Whether it be a full summer experience or something you do in Eugene alongside taking classes, internships are a great way to gain practical experiential learning experience that employers are looking for from college graduates. Do you need an internship to graduate? Probably not. Does it benefit your career readiness? Most definitely! While some majors at the UO have internship requirements built into the curriculum, many students seek out an internship to help them learn more about the types of careers, workplaces, and industries that are a good fit for them.

Here are four ways internships benefit your career readiness:

1. Apply classroom learning in a professional environment

Internships help you develop career readiness skills alongside industry-specific—and often technological—skills that you need to enter the workforce. You may have used an app for a class project and now you can develop more advanced skills for a real-world application, or get to deepen your leadership and communication skills by managing a project from start to finish with a group of colleagues. These experiences will make the stuff you learned in class make more sense and motivate you to learn more.

2. Gain exposure to your chosen field

As many as 80 percent of college students will change their major at one point during their undergraduate years. Participating in internships can be a great way to get a taste of the actual professional experience in a particular field before you commit yourself to it fully. The more opportunities you can explore career paths, industries, and different work environments, the more informed you can be going into your job search to find a place and position you will thrive in.

3. Establish critical networking connections

Through experiential learning opportunities like internships, you gain an invaluable chance to forge important professional connections before you even reach graduation. Even if you don’t end up wanting to work there after graduation, they are supervisors and coworkers who can now vouch for your work ethic and career readiness skills when you need a good reference.

4. Get coveted work experience

One of the greatest frustrations of college graduates who struggle to find employment reports is the problems that arise when the only open positions require work experience they have not yet had a chance to acquire. An internship provides the work experience that will help to put your education into practice, develop your leadership skills and give you a competitive advantage as you pursue a permanent position. All the part-time jobs, internships, volunteer, club leadership, and undergraduate research opportunities add up over time. Don’t wait to get started building résumé-worthy experience.

UO Internship Programs

  • Leadership Enrichment Internship (LEI) — paid mentored internship experience for undergraduate UO students with diverse academic interests whose backgrounds are currently underrepresented in such careers
  • UO Admin Internships Program — paid internship where you will gain insight into the units that serve and support many aspects of campus life, while building work experience and practical skills in the field of higher education administration
  • UO Advancement Leadership Internship — Are you interested in a field in which you can use your skills and talents to help improve society and provide greater access to life-transforming education? The Advancement Leadership Internship (ALI) might be the place to jump-start your goals.
  • Global Works International Internships — work with local professional internship providers in locations around the world to provide individualized placements for UO students. Students earn UO credits and life-changing work experience in a different culture
  • UO Portland Internship Experience — an exclusive opportunity for UO undergraduates to gain professional experience through an internship while making a difference in Portland. Summer stipend provided.
  • UO Government Internship Connections — Participating in an internship with a policymaker or government entity is one of the best ways students interested in politics and policy issues can gain first-hand experience and career-ready skills.
  • SOJC Internships — Charles Snowden Program for Excellence in Journalism, Portland Experience, and Media in Ghana

Where to search for internships on and off campus, and all around the world?

Check out our Job Search Websites collection

Internship for Credit

Get credit for both paid and unpaid internship opportunities through your department’s 404 course or the University Career Center’s UGST 404 Internship Course.

Funding for Internships

Internships, even paid ones, can get expensive. Check out these funding sources to help supplement your experience.