Why you should consider an internship: Advice from fellow CFA students

October 26 2020

I feel that my internship was the most valuable piece of my arts education. It made me feel well-equipped to enter the workforce upon graduation and helped me understand what design is like outside of the classroom, as well as who I am as a designer. I am grateful for the opportunity I had and will cherish the experience forever.
Steph Shotorbani, Department of Art & Art History

You've heard the advice from a myriad sources. Everyone from your academic advisor to your successful aunt is telling you: Get an internship. 

And it's true. Taking on an internship while you are still completing your degree is one of the best ways to expand your network, gain experiential learning, and hone in on what your future career may look like. But in the big wide world of employment, how do you know where to begin? And will it be worth the extra effort? 

Wouldn't it be nice if you could hear from fellow College of Fine Arts students, who share your background and many of your same resources, on how they completed internships and what they gained from it? 

Your wish is our command. 

Insights from an Intern is a Finer Points blog series where students from the College of Fine Arts (from all five academic units!) are interviewed about their unique internship experiences — they tell you where they worked, who they met, what they learned, and (best of all) give you advice to go find your own dream opportunity. 

A new student interview will be released monthly on the blog, but we have already published quite a few for you to browse. To get your imagination flowing, here are some of the best quotes from students just like you.

jordan ifai
"One of the main pieces of knowledge I acquired during my internship was figuring out precisely what I wanted to do. I had the chance to meet and chat with people across many different parts of the film industry and those conversations helped me to ultimately realize where I belong in the process of making movies and television. It was invaluable to understand what I didn't like as equally important to know what I do like. Additionally, I was able to sharpen and hone in my people skills. Being able to work with any type of personality is vital in accomplishing any task. I walked away with new confidence in how to work with different people and communicate effectively."
-Jordan Boge, Department of Film & Media Arts 

aileen ifai

It never hurts to be candid about your interest. I spent a lot of time in college thinking that I couldn't tell someone that I wanted to work with them because it defied some sort of social code or hierarchy. But especially with artists, collaboration tends to be part of the gig, and a lot of organizations want to know that you're interested in the work they're doing, not just signing up for the credit or the external rewards of it. That goes for pursuing an internship as well as projects once you're actually involved in the internship itself.
-Aileen Norris, School of Dance 

mailthi ifai


While my arts education has been of utmost value in helping me to develop as an individual designer and artist, my internship gave me perspective on how and where those skills fit in as a small cog part of a much larger machine.  
- Malithi Gunawardena, Department of Art & Art History



kylie ifaiMy internship really complimented my art education by stretching my skills beyond what I thought I could do with them. Students in an art major by necessity are creative and driven. These skills are amazing for creating art but can be reapplied in so many situations. For example, my internship allowed me to realize that cold-calling an organization was similar to performing a duet. I had to rehearse what I was going to say and then perform and communicate just like I would do on the stage. So many of our talents as creatives are imperative to being successful and we already have an innate understanding of how to tap into that energy. 
-Kylie Howard, School of Music 


jessica ifai


The knowledge I gained and the contacts I made are going to be very helpful as I transition into working as an actor out of school. I met professionals from all over and all have been so helpful in giving insight into how this theatre business works.- Jessica Weyman, Department of Theatre 




Explore the possibilities of internships with ArtsForce and beyond!