Internship & Experiential Learning Opportunities in Florence, Italy
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ASA is pleased to offer Summer and Semester Internship and Experiential Learning opportunities in Florence, Italy! Internships are NOT stand-alone, but are done in tandem with coursework at Florence University of the Arts. Students can earn 3 credits for Internships and Experiential Learning Projects upon completion of the course requirements. Internship/ELP credits will factor into the total number of credits a student is allowed to take during their academic term. Non-credit Internships and Experiential Learning Projects are also available.
Because an internship is an opportunity to gain experience outside the classroom, and the benefit of doing an internship extends far beyond the academic credits you earn, please be aware that you will work more hours than you get credit for. An internship or ELP worth 3 credits requires that the student complete a total of 150 work hours.
All internships are unpaid.
Semester & Summer Internships in Florence – Overview
Participating in an Internship or Experiential Learning Project (ELP) during your study abroad program in Florence, Italy, is a fantastic way to gain work experience, meet Italian people, and add a unique bullet point to your résumé! Past students have, across the board, felt that doing an internship was 100% worthwhile, as the benefits extend far beyond the classroom. It is a wonderful way to “get out into the world” and meet people outside the ASA group or your peer group at school, while earning credit at the same time. You will have the opportunity to experience Italian culture in a much deeper and more hands-on way than your classmates who aren’t doing internships!
You do not need to know Italian in order to participate in an Experiential Learning Project, but the majority of Internships have an Italian language requirement ranging anywhere from Elementary to Advanced. (Ex: Business internship placements require an advanced level of Italian). If you want to participate in an Internship, you must meet the Italian language requirement associated with the placement. If possible, we recommend you learn as much Italian as you can before you go, because the more Italian you know, the more you will be able to gain from the experience of interning at an Italian company or organization.
Internships vs. Experiential Learning Projects
What is the difference between an Internship and an Experiential Learning Project?
- Definition of an Internship – The student actively assists professionals in fulfilling daily tasks at external companies or organizations. The student does not receive academic instruction but learns by performing tasks. An Internship typically has an Italian language minimum requirement, and opportunities are limited to those who meet the language requirement. Internships typically take place at external companies or organizations, outside of Florence University of the Arts, at various locations in the greater Florence area.
- Definition of an Experiential Learning Project (ELP) – The student learns by doing and observing the assigned tasks WHILE receiving academic instruction. ELPs typically do not have an Italian language requirement and are, therefore, an alternative for those students who do not know any Italian. An ELP takes place at one of Florence University of the Art’s CEMIs (Community Engagement Member Institutions). This allows the ELP to be conducted in a primarily English-speaking environment. The CEMI ELP will provide a challenging environment, where responsibilities and learning objectives will be assigned to the student from the very beginning.
How many credits can I earn?
ASA students can earn 3 credits for completing an Internship or Experiential Learning Project (ELP). 150 work hours are required to earn 3 credits. However, non-credit Internships and ELPs are also available:
- For-credit Internships and ELPs are offered during the regular academic sessions, and upon successful completion of the program, the credits will appear on your final transcript. For-credit internships and ELPs must be a minimum of 6 weeks in duration.
- Non-credit Internships and ELPs must begin on the start date of a regular academic session. Students may choose the duration, the minimum being 3 weeks. Non-credit Summer internships require that the student complete a 3-week Italian language session.
Semester students who participate in an Internship or ELP must also maintain a full courseload totaling 12 to 15 credits, including one mandatory Italian Language course, while completing their internship or ELP. Ex: If you do a 3-credit internship or ELP, to reach the 12-credit minimum, you must take 3 additional classes (one of which will be Italian language). To earn 15 credits, you would take 4 classes in addition to a 3-credit internship or ELP. (Click here for Semester Course Offerings.)
Summer students who wish to participate in an Internship or Experiential Learning Project (ELP) must attend one of ASA’s two 6-week Summer Sessions (Summer A or Summer B) and take one class along with their Internship or ELP. (Click here for Summer Course Offerings.)
