This blog is written by Sarah, part of our Ohio University Intern Queen blogging network. If you attend Ohio University and would like to blog for Intern Queen please comment on this blog!
While some of my fellow students are blessed to reside in large cities teeming with internship possibilities, I attend college in a small town of about 70,000 people. For this reason, I have expanded my internship search beyond the boundaries of my college town and into much larger cities like New York City and Los Angeles. After many applications and a long interview process, I am proud to say I’ll be interning for Celebuzz in Hollywood, CA this summer. The only snag? It takes a little more cash to afford a three-month stay in California than it does to live in my small town.
For this reason, I took a few necessary steps to ensure great experience sans debt.
1. Online Internships – I encourage students to seek online, paid internships before pursuing positions that force you to relocate. Before landing my internship in Hollywood, I worked as the social media executive for a Chicago-based company. This completely virtual internship allowed me to earn a steady paycheck while working from the comfort of my dorm room. Every penny of those paychecks have contributed to my ‘Hollywood fund.’ My online internship has been a key component to funding an internship outside of my hometown and has even doubled as resume-worthy experience.
2. Grants – Go ahead and sign up for those scholarship offers online but also consider looking closer to home. I was able to earn a grant through the foundation that helps to fund the journalism school I attend. The grant provides a set amount of money to fund my internship, and I never have to pay it back. The perk of competing for a grant offered by my university is that I am not competing on such a large scale. Never underestimate the opportunities provided by your college program.
3. Bargain hunt – Even with a grant and a few small paychecks in tow, I still had trouble finding an apartment in Hollywood that fit my budget. Solution? My friend pointed out a great housing forum created by UCLA students. The students were hard pressed to find a roommate for the summer and gave me a much lower price than what I’d pay at a high-demand apartment complex. The best part? No ten or twelve-month lease to lock into. Plus, I have the added bonus of two great roommates. While moving to a big city can be scary, it does not have to be overly expensive. I strongly suggest checking into student housing options within the city you’ll be interning.
4. Befriend natives – Befriending students familiar to the area you’ll be interning can be very beneficial. Through suggestions from friends in LA, I have composed a list of cheap eateries, grocery stores and places that offer entertainment. Though I can just as easily read a Frommer’s Travel Guide, students native to the area have provided me with greater insight to cheaper, less touristy attractions. They have also provided me with much cheaper transportation options than what I was able to find online.
These simple tips have definitely lowered my LA living expenses and have made the entire experience possible. I’m happy to say this is one experience that will reside solely on my resume and not on my pocketbook.