Digital Internships

The Iranian Studies Initiative now offers a series of digital internship opportunities to undergraduate students who have taken courses in Iranian Studies or Middle East Studies. These internships pair students with nonprofit Iranian-American and Afghan organizations in this country and abroad.

This class is offered through the Department of Religious Studies. The internship will be for one quarter but may be extended for up to three quarters.  Each quarter students are expected to devote six (6) hours a week to the internship.  Students sign up for either RGST 98 (if they are first year or second year students) or RGST 198 (if they are third and fourth year students). Students turn in weekly or bi-weekly reports, as well as a final report of their internship. Upon successful completion of the internship they receive (four) 4 credits and a letter grade. 


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 or Middle East Studies may apply for the internship. Any undergraduate student at UCSB who has taken either Persian language classes OR courses in Iranian Studies or Middle East Studies may apply for the internship. A GPA of 3.2 or above OVER THE LAST THREE QUARTERS is required.


Q 2. Where would I be placed?

A. You will work digitally with a non-profit organization engaged in philanthropic activities and service to the community. At least some of the work of the organization will be with the immigrant Iranian-American community or the Afghan community. You may also work with the Santa Barbara Transition House, which helps victims of domestic violence, and has some Middle Eastern residents. 


Q. 3. What would my obligations and responsibilities be to the non-profit organization?

  1. You may be asked to edit an English language journal of Afghan students, 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 may be engaged in research for legal, mental health, or journalistic cases.  If you are fluent in Persian, you may be asked to translate materials from English to Persian (Dari)
  3. You may be asked to digitize Persian (Dari) journals, books, and music from the mid to late 20th century


Q 4. Would the internships be on-line or on site?

A. During the academic year we mostly 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 5. Would I be paid for the program? 

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


Q 6. When and how will I perform the assigned duties. 

A. Each week, your supervisor from the organization will give you a series of tasks that are to be completed that week. You then complete these tasks at a time that best suits you. It could be in the evenings or during the weekend. You report back to your supervisor and she will then give you the next assignment. 


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.


For any additional information please contact:

Janet Afary, Director of the Iranian Studies Initiative (