Personal & Professional Wisdom

If You’re Looking for a Summer Internship, You’ll Want to Read This

As summer approaches, students across the country are getting busy looking for an internship. At the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS) at Monterey, that work starts months in advance. Helen Jung and Amy Liu are currently finishing up their studies in Translation and Localization Management (TLM) at MIIS. We asked them to tell us about their experience preparing for their internship.

Make sure to take notes because they share excellent tips!

How did you find your internship?

Helen Jung:

During my very first semester at MIIS, I visited the MediaLocate booth at the Career Fair on campus and had a chat with Leona, the vendor manager. I expressed my interest in a project management internship and she put me in touch with Thomas, the production manager. I interviewed with him for the project coordinator position, but they pursued another candidate. A month later, MediaLocate had another opening for a project coordinator and Thomas reached out to me with an offer, which I had to decline as I had already accepted an offer from another employer. I kept in touch with everyone I met at MediaLocate and expressed my interest in working there in the near future. A few months before the summer began, I reached out to Thomas and asked if he had an opening for a project coordinator. I received an offer the next day and I began working at MediaLocate two weeks after that.

What advice would you give to students looking for an internship?

Helen Jung:

Don’t burn bridges. Even if things don’t work out initially, that doesn’t mean the opportunities with that employer are closed to you forever. Remain professional and amicable with everyone and keep in touch with them. Send a thank you email/message and connect with them on LinkedIn, and don’t be afraid to say hello from time to time or wish them a happy holiday!

Have a list of companies you’d like to intern at and be ready to articulate to them the reasons why you want to work there. Express genuine interest and enthusiasm for the role or organization. Do your research and tailor your answers to each organization.

If you can’t secure an internship for the summer, keep yourself busy with other professional experiences, e.g. programming or volunteering. Keep looking out for opportunities that could open up after the summer has begun because you never know what will come your way!

How did you find your internship?

Amy Liu:

I went to LocWorld 35 in Santa Clara as a volunteer, where I met the manager from Linguitronics, an LSP from Shanghai and Taiwan. When I started looking for a summer internship, I contacted them and asked for an internship opportunity. They not only offered me the internship as Localization Project Manager, but also sponsored the round-trip air tickets and accommodations in Shanghai.

I have benefited very much from MIIS’ good reputation, career advertising, professional training, and so on. The conferences that were recommended by our professors are well-worth attending. As for career advising, I think the Career Map that I completed during the New Student Orientation helped crystalize my goals and approaches. I had several coaching sessions with my Advisor, Winnie Heh, about how to become confident in interviews and how to negotiate with interviewers. This eventually led me to taking the course, The Art of Negotiation. Thanks to the techniques and skills I learned from that class, I got a good deal for my internship in Shanghai.

What advice would you give to students looking for an internship?

Amy Liu:

I announced to my contacts that I needed a summer internship when I started looking. I reached out to everyone that I knew and asked for any possible opportunity. Not many classmates get what they wanted in the beginning, but so many have landed an internship before this semester ended. Maybe the advice I want to share with my fellow students is: keep trying. After all, if you never try, you will never know.

In summary, be pro-active, diligent and build a network of industry professionals who can provide advice and help you grow. Using the resources your school provides should also be a big help and you should use them to your advantage. Above all, don’t get discouraged if things don’t go well at first. Perseverance and positivity go a long way!