5 Benefits of Taking CAPA's Global Internship Course

Jun 10, 2020 9:34:00 AM / by Cara Pizzorusso

CAPA's in-person and remote global internships are accompanied by the Global Internship Course (GIC). Learn more about what students can expect from the class and how it prepares them for life after graduation.

All students who participate in one of CAPA’s credit bearing internships— either in-person or remote— will take the required Global Internship Course (GIC). This 3-credit course provides students with the opportunity to discuss and analyze theories and models of work in organizations in a cross-cultural context. It also creates a space for personal reflection and thoughtful professional development, using the classroom as a vehicle for students to contextualize and discuss the wider significance of their internship experiences.

The first session of the course involves a comprehensive pre-placement orientation to prepare students for a successful and rewarding internship experience prior to the start of their internship. For remote internships, orientation includes training in digital tools that students may need, such as digital communication tools, recording programs, and presentation technologies including creating narrated Google Slides presentations.

“Before I even started on my first day, I was already prepped and introduced to a lot of what would be to come by Darren, a CAPA professor who teaches our internship class once a week.  Prior to our first day we discussed some key differences we might realize in the workplace compared to the U.S. … [This experience] definitely helped calm my nerves before my first day and also helped prepare me for some of the cultural differences I may encounter,” notes CAPA Dublin alum and former blogger Ellie LaFountain on her orientation. 

2019-03-London_London-Aaron Wong-Canon-GIW Students2

Over the course of the term, students meet for their GIC course once per week. The course is delivered by dynamic academic coaches in a collaborative environment, with a strong focus on building personal and professional development skills to prepare students to articulate their learnings to future employers and or graduate schools. The course includes a variety of teaching and learning activities, such as lectures, workshops, group discussions, informal and formal presentations, self-guided and guided research, and mock interviews. So, without further ado, here are 5 Benefits of the GIC course: 

1. It Creates a Designated Space for Self-Reflection 

Class time during the beginning of the term is focused on self-reflection, and at the end of this process, each student is challenged to focus on self-projection. This provides students an opportunity to unpack, synthesize, and articulate the value of their experiential learning. 

Darren KellyDirector of Academic Affairs and GIC Course Professor in Dublin, leads an exercise to mark students’ personal growth from the beginning of their time on the program to the end: “During their internship orientation CAPA students are asked to write down 3 words that characterize how they feel about starting their internship. The overwhelming majority write Anxious, Excited and Nervous. Students repeat this exercise at the end of the semester by choosing three words that characterize how they feel having completed their internship.” 

Before & After Word CloudsWhat students have to say at the end of the term.

Why is it important to provide a space for students to reflect on their experience while interning abroad? We asked Darren for his thoughts: 

It is incorrect to assume that all students will take the time to explicitly and critically reflect during their time abroad, particularly when they are faced with so many new experiences. Like holidays, it is easy to forget what you have done when you return home. Therefore, the GIC class builds in a series of self-reflection experiences throughout the semester. For many students, especially those who have not lived abroad before, the host location becomes a giant mirror of the students and of the US. In this case, the students see and learn much about themselves and their home lives that they may not have seen before. This self-reflection, of learning and appreciating who you are, where you come from as well as learning about the people and the culture of your host location leads to personal and professional growth. 

2. It Helps Ensure Students Receive Mentoring 

Students will each have a dedicated site supervisor from their internship to mentor them throughout the program. In addition to this one-on-one mentoring, students will meet regularly for the GIC class to openly discuss, evaluate, and review their internship experience in a supportive group setting. 

One topic students will explore through mentoring, lectures, and group discussion is the diverse work cultures and practices they will encounter while interning abroad. By learning more about work customs and cultures and breaking apart their individual experiences, students will have the opportunity to enhance their intercultural communication skills. 

3. It Connects Students with Others Going Through a Similar Experience  

Through regular group discussions during the GIC course, students will learn about their peers’ internship experiences and discuss shared challenges they faceInterning in a country where work culture and communication styles may differ greatly from a student’s home country can be dauntingalthough students can find comfort knowing they are not alone in this process. As Ellie LaFountain noted, “One of the many purposes of our weekly class is to discuss our stories from our sites with others that are going through similar but unique experiences as well. The internship class is quite beneficial for me because it gives me the chance to feel a sense of relief and to feel understood when I hear that other students are also struggling with certain aspects of working in a different culture.”  

4. It Is Complemented by Masterclasses and Guest Lectures 

In-person and online GIC classes will be complemented by Masterclasses and guest lectures led by faculty and industry professionals. Masterclasses are TedTalk style recorded presentations, with each session focusing on a specific and practical theme such as Working and Networking Globally, Gender and Diversity in the Workplace, and Starting a Start-UpGuest lectures are taught live, giving students a chance to engage with the lecture and ask questions. 

The Masterclasses and guest lectures are delivered from professionals in different locations which aid students' global perspectives on themes discussed in class. That the speakers are talking about the world of work - in context with the academic content of the class - creates a real praxis for students.” – Darren Kelly 

5. It Provides Interns with Guided Professional Development  

One of the class sessions includes a workshop on building an online professional presence on LinkedIn. This session is led by senior program coordinator at CAPA Dublin, Hayley Ni Bhriain. Check out her LinkedIn profile here.

Screenshot of LinkedIn Presentation from Hayley Ni BhriainHayley Ni Bhriain leads a LinkedIn presentation for GIC students.

Students will also enhance their resumes though resume review sessions and learn to how to tailor their cover letters to specific jobs. In addition to learning how to articulate their learning experience and newly developed skills on paper, students will participate in mock interviews. Students will attend a professional mock interview toward the end of the semester, and they will be encouraged to use their global internship experience as part of most answers. This assignment allows students to reflect on and articulate their internship experiences and the skills gained or honed through the process.  

As CAPA Dublin alum Drew Lovely, who studied abroad in spring 2020, remarked, “[The] CAPA mock interview process, prep and interview was an opportunity for reflection and self-evaluation. In these troubling times that the world is experiencing, it was a relief to be able to focus on evaluating myself and reflecting on all the positive memories I made abroad.” 

Check out this video to learn more about how the GIC course prepares students for life after graduation:


Topics: Dublin, Ireland, Internships Abroad