Self-developing your own co-op might be more time consuming than the more common co-ops offered through Northeastern. You need to do a significant amount of research and reach out to companies. This experience, however, will be very rewarding, as it will be based on your academic and professional interests and goals. I have always been very passionate about working with children and in the field of social services, and therefore developed my own co-op, working as a Legal Guardian in Germany in Spring 2016. Here are the steps I took. I recommend keeping the following in mind when finding and developing your next co-op!
1. Inform your Co-op Coordinator about your interest in pursuing a self-developed co-op:
When thinking about your internship/co-op, you need to meet with your co-op advisor and discuss all the possibilities Northeastern already has to offer. Some things you need to keep in mind:
- Areas of interest and passion
- Location (in-state, out-of-state, or global)
- Workplace environment
- Finances (budget)
2. Start contacting potential companies and employers:
It is important to start contacting companies you are interested in as soon as possible. Since you have to do a lot of work yourself, you need to be very organized and plan your deadlines appropriately. There are some companies that are not familiar with the co-op program that Northeastern has and the requirements for both the student and the employer. Here are the criteria the employer needs to be aware of when hiring and working with a co-op student:
- co-op duration is typically 6 months in length
- co-ops are typically paid a wage (determined by the employer)
- The student is expected to work at least 35 hours per week
- self-developed co-ops need to be approved and vetted through the co-op advisor to ensure the co-op is meeting Northeastern standards
Like with any other internship/co-op opportunity, you will most likely be asked to have an interview with the employer. This can be in the form of an in-person meeting, via Skype, by phone or email. It is very important to prepare for this in advance and to become familiar with the company you are interviewing for.
4. Confirm your position with your co-op coordinator and employer:
Students must confirm their co-op positions with their co-op coordinator to ensure the co-op is suitable for them and their program (major/concentration, etc.)
5. Now, you are ready to start your exciting self-developed co-op!
Christina Zupanc is a 3rd year English major with a minor in International Affairs. She spent her first co-op in Germany working as a legal guardian. She enjoys traveling, reading and cooking. Email: email@example.com