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political internships
Internships are an important way to determine what fields interest a student or recent graduate, and they are helpful for finding employment after graduation. Finding an internship can be overwhelming, especially when a student or recent graduate needs to decide his or her interests and match it to an internship. For political interests, this could mean searching for an internship that matches political inclinations or goals. The following are a few resources to use to learn where to find political internships.

Use School Resources

Colleges and universities are motivated to ensure job success for their students. Many universities offer career services or a search tool on their website to narrow the job search to particular fields, such as politics. More importantly, faculty at universities may have connections for internships that suit a students needs and interdisciplinary interests.

Some universities offer class credit for internship programs. Completing a number of hours or assignments for an internship can allow a student to earn credit for their unpaid work. For instance, Georgetown University offers a Semester in Washington D.C. program. A student can attend academic classes, complete a research project and an internship during the week. Potentially, a student can earn 15 credits for the semester.

Contact Local or State Representatives

Several internship opportunities are in the offices of House representatives or senators of a student’s state on both the state and national level. In most cases, a representative will have opportunities listed on their website and an email to contact or send an application. Otherwise, on the national level, interns will work in the personal office of a House or Senate member. The intern will have the opportunity to attend committee meetings and make valuable connections with policymakers in Washington, D.C. or within the state.

Check with Nonprofits

In many cases, a nonprofit will have a particular goal in which is has to participate in political action in order to achieve. Although not directly affiliated with the creation of legislation, a nonprofit can be a great way to get involved with politics from a different perspective.

The Borgen Project offers internships from Seattle and telecommuting internships that involve political action. The Political Recruiter internship in Seattle helps to expand The Borgen Project nationally by targeting several congressional districts. As a telecommuting internship, the political affairs internship requires interns to meet with congressional representatives, attend politically related events and advocate for The Borgen Project.

Ask Friends or Family

Using personal connections can be the most important way to find an internship. Friends, family, professors or co-workers can have connections in fields of interests in a particular geographic region. It can be extremely helpful to have a mutual connection introduce a student to a representative from the internship of choice. A personal connection may also be able to provide insight into the environment and expectations of the internship site.

Knowing where to find political internships can be challenging and intimidating. However, many people looking for political internships will have the resources to find the internships right in front of them. Utilizing these resources, interns will gain valuable experience they need for future professional success.

– Tara Wilson

Sources: Georgetown University, About Travel, Borgen Project, Forbes