Extern Program

Extern Program Registration is now open for alumni, parents and friends of the college.

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2015 Extern Week will take place January 12-16, 2015.

What is an Externship?

The Swarthmore Extern Program is a five day job-shadowing program designed to enable students to explore a particular field of interest.  You can think of it as a mini-internship.  The program will take place annually during January.   Workplace sponsors are alumni or parents of students who allow students to visit them in their places of work to learn more about their careers.  You may also volunteer to be homestay hosts, inviting students to stay in your home during the externship.  Some people choose to serve in both roles (and we love that!).  

Be an Extern Sponsor

It's easy to be a successful extern sponsor:  student externs want to learn about career options and life in the working world and you have something to share.  Your experience in and insight about your career field and workplace are very valuable.  Think about what you do in your job.  We all have many varied responsibilities and opportunities in different areas.  We also have relationships with other individuals and organizations that will be of interest to Swarthmore students.  Thinking broadly and precisely about what your work is like and describing it clearly on your registration form will help you plan a valuable externship and increase the likelihood that you will have a motivated, well-matched extern. 

You can arrange many activities for an extern: externs "shadow" their sponsors and may work on a specific, but limited, project.  Student externs do not expect to be paid.  Although some clerical work is OK, it should not dominate the week.  An extern is not required to spend the entire week with you.  In fact, we encourage you to have the student spend time with your colleagues both in your organization and, if appropriate, at other similar organizations.  Your extern may attend meetings or lunches with you and your colleagues; you may assign a short research project; or you may simply give the student background information on your career and organization.  An afternoon off to sightsee for a student visiting your city for the first time is also appropriate and often appreciated.

We need homestay hosts, too!

Perhaps you wish to participate but cannot have a student in your workplace.  We can use your help as well!  Many students travel to different cities for the extern program.  Since the students are not compensated, homestays are an essential aspect of the program.  Typically, the students arrive on the Sunday prior to extern week and stay for the full week.  You can coordinate with your student how to manage mealtimes and travel details.