I had a student email me – asking if a winter internship meant that it only took place in the month of January. Here’s the deal….a “winter” internship or a“win-ternship” is a relatively new thing - it’s a new time for employers to welcome interns. And because it’s new – there is some confusion around the idea. Part of that confusion is because different schools have different winter breaks. For example, students from several universities went back to school weeks ago, while students from certain schools (like Hofstra) go back this Monday, and other schools (like Harvard) don’t go back until the end of the month. Not only are student’s schedules all over the place depending on what school they attend but company winter breaks are also at different times. For example, several production companies, agencies, and studios in Hollywood were closed for two weeks over the summer – while people in the finance/banking industry were working pretty regular hours during those times. Point being – “winter” means something different to every student and every company so the important thing is for students to ask and for companies to explain.
Students should ask their employers (before the internship starts) about the start-date and end-date of their internship. Employers should explain the start-dates and end-dates to students before the students start their internship. I suggest employers define the start-date and end-date of an internship in their initial offer letter to the students. If for some reason, you didn’t ask your employer when the internship ended and now you are getting scared the internship might not ever end, here are some tips:
1. First, ask a fellow intern if they know the end date of the internship. Also, check any internship orientation packets or emails that were sent to you when you were training or when you first got accepted. You want to make sure you didn’t miss anything.
2. Send your employer an email and kindly ask if you could have the end date of the internship. Tell them that you just wanted to make sure you put it in your calendar. You could also say, “I know this was a winter internship and I was curious which day would be my last day. I’ve really enjoyed my experience and got so much out of it!”
3. If you feel like you absolutely cannot ask your employer, I suggest going to your career center and asking your career center representative to call the employer for you, explain that you signed up for a winter internship, and ask what the end date is. If there are any problems with the end date, your career center can try to act as a middleman. And of course, should you ever feel uncomfortable at your internship – involve your career center, a professor, or a parent ASAP.