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Questions - What Experience is Right for Me?

There are many questions to consider which can help you narrow your search of internships and volunteer experiences. 

 Type of Experience

Do I want to....

  • work at a vacation location in the resort, national park, or cruise line industry?
  • help others in my experience and work to improve societal issues?
  • work in the outdoors or with high adventure activities, such as rock climbing?
  • gain experience/ skills in a particular business or politics?

 Living Arrangements

Do I prefer....

  • to live in a community setting among other volunteers and have a support system as I face challenges?
  • to live alone and tackle any uncertainties independently?
  • no preference, living arrangements are not a contributing factor in my decision.


Do I prefer....

  • an opportunity to experience another culture through an international experience?
  • stay domestic in my experience? If yes, do I prefer…
    • the setting of a big city or a rural community?
    • no preference, location is not a factor in my decision.

 Length of Service

Do I prefer....

  • a summer experience?
  • a short term experience - less than six months or one academic semester?
  • a longer term experience - at least a year?


Do I hope to gain....

  • professional experience within a successful business or specific skills?
  • personal benefits through sharing my abilities in order to help others?
  • educational benefits, college credit?
  • an exposure to other cultures and traditions?
  • free or reduced rates to recreational activities, such as skiing?


  • Does the experience offer benefits or insurance?
  • Does the experience allow me to defer my current college loans?
  • How much compensation do I expect?
    • none, I will volunteer.
    • minimum - room, board and a small stipend.
    • more than minimum wage.
  • Is there additional compensation upon completion of my experience?
  • If relocating, is the cost of travel my responsibility or the organization's?

Examine your responses to these questions and identify the three aspects that are most important to you (i.e. location, etc.).


Now that you have identified the type of experience you will seek, it is important to examine resources or networking capabilities you may have in this area. Think broadly. Your network capabilities most likely expand beyond your initial perceptions. For example, if you are interested in politics consider anyone you know that has previously been involved with an election campaign. Knowing a previous or current politician is not only unlikely for most, but unnecessary. Simply knowing someone involved is probably adequate to "get your foot in the door" toward a political internship.

Resources for gaining more information are also important. Some possibilities include: the library, volunteer centers, your academic advisor, the Career Services Office and the International Programs Office. Also check links provided on the Career Services website.

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