Extern Tips and Responsibilities

The extern program serves many purposes. Students have a chance to see the inside of a career field for a short time, meet with professionals in the workplace, and make other contacts by living with alumni families. Swarthmore alumni have an opportunity to meet current students and learn about campus life today.

Student Externs are Ambassadors

  • Contact your extern workplace sponsor and host as soon as you are notified of your match.
  • Agree with your sponsor on starting times, location, directions and appropriate workplace attire. Make sure you know how to access the site via public transportation if necessary.
  • Always be on time; call if you must be delayed.
  • Confirm your dates of arrival and departure with your host, if you are staying with an alumni family. Be considerate of their home environment. Bring a small gift if you are able - something "Swattie" is always nice.
  • Bring current copies of The Phoenix and other campus publications of interest.
  • Write a short thank-you note to your sponsor and host after extern week ends.

Get the Most out of Extern Week

  • Ask your worksite sponsor for material, information, websites, etc. that would be helpful for you to review before your externship starts.
  • Be open-minded. Your externship may not be what you expect or exactly what you thought you requested. This is a learning opportunity so ask questions and ask to meet with other workplace colleagues when appropriate.
  • Be willing to work and observe. Most externships involve both shadowing/observing an alum and actual work. Because this is a short time period, work projects may or may not be as stimulating as, say, a seminar paper.
  • Everyone you meet is a possible career mentor and job/internship contact. One of the most important benefits of the program will be the contacts you make.
  • Collect lots of business cards and write thank-you notes to anyone who went out of their way to make your externship interesting and/or comfortable.
  • Enjoy yourself and the alums. You will find you have much in common!