Every year thousands of American college students pack their suitcases and head off on the adventure of their lives. In addition to studying abroad, Ithaca College students have the opportunity to earn credits and take advantage of internships away from South Hill through Ithaca’s own programs in New York City, Los Angeles, and London.
One of the foremost intersections of culture and commerce in the world, New York City is the perfect option for students who are interested in the fast-paced fields of communications, business, and the arts. The program is open to students from all five schools for the fall and spring semesters. If students so choose, their very first experience in the city could be arranging their own housing through the program while studying and working.
In addition to taking classes at the Club Quarters World Trade Center location, which is managed directly by IC, students intern at prestigious companies such as Hearst Magazines, Madison Square Garden (see related story Courting Success), and G2. Students draw on connections with thousands of Ithaca alumni in the greater New York area to gain valuable networking experience.
“To me, the program is an opportunity for both companies and students,” says Michael Kaplan ’85, direct marketing instructor and vice president and group account director at G2 USA. “Interns aren’t just there for one or two hours per day—they’re working full days for most of each week for 15 weeks.”
Kaplan describes ICNYC as a “rich environment” that helps students grow in more than simply academic or professional ways.
“This is enhanced reality 101,” he says. “It’s a great real-time experience, and if you’re looking to really test the waters, this is it.”
Students at the James B. Pendleton Center in Los Angeles complete internships in communications fields, including film and television, public relations, journalism, and photography. While taking classes, students live in apartments leased by the college and are classified as on-campus residents. Colleen Cunha ’13 says the availability of the Los Angeles program played a role in her decision to go to Ithaca College. She currently interns four days per week at The Morning After, a five-minute sketch comedy on Hulu. Cunha says she feels empowered by her experience.
"I did exactly what the writers did,” she says. “I had just as much input as everyone else. I’m lucky because it was a small enough company that I was able to get to know everyone right away. They trusted me, and they liked my writing. I didn’t feel like an intern. I felt like a writer.”
The L.A. program is only open to students in the School of Communications. As with ICNYC, the program is open in the fall and spring semesters, but, unlike ICNYC, it also has a summer program. Students are able to draw on the existing connections with the more than 2,000 IC alumni in the broader Los Angeles area and have access to an extensive database of organizations and companies. Cunha’s own internship was the result of networking with previous interns.
Like Cunha, Brittany Gilpin ’12 also decided to attend IC partly because of the Los Angeles program and, because of her experience, she feels as though she’s found a career path in public relations that suits her.
“I feel like I’ve found something that I’m excited to go to every day and work hard at,” says Gilpin. “It’s challenging and rewarding. It’s everything I am looking for in a career.”
Founded in 1972, the Ithaca College London Center has operated as one of the first U.S.-based study-abroad programs of its kind. Like the L.A. program and ICNYC, the London Center is managed directly by Ithaca College and is open to students from all five schools.
Ryan Cluett ’12, a history major, studied at the IC London Center last spring. While there, he took classes in art and British history, and interned at the Royal Artillery Museum. Cluett worked with the curators of the museum and developed workshops and classes for visiting students.“I got to help with most every aspect of the museum’s operation,” Cluett says. “Being in London for the internship was terrific and made my time there even more worthwhile.”
Rachel Cullenen, coordinator for the Office of International Programs, says the London Center is an excellent option for students who are unsure about where they want their experience abroad to take them.
“London is a gateway city to Europe,” she says. “It’s a great way for students to introduce themselves to a culture that is different from their own but not so different that they’re likely to suffer any real culture shock. They’re going to be able to use their language, but they’re also going to have at their doorstep the multiculturalism that is London, as well as that of so many other countries.”
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Fuse is a student produced publication about the Ithaca College experience. All content in the print and web versions of Fuse is developed by current Ithaca College students in a breadth of different areas of study.