When the television news program, CBS Sunday Morning ran a piece titled “Internships: A foot in the door? Is it something young people can take advantage of, or are they being taken advantage of?” I stood in my living room in front of the television set asking the question, “Why are they just talking about young people using internships to increase their chances of acquiring paid positions?”
It was an interesting piece, but did not present the whole story. There’s more to internships than volunteering one’s skills and the money that is or isn’t received. One new innovation is that internships are no longer just for the young — many are open to all ages. The Student Conservation Association, which provides stipends with internships, should change their name. Their programs are not just for students and they do not have age limitations.
Both of my travel guidebooks, Volunteer Vacations Across America and Immersion Travel USA, have hundreds of opportunities to try out many different fields and positions through internships and other programs before deciding what you really want to do — if that’s in college or after retirement or in between. Explore a passion, plan a career move, or step right into a job by applying for an internship.
If the time commitment of an internship is not for you, consider a short-term volunteer experience. Here’s the scoop featured in Volunteer Vacations Across America and Immersion Travel USA:
The Student Conservation Association (SCA, http://www.thesca.org) is the nation’s largest and oldest provider of conservation service opportunities through a tuition-free summer volunteer program for high school or college students and a 3- to 12-month, expense-paid internship program for people over 18. SCA’s mission is clear: “To build the next generation of conservation leaders and inspire lifelong stewardship of our environment and communities by engaging young people in hands-on service to the land.”