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THE INTERNSHIP AS A WAY TO GAIN TRAVEL EXPERIENCE AND PROFESSIONAL SKILLS.
 

sygenta

Between September 2002 and August 2003, I was an intern for Sygenta, an agribusiness company headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, where I worked on a team that built spatial databases and web-based GIS applications. The internship was fast-paced and challenging, and I learned a great deal about what is needed of a geographer in a corporate environment. Working at Sygenta was an invaluable experience, not only for the skills I acquired, but also because it taught me the importance of international internships in university education. I interacted with dozens of European university students, all interns like me, who were working to fulfill practicum requirements for their degrees.

Most geography programs in the United States offer internship credit and some actively promote internships, but few to my knowledge go as far as their counterparts in Europe in requiring such experiences for degrees. Foreign internships offer an excellent, and still under-utilized opportunity for U.S. students who want to live overseas and acquire foreign experience beyond what they can get through study-abroad and foreign exchange programs. Foreign internships can broaden horizons, hone professional skills, and increase chances of employment after graduation. As a professor, I encourage my students to participate in foreign internships, volunteer programs, and other overseas opportunities as an integral part of their university experience.

- David Cochran; Department of Geography and Geology; University of Southern Mississippi

Have you had an internship or other professional work experience overseas? Do you know of any international opportunities relevant to either undergraduate or graduate geography students? If so, please email your insights to: gaia@aag.org