship during spring quarter. To prepare, they spent fall quarter building professional portfolios, creating resumes, polishing elevator pitches, and networking with the local community. Some students were even able to hone on in on their goals and speaking skills to make a video of their elevator pitches, viewable on YouTube. And while NWCCI advisors help students find leads for internships, it is ultimately the student’s responsibility to follow-through and secure the internship placement.
“NWCCI interns have helped the fire department research technology equipment needs, designed web-based data entry sites, and assisted with the planning of outreach events and programs. These students bring a high level of enthusiasm to their assignments as well as innovative solutions to projects” -Misty Burton-Burke, Lynnwood Fire Department
Each student has his or her own unique career goals and expectations for their internship experience. Advisors work closely with the students to find one that is a good fit to help them meet their career goals and expectations. Once students secure an internship, they will register for a seminar at their college and designated faculty will help them create learning objectives for their internship experience.
“Before starting my internship my objective was to improve my communication skills and learn more about the hospitality industry. However, after finishing my internship, I realized that I got more than that. I learned about teamwork, professionalism and improved my problem solving skills, management skills, and people skills along with communication skills and knowledge about the hospitality industry.” – Shivani, India
Over the years, NWCCI has forged partnerships with a number of local businesses, non-profits, and other organizations that provide internships for our students. Past internship providers say they have benefited from the diverse perspectives and skills that NWCCI students bring to their workplace.
NWCCI is grateful for the partners who have provided internships over the years. We strive to maintain these partnerships and are always looking to create new ones as well. Internship providers provide a physical work space, work with the student to create a schedule and set expectations, approve the student’s learning objectives, conduct performance evaluations, and mentor the students in their field of study and professionalism. Let us know if you are interested in becoming an internship provider in the Lakewood, Lynnwood and Bellingham areas by contacting Amanda.Fletcher@email.edcc.edu
The NWCCI program is part of the Community College Initiative, an exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The opinions expressed in this blog by writers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Northwest Community College Initiative program, Edmonds Community College, Whatcom Community College, Pierce College, the United States Department of State or any employee thereof.