About the Iranian Studies Initiative Internship

The Iranian Studies Initiative now offers a series of internship opportunities to undergraduate students who have taken courses in Persian, Iranian Studies, or Middle East Studies. We embarked on this project because in today’s economy an academic degree is no longer sufficient for finding desirable employment. It has become exceedingly important for college students to have work experience before graduation. Employers are more likely to recruit college graduates who have work experience because these individuals have professional and social expertise, different from academic achievements.

Students with work experience get along better with their new co-workers, and overall tend to be more productive. A university-sponsored internship is a unique opportunity for any student to gain such an experience. Unlike other jobs, nonprofit organizations that offer internships to university students and the university coordinator of the internship, make sure the workload does not interfere with the students’ academic schedule. In addition, students are often employed in mid-career tasks, rather than entry-level positions, and are helped by their supervisors.

The internships that are offered by the Iranian Studies Initiative have the additional advantage of introducing students to nonprofit Iranian-American organizations, where the students’ knowledge of Persian and/or Iranian Studies can be enhanced and create additional employment opportunities after graduation. We hope all our students take advantage of this exceptional opportunity and increase their chances of succeeding in their chosen career after graduation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q 1. Who can apply for the internship?

A. Any undergraduate student at UCSB who has taken either Persian language classes or courses in Iranian Studies may apply for the internship. You need to have a GPA of 3.0 or above and be recommended by one of our instructors for the program

Q 2. Where would I be placed?

A. You will be placed in a non-profit organization engaged in philanthropic activities and service to the community. At least some of the work of the association will be with the immigrant Iranian-American community.

Q 3. What is the duration of the Internship and how many credits will I receive?

A. The internship will be for one quarter (10 weeks) but may be extended for two quarters (20 weeks). You are expected to devote 6-8 hours a week to the Internship. 

You will sign up for an upper division practicum Pass/No Pass class. This class is offered through the Department of Feminist Studies. You receive 4 credits for each quarter.

Q 4. What do I need to do to receive my Pass/No Pass grade?

A. You are asked to write a paper or keep a weekly journal of your activities, which you turn in to Professor Afary at the end of your internship. In addition, Ms. Jalali, the assistant coordinator of the program, will confirm with the agency liaison that you have fulfilled your hours and responsibilities.

What would my obligations and responsibilities be to the non-profit organization?

  1. You may be asked to create a power point, update the website of the organization, interview people over the phone, or provide tutoring services for elementary and high school students whose parents are immigrants and have difficulty with English.  
  2. You might be engaged in research for legal and journalist cases.  If you are fluent in Persian, you may be asked to translate brochures from English to Persian or work with at-risk youth.
  3. During summer internships you might be asked to volunteer at galas and fundraisers of the organization or meet with clients at the office.

Q 5. Would the internships be on-line or on site?

A. During the academic year we will only offer on-line internships, including via Skype.  You may qualify for summer internships if your hometown is in the greater Los Angeles area, San Jose, or San Diego, and we have identified a willing non-profit organization in your location.

Q 6. Would I be paid for the program?

A. You will not be paid for the program and must also register for the internship as you do for any other course.

Q 7. Will I receive a certificate?

A. The non-profit will provide you with a letter of recommendation or a certificate of commendation upon successful completion of your work.