International Studies 492

Internship Seminar
Summer 1997
Dr. Joan Serafin


Purpose of Assignment

The purpose of this assignment is to acquaint interns with the goals, activities, and procedures of the organizations and agencies in which they work.

Format, Length

Responses to this assignment must be typed (double-spaced) and should run approximately three to five pages in length. Head your paper a title, your name, date, and the name of the organization in which you work. Staple your paper in the upper left hand corner; please do not use clear plastic or other binding devices.

Methods of Gaining Information

Your task is to provide answers to the questions which appear below. You should use multiple methods for gaining information:

  1. Use appropriate documents and other printed materials.
  2. Use your powers of observation.
  3. Conduct interviews with two to four persons in your organization. Normally, you should plan on interviewing your immediate supervisor and a secretary. Interview one or two others if you think it would be useful. Do not undertake the interviews until you have thoroughly surveyed your other sources of information, the interviews should help you to acquire information you cannot find elsewhere and to clarify points about which you are not certain.

Questions to Answer

The questions which appear below are divided into seven topical areas. These seven areas should provide the organizing scheme for your written assignment. The specific questions asked in each area are meant to be suggestive; they cannot possibly be tailored to fit the wide range both governmental and non-governmental agencies and organizations in which interns serve. Keeping the purpose of the assignment in mind, you are encouraged to adjust specific questions to the specific circumstances in which you are working.

I. Purpose of the Agency of Organization

Is the organization in which you work appropriately described as an "agency" or not? Is the organization governmental or non-governmental? For what purpose was the organization established? Are the goals of the organization spelled out in a charter or some other written document? To what extent have the goals of the organization changed over time?

II. Bases of Authority

If you work in a governmental agency or organization, what is its legal basis? If you work in a non-governmental organization, how is it governed? Does it possess a formal charter? Is it registered with the government (e.g., as a lobbying group or as a corporation)? Is it subject to governmental regulation? Is it subject to formal professional standards?

III. Structure

Write a brief description of the internal structure of your organization. In terms of formal structure, who is in charge? Who reports to whom? A simple organizational chart would be helpful.

IV. Personnel

How many persons staff this organization and who are they? How are employees selected (e.g., is the agency subject to civil service hiring requirements)? What proportion of the organization's staff are professional? What proportion are clerical?


V. Budget

How is your organization funded (e.g., through tax money, grants, contributions, etc.)? Is it a profit or non-profit organization? What is the approximate size of its annual budget? Is funding sufficient to accomplish the organization's goals?

VI. Clientele

Does your organization serve particular clientele groups? Who are they? In what way does the organization interact with them?

VII. Relationship With Other Agencies and Organizations

To what extent does your organization interact with other organizations (both governmental and non-governmental)? Are these interactions marked by conflict or cooperation?