Undergraduate Study
Abroad Program


The Siena Art Institute cultivates an ongoing list of potential sponsors (individual artists, educators, and other professionals) who are receptive to sponsoring interns.   Interships can be arranged on non-credit or credit-granting structures.  The transfer of internship credit to students' home institutions depends largely on the requirements of their home institutions. 

Potential sponsors include: art teachers, studio artists, architects, graphic designers, gallery managers, art restorers, art therapists, museum educators, museum registrars, curators, photographers, journalists, etc.  The placement for internships depends greatly of students' knowledge of Italian language.  There are many more opportunities for students with prior knowledge of Italian, at intermediate or advanced level, but intership opportunities are available for students at the beginning level of Italian language study, such as internships in art education for children.

The internships are meant to be educational, allowing students to learn about the nature of a particular profession.  Interns can expect to do some menial tasks, since menial tasks are part of nearly any occupation.  However, in addition sponsors should also assign interns more meaningful projects that will allow them to develop an understanding of this particular profession.  Interns will have the opportunity to shadow and assist their sponsors to get a sense of what a typical workday is like for their sponsor.  Interns should also be assigned small projects to work on with a degree of independence.  

For credit-granting internships, the intern will be assigned a specific individual sponsor, although they may work with other colleagues of their sponsor, depending on the nature of the office/organization.  However, having one primary contact person is important to make sure that the intern is being kept track of, and that the intern does not have too many or too few demands being placed on them.  

Along with their professional sponsor, the intern will also have an intern advisor at The Siena Art Institute. The faculty advisor will be the intern’s primary contact person at The Siena Art Institute, and will help to negotiate any issues that may arise during the internship.  The advisor will conduct a mid-term on-site visit to meet with the intern and their sponsor, to make sure that the experience is going well for both parties.  The advisor will also review the intern’s final internship report, and will grant credit for the work completed. 

Credits: Equivalent for full course= appx 2 days per week (14 hrs)
    Equivalent for half-course= appx 1 day per week (7 hrs)

    Students could also choose to intern for less than 1 day per week, but will receive no credit.

Grading: Internships will be offered on a pass/fail basis, unless the student’s home institution requires a letter grade.  

Potential grading rubric: 

15% Pre-internship self-evaluation
15% Mid-term self-evaluation
50% Final project
20% Final self-evaluation

Attendance:  Interns are required to attend 4 mandatory meetings with their faculty advisor (pre-internship, mid-term, meeting with sponsor, and final meeting.)  The intern may choose to have additional meetings with their advisor, but these four meetings are mandatory.  The student is required to show up to work on time, and to work the required number of hours for their internship’s credit-level.  If a student has signed up for a full-course credit internship, but during the semester their schedule becomes busy such that they have to cut back on hours, they can choose to receive half-course credit rather than full-course credit.  The Siena Art Institute will not grant quarter-class credit for interns who complete less than 7 hrs of work per week.  However, students can choose to work less than 7 hrs per week for a non-credit internship.

Compensation:  Internships will be unpaid.

Step 1:  During the first two weeks of orientation, students can choose to select one or more options from a list of potential internship sponsors (business, organizations, individuals, etc.) who have been screened by Siena Art Institute staff.  Students understand that they are applying to the internship just as they would apply for a job, and that there is no guarantee they will be offered the internship.  Students are encouraged to talk with the internship faculty advisor(s) during this time, to get guidance about selecting an internship.

Step 2: Students will write a cover letter and send their resume to their potential sponsor(s).  If the sponsor is interested, they will schedule and conduct an interview with the student.  The interview allows the student to see if the internship will suit their interests, and for the sponsor to see if the student is qualified for the internship position. 

Step 3: After the interview, if the student is offered the internship, they will set up a work schedule with their sponsor.  One day (appx 7 hrs) a week =half course credit.  Two days (appx 14 hrs) a week= full course credit. The internship begins after the language intensive orientation weeks.

Step 4: Before the internship begins, the intern will complete a pre-internship self-evaluation, explaining what they hope to get out of their internship.  They will submit this report to their faculty advisor, and will meet with their advisor to discuss their internship plans.  Students are encouraged to share a copy of this initial report with their sponsor during the first day of their internship.

Step 5: During the first day of the internship, the intern should shadow their sponsor to understand what a typical workday is like.   During the following days, the sponsor may have the intern continue to follow and assist them with their daily tasks, or they may assign their intern a project to work on independently.  This dynamic will depend on the nature of the occupation.  

Step 6:  The intern will complete a mid-term self-evaluation to explain how the internship is going, what they are learning, and what they are hoping to accomplish by the end of the semester.  This will be handed in to their faculty advisor. This self-evaluation will be a confidential document, and will not be shared with the sponsor, to permit the student to speak frankly about their experience.  The intern will have a brief meeting with their faculty advisor to discuss this self-evaluation, and to candidly discuss how the internship is progressing.  They will also discuss plans for the intern’s final project.

Step 7: The faculty advisor and intern will schedule a time to meet together with the sponsor.  This is meant to be a casual, friendly visit, an opportunity for the faculty advisor to confirm how the internship is progressing, and what type of projects the intern will be working on during the second half of the semester, and what the culminating “final project” will be.

Step 8:  The internship will continue.  Along with day-to-day tasks, the sponsor will assign the intern one or more independent projects to work on.  This will allow the intern to develop a degree of professional credibility for the time spend in their internship.  

Step 9:  The intern will complete a “final project” by the end of their internship.  This project will be the equivalent of a final exam, and will be 50% of the intern’s grade for the internship, if a letter grade is needed.  The project could be completed gradually during the course of the semester, or it could be completed towards the end of the semester.  This will depend largely on the nature of the internship.  The final project is meant to represent the intern’s work and accomplishments, and could take many forms (a journal, a photo book, or video documenting the internship experience, OR a professional portfolio of projects created during the internship, OR one or more major project(s) created independently during the course of the internship (a booklet, a website, etc.)

Step 10: The intern will complete a final self-evaluation, to reflect on the experience of the internship, and its final outcomes.  This evaluation is confidential and will not be shared with the sponsor, only the faculty advisor, to permit the intern to speak frankly.  The intern, however, is encouraged to meet with their sponsor at the end of their internship to reflect on the experience and to discuss the intern’s future career plans.  They may ask their sponsor to write them a letter of recommendation for future jobs.

Step 11: The intern will meet with their faculty advisor to discuss the results of the internship and to turn in their final projects and final self-evaluations.  If schedules permit, this could be a group meeting, where all interns can get together and share their experiences.  

The Siena Art Institute will also ask sponsors to write final evaluations of the internship, to assist us in improving the experience for future internships. 

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