Although this has already been mentioned once on this page, it is important to remember that you will complete more internship work hours than you get credit for. To earn 3 credits for an internship or ELP, you must complete 150 work hours. This is the nature of an internship, as the benefits of participating extend far beyond the classroom.
Example Experiential Learning Projects
Although Florence University of the Arts does their very best to place students in their top choice internship or ELP, we cannot guarantee any particular placement, company or organization. (Please scroll down for additional important information on what to expect in your internship.)
An Experiential Learning Project is assigned at one of Florence University of the Art’s CEMIs (Community Engagement Member Institutions). The CEMIs have a key advantage of being able to provide the student with experience in their chosen field of interest in an English-speaking environment. Italian language proficiency is not required for the majority of ELPs. The CEMI ELP will provide a challenging environment, where responsibilities and learning objectives will be assigned to the student from the very beginning. (NOTE: Based on the time of year and volume of work, the number of available placements may vary.)
Experiential Learning Project placements are available through the following CEMIs:
- Ganzo: Culinary Arts Creative Lab, Hospitality Event Venue and Student-run Restaurant
- Fedora: Pastry Shop
- FLY: Fashion Retail Store and Fashion Event Venue
- Corridoio Fiorentino: Digital Imaging and Visual Arts Gallery
- FUA Communications Office / Ingorda: Publishing & Communications Office
- sQuola: The Center for Contemporary Italian Studies
- La Palestra: Campus Gym
- Student Life and Development Office at Florence University of the Arts
Example ELP Placements:
- Baking & Pastry
- Communications, Web Design, Marketing & Publishing
- Culinary Arts
- Event Management & Hospitality
- Graphic Design, Marketing & Advertising
- Fashion Photography
- Fashion Retail
- Journalism, Media & Publishing
- Journalism, Communications & Multimedia
- Journalism & Publishing
- Library Sciences
- Restaurant Management
- Sports & Athletics
- Study Abroad Office Manager
- Teaching Italian Language
- Tourism Management, Organization & Public Relations
- Video Production
- Wine & Beverage Management
Example External Internships
Florence University of the Arts prides itself on having developed a wide network of internship placements. In order to be eligible for an external internship placement, students must undergo evaluation by both the Internship department and the external placement supervisor. The availability of external internship placements is subject to seasonality, Italian Language proficiency, and an interview with the external internship supervisor. The required level of Italian language is indicated in the individual placement descriptions below. In addition, certain positions may require evaluation of your portfolio (e.g. placements in Photography, Fine Arts and Theatre Arts). Please be aware that you may incur commuting expenses to and from your internship location, up to one hour duration each way, at the student’s expense, and some external internship placements may require weekend work scheduling. Once again, we cannot guarantee any particular placement, company or organization.
Example External Internship Placements:
- Accounting & Business
- Acting & Theatrical Performance
- Architecture & Interior Design
- Art Gallery Management & Curation
- Business Management
- Culinary Arts
- Dance Company Management
- Dance Instruction
- English as a Second Language
- Nutrition & Dietetics
- Education & Childcare
- Fashion Retail Management
- Fundraising & Public Relations
- Hotel and Hospitality Operations Management
- Jewelry Design
- Music Event Management
- Music Teaching
- Public Relations, Communications & Marketing
- Scenography & Scenic Design
- Sound & Lights – Theatre Arts
- Sports & Athletic Training, Exercise Science
- Theater Management & Production
- Video Production
What to Expect in Your Internship
An internship is an opportunity to gain some experience in the field in which you wish to have a career. It is also a great opportunity to apply what you’ve learned in your classes and gain networking contacts. That said, you need to be open-minded about the type of work you’ll be doing. For example, you may be assigned entry level work, such as making photocopies, filing, etc. However, if you “prove yourself” by producing quality work and showing your commitment to the job, the level of work assigned to you may improve. You will very likely need to earn the trust of your supervisor first, which may take a little time.
How to Apply for an Internship & Helpful Tips
In order to apply for an internship, the following items are required:
Applicants must be of junior or senior standing at a U.S. or Canadian university, college, or community college.
