Thinking about an internship? Many of you will complete an internship while pursuing your degree at Western Michigan University, either with an organization in our region or abroad. In addition to the educational and professional opportunities that internships present, employers tell us that they like to see internship experiences on applicants' resumes.

As a global and international studies major or minor, you can take an internship for college credit. We offer a GIST 4980–Internships course for variable credit that allows students to earn course credit for these professional experiences. To obtain GIST 4980 credit, the internship must have an international and/or global component. In addition to one's internship duties, students meet with the course instructor approximately once a week to discuss and reflect on their internship experiences, various non-governmental and governmental organizations and programs, and these organizations' impacts on local and global efforts.

No. of credit hours No. of contact/internship hours
2 credits 3 to 4 hours per week
3 credits 5 to 9 hours per week
4 credits 10 to 12+ hours per week


 Student Testimonials

 "This summer I participated in The Fund for American Studies academic internship program. The program consisted of internships, lectures at George Mason University and a myriad of site briefings, tours of the U.S. Capitol, panel lectures, informational sessions and professional development seminars. It has been the busiest, most eventful two months of my college life. The internship took everything I’ve learned through GIST studies and showed me the exact career paths I can take. The program has honed my professionalism, boosted my confidence, and broadened my networks all throughout Washington, D.C." - Cheryl White, GIST major

Cheryl White, global and international studies major, in front of the U.S. Capitol during her internship in Washington, D.C.

"During my internship with Clean Water for the World, I was the Event Director for the annual Walk for Water. I was in charge of overseeing all logistical planning, as well as traveling throughout the community to bring awareness of the organization and the event to the public. I also made sure everything ran smoothly the day of the Walk for Water. My experience was incredibly beneficial, as I learned to become a better leader and coordinator, as well as public speaker. I can't thank them enough for the opportunities they gave me!" - Emily Sabourin, GIST major

Emily Sabourin, global and international studies major, during her internship with Clean Water for the World in Kalamazoo, MI

Application process

  1. Consider what type of experience you are looking for. Browse options online or make an appointment with us to explore internships opportunities and talk about your academic and career interests.
  2. Apply to the internship(s) you are interested in.
  3. Once you obtain an internship, fill out the GIST 4980 course application. You can drop it off at our office located at 2045 Moore Hall, or email us a copy.

The deadline to apply for spring 2021 internships is Friday, December 4, 2020.

Typically, our students complete internships for credit during the fall or spring semester. However, it is possible to do a summer internship for credit. For more information, contact us


  • Cultivate professional competence that will aid in securing employment after graduation.
  • Explore a career field while obtaining first-hand experience working in a job environment of interest.
  • Gain a deeper appreciation of concepts that we examine in the classroom.
  • Offer services, skills and fresh ideas to a work site or cause that is meaningful to you.
  • Receive mentoring from experienced professionals.

LOCAL Internships

Colleagues International
Kalamazoo-based non-profit organization which seeks to promote citizen diplomacy through professional and student exchange programs. The idea behind the organization is that everyone should have an opportunity to help shape U.S. foreign relations.

Michigan United
Michigan United is a non-profit organization which promotes justice and dignity in a variety of areas. One of those being immigration reform; working to protect immigrant rights and providing support for immigrants in the community. The internship would take place at their office in Kalamazoo working with the Kalamazoo Immigration Services Coordinator. Preference for Spanish speakers.

El Concilio
El Concilio is a non-profit organization which provides support and assistance to Latino families in the community with language, cultural, and legal barriers. Some of the free services they provide to families and individuals are translation, interpretation, immigration, and support with discrimination and other safety issues.

Great Lakes PeaceJam
PeaceJam is an international education program which aims to teach youth about leadership and how to create positive change in their communities and the world. Great Lakes PeaceJam is based in Kalamazoo.

Clean Water for the World
Clean Water For The World is a non-profit organization which provides inexpensive dependable safe drinking water systems at no charge to communities that don't have access to clean water. Clean Water For The World has delivered and installed these drinking water systems in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Haiti, Ghana, Kenya, and Ecuador.

Farmworker Legal Services of Michigan
Farmworker Legal Services is a non-profit, public-interest law firm. They provide free civil legal services and other support for migrant and seasonal farm workers. The internship would involve assisting with client intake, case support, and community outreach. FLS typically hires summer interns, but may accept interns during the year on a rolling basis. Spanish speakers are strongly preferred.

Immigration Assistance Program
The Immigration Assistance Program is housed under the Diocese of Kalamazoo. The program works with indigent immigrants, offering legal representation, information, and educational seminars. Interns must be fluent in Spanish.

Samaritas (formerly Lutheran Social Services of Michigan) is a non-profit organization that provides resettlement support for refugees in Michigan. As the largest resettlement agency in the state they have resettled thousands of people from Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and South America.

Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes
Loaves and Fishes is a non-profit organization working towards a hunger-free community by developing and executing programming that provides food to those who need it.

Michigan Immigrants Rights Center
MIRC is a non-profit resource center for advocates seeking equal justice for Michigan's immigrants. MIRC works to build a thriving Michigan where immigrant communities are fully integrated and respected.

CELCIS is the Center for English Language and Culture for International Students at Western Michigan University. CELCIS primarily works with international students and provides an intensive English language program along with cultural orientation. An internship could involve assisting CELCIS instructors with in-class activities and providing additional help to CELCIS students during instruction as needed.

Welcoming Michigan
Welcoming Michigan has a mission of building welcoming, immigrant-friendly communities in Michigan by spreading awareness and creating mutual respect. This is a Detroit-based non-profit, and this internship can be completed remotely.

Other Opportunities