Internships in Literature
Studying literature involves a great deal of reading, lots of writing, and several other types of classwork. However, an education in literature stretches beyond the classroom! Internships are a critical element of a well-rounded education in literature in terms of gaining experience and getting a full understanding of the discipline.
When overseas students start thinking about studying literature, it is likely they envisage countless hours spent attending lectures and sitting in libraries reading endless manuscripts. And it is true that this is a significant part of a literature program. But the internship is another vital aspect of a literature education and it is one that is frequently overlooked.
What is a Literature Internship?
You may be wondering what a literature internship is. Essentially, these are fairly low-level and short-term work placements in a particular field of work or business, or in this case in a literary field. The intention is to provide the intern with experience in a literature environment while they are studying for their degree. An internship usually involves a considerable amount of clerical or administrative work such as filing or copying materials. The work is often interspersed with more meaningful tasks such as attending meetings and undertaking other more responsible duties. In most cases, internships are unpaid to underline the learning nature of the placement. However, some summer placements differ a little from a class or lecture environment and may come with some financial reward. Working hours usually vary from eight hours to sixteen hours per week since less would not be much use and anything above could be viewed as taking advantage of the intern.
Most literature internships, including summer placements, are seldom confined solely to the place of work since there is still usually some academic obligations. Firstly, to ensure internships are legitimate learning environments as opposed to unsalaried work, the majority of schools stipulate that students join internship courses that will clock up some credits during placements. These so-called courses may be regular meetings, one-off meetings, intermittent meetings, or they may not be held at all, but they will account for some time on the student’s schedule. A further academic activity related to the internship is the requirement to submit a paper post-internship detailing the experience gained and what was learned.
What Purpose Does an Internship Serve?
So, now you know what an internship is, there is another question that comes to mind – what precisely is their point? Fundamentally, an internship serves the purpose of helping the student get some subject-related experience. However, that is not the sole purpose. An internship additionally helps the student apply the concepts they have learned in class in a real-life workplace, which is an important skill when it comes to finding full-time work. Literature internships also enable the student to start networking, which additionally makes the transition into the workplace easier after graduation. Last but not least, any type of internship demonstrates what the work is actually like so that the student can decide if it is right for them before committing to a proper job.
You should find there are lots of different types of internships in the literature field, but many of them will belong to the publishing sector, which is quite business-focused. This means that any students who are offered internships doing anything from proofreading and/or editing to administration will need to polish up their business skills to stand out. But you need not worry about this. While you might gain some advantage by taking business classes, you will be able to learn a lot of the necessary skills while you are in the job. As well as the business side, a lot of literature internships will undoubtedly expose you to some wonderful literature. Some of the less conventional internships may take you into the world of writing where you may get personal mentorship from a supervisor or experienced writer.
There is no denying that an internship is a fantastic way for overseas students to advance their literature education in the USA and progress professionally. Finding precisely the right internship may take time, but it is worth persevering! You will soon be gaining experience in an exciting and dynamic sector, applying what you learned in class, and building valuable contacts for the future.