The Department encourages students to engage in internships for three reasons. First, we have found they are one of the most effective ways to make the connections between the theoretical study of politics in the classroom and the active practice of politics in the public square. Second, although we sometimes make those connections by bringing practitioners to campus—using simulations that give a feel for real politics and by designing assignments that require students to get out of the classroom and investigate the real world of politics—we have found that internships are the most effective way to make those connections.
Internships also can serve as an important vocational function for students. Internships, we have found, are a good way to explore possible careers. In addition, the experience and recommendations that come with internships often are quite useful in the search for a first job.
Finally, we encourage our majors to do internships because they invariably contribute to one’s education in remarkable ways. Almost every student who spends a semester in Washington, D.C., for example, returns to campus having grown emotionally and intellectually in ways they never could have imagined.