Taking Advantage of Summer Opportunities

The summer is an important time for Columbia College students, giving them the opportunity to apply skills gained through their Core courses and in their majors and to acquire real-world experiences that foster career exploration and prepare them for the future. Summer internships, global opportunities and research experiences are an extension of our liberal arts education, challenging our students to adapt to new environments, giving them exposure to different ways of thinking and helping them develop skills and learning agilities that will benefit them throughout their lives.

Columbia Experience Overseas Program in Seoul

Dean James J. Valentini with students in the Columbia Experience Overseas Internship program at a reception for the Core to Commencement Campaign in Seoul in June.


Each summer, hundreds of College students intern, study abroad or do research through Columbia-sponsored programs, and hundreds of others acquire jobs on their own or through LionSHARE, our online jobs and internships database. This past summer, our students worked at art museums, community based-organizations, public health organizations, film production companies, theater companies, law firms, financial service agencies and startups. They also traveled to Amman, Beijing, Hong Kong, London, Mumbai, Seoul, Shanghai and Singapore for internships; studied language, literature, archaeology, environmental sustainability and business on Columbia global programs; and did research in libraries and labs on campus and around the world.

In fact, one of the distinguishing qualities of a Columbia College education is access to so many of these experiences. We offer one of the highest number of internships compared to our peers; last year, 8,624 internships were posted on LionSHARE. We’re also offering more summer global opportunities than ever before, including unique programs related to students’ coursework like Art and Music Humanities in Paris, an archaeology program at Hadrian’s Villa outside Rome, and a language and business program in Shanghai.

Three years ago, we kicked off the Presidential Global Fellowship, which funds rising sophomores to study on a Columbia global program during the summer.

We have also increased summer support for students. Funds from the Alumni and Parent Internship Fund and the Work Exemption Program can now be used for low-paying internships (below minimum wage) as well as unpaid internships. This past summer we gave out the greatest amount of APIF funding ever, to 108 students, and supported 91 Columbia College students through WEP. And we have several new funds — including several gifts from alumni and friends — for students interning at start-ups, working at nonprofits engaged in the prevention of genocide and mass atrocities, and studying in Japan, Poland or Israel.

We know that there are still obstacles that prevent our students from taking full advantage of summer opportunities. Housing costs can be expensive in New York or in any city that isn’t the student’s hometown, and housing and travel costs can be significant for studying abroad. This is why one of our goals through Core to Commencement, our campaign to enhance our undergraduate experience, is to guarantee every student at least one fully-funded summer opportunity. I have also enlisted the Board of Visitors to determine how the College can enhance the summer experience, better prepare our students to take advantage of these opportunities and help students take advantage of the opportunities open to them.

We know that even more students are looking for summer internship opportunities that are relevant to their studies and to their post-graduation plans, and that many students consider study abroad experiences necessary to be competitive in the job market. We want to provide them with opportunities to develop teamwork and collaboration, to learn research methods, to build communication skills and technological literacy, and to develop expertise in a particular field so they can build upon that to develop their

careers and prepare for their lives after Commencement.

Dean James J. Valentini
James J. Valentini


To read about experiences some College students had this past summer and to learn about available internship funding programs, go to How I Spent My Summer Vacation.