In addition to the ASA online application form and required documents (click here) you will be required to submit the following to info (@) academicstudies.com:
- Cover letter/motivational letter exploring the reasons for your application and the expected outcome of the project.
- Detailed CV (résumé) in Word format – must be focused on your specific academic and professional experiences related to your chosen field of interest.
- Depending on the field of your placement, a portfolio may be required. It should contain relevant work from previous academic/professional experience.
- An Italian language proficiency exam, which can be assessed via interview with a certified Italian language instructor.
Please note that in order for your application to be successful, you must be knowledgeable about the field in which you wish to intern. This means you must choose 3 areas of interest with which you are familiar and have some experience with in coursework, work experience, and/or volunteer experience. In other words, if you apply for an internship in a field with which you are not very familiar, your application has a lower chance of being accepted.
What happens next? How does the placement process work?
When FUA receives an internship application, the Admissions Officer will inform the student of placements available in their area of interest and then forward the request to the Internship and Experiential Learning Department Coordinator. The Coordinator will assess the student’s application profile and possibly schedule a Skype interview. This process is designed to determine what is the best fit for the student (an Internship or an ELP). Please note, submitting an application does not guarantee you a placement. On successful completion of the application process:
- If the student meets both the Italian language and curricular requirements of the position, they will be assigned an External Internship.
- If the student meets the curricular requirements but not the Italian language requirements of the position, the student will be assigned an Experiential Learning Project, where the exposure to the selected field of interest is provided through Florence University of the Art’s CEMI (Community Engagement Member Institution).
- If the student does not meet the Italian language requirements or the curricular requirements, they will be advised to follow a course alternative, which still provides a hands-on approach to the subject, but with the assistance and guidance of an English-speaking instructor. For example, FUA offers an Experiential Learning class called “Cultural Perspectives: Awareness, Exposure and Engagement,” which includes 45 class lecture hours, plus 150 Experiential Learning work hours of hands-on activities and community engagement.
In certain cases, at the discretion of FUA’s Experiential Learning and Internship Department, a student may be required to take a preparatory class before being assigned to a placement. This will not only provide the student with the necessary theoretical background where necessary, but it will also allow the student to fully benefit from the experience. After successful completion of the course, the student may be re-evaluated for admission so an external internship or ELP.
Upon completing an internship or ELP, the student may request the following documentation to verify their participation:
- An official document confirming the student’s attendance
- Letter of recommendation from the on-site placement supervisor
- Any other document that is required by the student’s home institution must be filled out by the on-site placement supervisor. It will reflect the on-site placement supervisor’s opinion on the student’s performance and will refer strictly to the tasks carried out by the student during his/her placement. Any such documents may only be completed after completing the internship or ELP.
When will I know if I have a placement?
Most students receive their placements 2-4 weeks before the internship begins, although in some cases the process could be shorter or longer.
HELPFUL TIPS! To have the best possible chance of being hired, here are a few tips about the interview process:
- Take all Skype and in-person interviews seriously – you are interviewing for a job. If interviewing via Skype, dress appropriately and choose a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted or distracted. Consider what will appear behind you on the computer screen. Prepare a brief list of questions or things you would like to know about the placement, if asked.
- Please be aware that the company is making a significant investment of their time and resources. Likewise, by accepting an internship, you are making a commitment to that organization, which must be taken seriously. You will be expected to complete your internship in full and complete all of the work hours associated with your placement. Once you have been assigned a placement, you cannot drop or withdraw from it. In addition, you will be expected to put forth your best effort at all times. Just like going to class is required and any absences are documented, likewise, you are required to show up for work – on time, every time. No-shows are taken very seriously. Repeated no-shows or general lack of commitment to your internship can result in your placement being revoked, in which case you would not receive the credits you may have planned to earn.
- Don’t worry – the on-site internship coordinator or supervisor will help you understand what is expected of you. As long as you follow the advice given during orientation, you should have a successful internship experience!