Voted on by the GoAbroad Innovation Awards Academy, GE was the standout in the category for “Innovative New Program: Intern Abroad” for its Accelerated Internship Abroad Experience co-designed with Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). As colleagues in International Education know, an internship abroad is a perfect combination of professional experience and global education, but for many college students an 8+ week experience is not possible. In 2016 GE was challenged by RIT to create an accelerated internship experience in their January term that would inspire STEM majors to go abroad while meeting the co-op credit requirement to graduate.
In order to replicate and accelerate the learning seen in longer programs GE developed a new approach, creating an intentional cycle of learning - experience - reflection. Dublin was selected as an ideal host city for its cultural accessibility and unique focus on entrepreneurship that appealed to a range of majors. The design process resulted in a high-intensity experience combining three elements: Strengths-based Career Development, Entrepreneurship training, and Cultural Immersion. GE worked closely with an entrepreneurship education expert in Dublin to ensure learning outcomes were achieved.
While creating this program GE was fortunate to collaborate with Maria Richart, Associate Director for International Outreach and Career Services Coordinator at RIT. Maria reflected,
“I wanted to give students an international experience that was affordable and expose them a city that is known for their entrepreneurial spirit and vibrant culture. Dublin was the perfect setting. GE exposed our students to an array of companies; some companies shared their successes and others shared their failures. It was important for our students to see the failure and understand that sometimes your original idea may not work, the trick being how to reinvent yourself and create success learning from that failure. The experience, even though it was only a short period, gave the students the opportunity to create friendships and partnerships that have resulted in a startup here at RIT. I couldn’t have done this program without the team from GE."
Officially announced in Summer 2016 the program attracted diverse interest from RIT students new to travel abroad. Outcomes for students were significant and each participant’s gains were unique. All reported learning new skills, gaining confidence, and building global competencies, while many were inspired to travel, and some have already received job offers based on their new entrepreneurship skills.
“The program surpassed my expectations. We were able to learn the general context of entrepreneurship and understand its real world application.” Heather C., Rochester Institute of Technology - Advertising & Public Relations major
"This was a well constructed course. The instructor was extremely knowledgeable and the Location Coordinator was very quick to answer questions and set up different appointments." Joseph H., Rochester Inst. of Technology - Engineering major
The initial year’s success has challenged traditional conceptions of what an international internship looks like and provides a path to designing new models that encourage greater participation. CEO and co-founder Emily Merson noted,
“At Global Experiences we are always focused on increasing access for new groups of students. Our commitment to innovation allows us to create flexible new models that meet the needs of a wide range of universities and colleges. We couldn’t be more pleased to see this new internship program earn this recognition from the International Education community.”
Global Experiences is an Annapolis, MD-based provider of career development and international internship programs. GE has been personally investing in the future of young professionals through career development and international internships since 2001. They offer international internship programs in hundreds of industries in Barcelona, Dublin, Florence, London, Milan, New York, Paris, Shanghai, Sydney, and Washington, DC.