3p Weekend: 8 Unique Internships That Make Learning Fun

With a busy week behind you and the weekend within reach, there’s no shame in taking things a bit easy on Friday afternoon. With this in mind, every Friday TriplePundit will give you a fun, easy read on a topic you care about. So, take a break from those endless email threads and spend five minutes catching up on the latest trends in sustainability and business.

In the Grand Canyon, interns at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (No. 8) experience a little Mars on Earth.
In the Grand Canyon, interns at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (No. 8) experience a little Mars on Earth.

Internships are vital for any student thinking about their future, but choosing an internship can be tricky. They often range from the dull (think: picking up bagels for the morning meeting) to the downright exploitative (unpaid internships without college credit).

But have no fear, eager employee-in-the-making. With a bit of digging, you can find an internship that provides real work experience — and a whole lot of fun. Read on for eight offbeat internships that make learning fun.

1. PwC: Travel while making an impact

PwC’s summer internships give students a taste of a real work environment, where they can pick up new skills and experiences to help them shape their careers. And through its international development program, Project Belize, interns can also travel outside the U.S. to make a difference.

Each year, PwC sends 150 interns — along with top execs from the company and even retired partners — to Belize City, Belize, to teach financial literacy to nearly 1,500 students. Throughout the years, Project Belize has become one of the most competitive programs within the firm: Out of the thousands who apply, less than 400 are selected to participate.

For more information on the program, check out our editor-in-chief, Jen Boynton’s, interview with PwC’s Shannon Schuyler.

Learn more here.

2. Nike: Sustainable design and a heap of benefits

As an intern for Nike, don’t expect to organize files or grab the boss coffee. As Nike puts it, interns are “vital contributors to the company’s relentless pursuit of advancing human potential.” Those are pretty big words, but this internship is awesome enough to back them up.

In Nike’s paid internship program, undergraduate and graduate students get a full immersion into the brand and company culture. They interact with company leaders while working on real projects in teams from practically every area of the company, including design, global communications, digital and technology, finance, and supply chain.

As an added perk, interns gain access to Nike’s world-class facilities and employee benefits, including product discounts. With opportunities across the globe, from the Nike World Headquarters, to Europe and China, students with a wanderlust can also use it as a chance to travel.

Learn more here.

3. Six Flags: Management experience and free roller-coaster rides

Looking to gain management experience without spending a semester cooped-up in a stuffy basement office? This truly one-of-a-kind internship with Six Flags Great America and Hurricane Harbor may be just the ticket.

In this paid program, interns gain experience in staff supervision, as well as training, and they even get to experience what it’s like on the other side of the interview table. Interns also receive college credit — not to mention other perks like subsidized housing, exclusive events with company execs and free theme park access.

Learn more here.

4. Doctors Without Borders: Gain experience with a cause you care about

With a paid internship for Doctors Without Borders, students will gain a basic introduction to the field of international medical humanitarian aid and advocacy. Interns will gain valuable experience directly from team members in one of five departments: communications, development, program, human resources and executive. All interns will work out of the organization’s headquarters in New York City and must be willing to relocate for the duration of the internship.

Learn more here. 

5. Smithsonian Institute: Embrace culture with mentor-based learning

Internships with the Smithsonian Institute are learning experiences guided by a mentor, occurring during a specific time frame, which provide “benefits relating to an intern’s education, coursework or career goals.” For any intern looking to gain real-life work experience that’s in line with their passions, this is the perfect setup.

While the Institute offers internship opportunities in dozens of locations, competition is fierce, so be sure to sign up early.

Learn more here.

6. Student Conservation Association: Get outdoors while protecting the environment

The Student Conservation Association offers a wide variety of opportunities for high school graduates, college students and recent college grads. Interns under 21 can apply for its Young Adult Programs, which range from water quality monitoring, forestry and archaeology to communications.

Positions are scattered at national parks across the country, meaning no two experiences are alike. And all include plenty of time in the outdoors.

Interns in the Young Adult category receive housing and a weekly stipend. Applicants over 21 with relevant outdoor experience can also apply for a Field Leader position: short- and long-term paid roles leading youth or young adults in SCA conservation crews and projects.

Learn more here. 

7. MillerCoors: Beer tasting and a shot at full-time employment

Want to take your love of beer to the next level? Look no further than this 12-week internship with MillerCoors. Interns meet regularly with company leadership and work on real projects that are important to company growth.

They’ll also have plenty of fun along the way, with beer tastings and special events. Interns also lead committees with a budget to help plan additional service, sports and social activities. Through the company’s unique Brew Crew Intern Network, students can also network with MillerCoors employees at various levels across divisions.

Learn more here. 

8. NASA: Prepare for your childhood dream

Did you grow up dreaming of being an astronaut? Get a bit closer to making it a reality with an internship with the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. The center’s internship opportunities are designed to provide high school, undergraduate and graduate students with experiences that “motivate and prepare them for careers aligned with Goddard and its industry and university partners,” NASA said.

Interns will learn about science, engineering, business, communications or education alongside real NASA employees and even take trips to enrich the experience. As you may expect, NASA’s internships are highly competitive, so be sure to plan ahead.

Learn more here.

Image credit: Flickr/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Mary Mazzoni

Based in Philadelphia, Mary Mazzoni is the senior editor of TriplePundit. She is also a freelance journalist with a passion for storytelling and sustainability. Her work has appeared in the Philadelphia Daily News, Earth911, the Huffington Post, Sustainable Brands and the Daily Meal.

Mary is a lifelong vegetarian with an interest in climate resilience, clean tech and social justice. You can contact her at mary@triplepundit.com.