Return To Intern Program

Since 2013, the international undergraduate student population in the College of Engineering has grown considerably. Like domestic students, many international students want to obtain short-term co-curricular work experiences. While significant numbers of these students find internships with employers in the United States, this population could also benefit from expanded opportunities to gain practical work experience outside of the U.S.

The Return To Intern Program is designed to help international employers (or U.S. employers with global facilities) connect with Penn State international students who want to complete engineering internships in their home countries. Completing internships at home gives these students the opportunity to build real-world engineering skills in familiar environments and cultures; they can then use these experiences to enhance their employability either at home or abroad after graduation. From the employer perspective, there are also advantages to hiring interns to work in their home countries; for example, these interns do not require special work visas and they already speak the local language(s).

Program Basics

The Return To Intern Program structure is flexible and customizable according to individual employers' needs.

Employers will:

  • Determine the type of internship that is needed, major(s), timeframe, and compensation, if any (salary or stipend)
  • Create detailed job descriptions, including all required candidate criteria, and submit them to Engineering Career Resources & Employer Relations
  • Review applicant résumés
  • Make hiring decisions and communicate offers/rejections to applicants
  • Provide information that intern hires will need prior to beginning the work experience, e.g., details about arrival, housing options, onboarding/orientation, supervision, and appriopriate attire

Engineering Career Resources & Employer Relations staff will:

  • Advertise Return To Intern positions in Nittany Lion Careers, on the LinkedIn Global Engineering Career Connections page, and via email to targeted student populations
  • Collect résumés and forward them to employers for review

Recommendations

Even though students in the Return to Intern program are working in their home countries, they may not have any prior work experience either in their home country or in the U.S. In order to help them have positive and substantive internship experiences, we recommend the following best practices before, during, and after the hiring process.

Advertising/Selection

  • Ensure that the work you are offering is engineering-related, challenging for the interns, and valuable to the organization.
  • Provide detailed information for each internship you are advertising, including a job description, start/end dates, hours of work per week, majors and nationalities sought, and compensation (if any). We strongly recommend that employers offer interns pre-arranged housing or, at the very least, assistance in locating short-term housing options.

During the Hiring Process

  • Review application materials and choose candidates; communicate in a timely way with candidates about offers and rejections.
  • Once candidates have accepted offers, provide any needed pre-departure paperwork to them along with information about next steps—booking flights, arrival instructions, housing, etc.

After Arrival/During the Internship

  • Provide an orientation for both interns and supervisors during the first few days to ensure that everyone understands the expectations for the work assignment.
  • Have supervisors meet with interns within the first couple of weeks to see how they are adjusting to the workplace and to address any questions or concerns they may have; supervisors should follow up with regularly scheduled meetings throughout the internship.
  • Encourage interns to get to know employees within their work group/team and ask questions.
  • If you have multiple interns, consider organizing some after-hours social activities.

Wrap-Up

  • Supervisors should have exit interviews with interns to find out what they liked about the experience and what could be improved.
  • Provide a final evaluation of the interns' performance.

Contact

For more information about getting involved with the Return To Intern Program, contact Rick McClintic, Director.

 
 

Engineering Career Resources & Employer Relations

College of Engineering

117 Hammond Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4710

Phone: 814-863-1032