Field Experience in General. For basic information about the field experience, consult the Field Experience Starter Kit or the MA in International Studies Handbook.
1. How long are international field experiences typically?
International field experiences should be at least 10 weeks. We recommend that you spend the entire period in one culture and at one time. Other arrangements, however, are possible. Consult with the Field Experience Supervisor.
2. I have already spent a period of time in an international setting (e.g. undergraduate study abroad, military service, professional activities). Does this count toward my international field experience?
Remember that students don't receive credit for the time that they spend in an international setting. They receive credit for successful completion of the field experience portfolio. In exceptional cases, students will be allowed to use a prior field experience as the basis for their portfolio. Students with prior international experience may want to discuss this possibility with the MA in International Studies Field Experience Supervisor.
3. What are the necessary steps in applying for a visa to travel to another country?
Assistance with visa procedures is available from the Office of International Affairs. Consult Ms. Rhonda Brown.
4. Can I purchase health insurance for the period that I will be out of the country?
Low cost health insurance is available through the Office of International Affairs.
5. Are there any other formalities that I need to take care of before leaving on my field experience?
You must complete and sign a liability waiver form before leaving. A copy is available on the MA in International Studies Director's personal web page or from the Office of International Affairs.
6. How do I receive credit for the two field experience classes? How will I be graded?
Students do not receive credit merely for the time they spend in an international experience, whether on an immersion program or an internship. They receive credit for completing the field experience portfolio satisfactorily under the supervision of the Field Experience Supervisor, who currently directs the MA in International Studies Program.
The grading criteria can be found in the MA in International Studies Handbook, which is available on-line.
7. If something goes wrong while doing the internship or study immersion, will I be able to communicate with MA in International Studies directors and seek help/guidance?
You should report to the MA in International Studies Field Experience Supervisor at regular intervals during the field experience (e.g., by e-mail, fax, letter). An on-site supervisor is highly recommended where possible; this person can provide us with a second contact in case of an emergency.
8. When would be a good time to register for fall classes if I am in a location for the summer where there is no Internet access?
You can register for fall classes when you return from your internship. You should, however, have already discussed the courses that you plan to take with the MA in International Studies director before leaving for your internship or during your field experience if only be mail.
9. Does ECU provide students going overseas with any assistance in finding someone to sublet their apartments in Greenville?
ECU does not have any office that provides this assistance. Many students post announcements offering subleases on bulletin boards around campus. You can also inform the Graduate School Office of Student Services that you have an apartment available for sublease.
10. Will my immersion program instructors or by on-site field experience supervisors be willing to write me letters of recommendation?
Most likely they will. We suggest that you ask for such letters of recommendation before you return to the United States.
Study Abroad/Foreign Language Immersion
11. What kinds of classes are offered in immersion programs abroad?
Typical immersion programs focus on language and culture courses
12. Are the grades from a study abroad immersion program incorporated into my GPA? Can I receive (transfer) credit for study abroad courses?
Grades for courses transferred into the program do not count in your GPA. Credit can only be received for courses taken in an international setting if they are at the graduate level. You can transfer in a maximum of 6 graduate credits from an accredited institution.
13. If pursuing a non-thesis option, could I study abroad and take the required foreign language courses?
The courses required for the non-thesis option in Advanced Language and Culture are graduate courses. It is possible to take graduate level language, literature and culture courses at a foreign university. However, not many American universities have overseas graduate programs, and those that do may not allow students from other universities to take their courses for credit. It might be possible to enroll in graduate courses at foreign universities, but transferring credit might be difficult. You should consult with the MA in International Studies Director and the appropriate study abroad director in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures.
14. Are the students typically undergraduates or graduate students? Are they all from ECU or from a variety of schools?
Most study abroad/language immersion programs are for undergraduates. Some programs, however, admit a range of students: undergraduates, graduate, non-degree, non-traditional. Typically the students come from a variety of schools.
15. Where will I be staying while studying abroad?
Participants of study abroad programs typically find housing of different sorts. Some programs house their students with families. Other programs provide rooms in residence halls. Other programs expect students to find their own accommodations, usually in shared apartments.
16. When would be the best time to have my language skills assessed?
You should have your language skills assessed initially as soon as you enter the MA in International Studies Program, but certainly before you undertake any immersion experience. You should have your skills assessed again as soon as you return from your immersion experience or your internship.
17. What kinds of internships are available?
Internships can be with small companies, corporations, non-governmental organizations, or government agencies.
18. Can I expect to be paid by the organization/company sponsoring my internship?
Most internships are unpaid. You will be expected to pay your own transportation to the internship site and your lodging/meal expenses during your internship. You may even have to pay a fee if an agency or organization arranges an internship for you.
19. How do I find internship possibilities? How do I make the arrangements for an internship?
The MA in International Studies webpage lists a number of organizations that arrange internships as well as government agencies and non-governmental organizations. Check their web pages for more information.
20. Your ECU professors are also a good source of internship possibilities. Ask them for contacts within their professional network.
Another very important source of internship possibilities is your own network of connections, both personal and professional. Don't forget to ask your family
21. What internships are available for non-U.S. citizens? Which internships tend to require U.S. citizenship?
Citizenship requirements vary. You should check the websites of the organizations offering the internships for more information.
22. If the company/organization with which I intern offers me a position for another semester, could I return to the MAIS program after that time?
23. If the internship runs over the beginning of fall/spring semester, will I be able to miss a couple of classes in order to complete the program?
You should arrange with the organization/company sponsoring your internship to complete it before the beginning of the following semester. It is unlikely that your professors will allow you to miss several weeks of a graduate-level course.
24. If the internship requires that I produce some form of final report, will I be able to incorporate it in my field experience portfolio?
Any documents or reports that you produce as part of your internship can be included as part of the documentation for your field experience portfolio. If your internship is part of a course for your concentration, your professor may allow you to use your report in his/her course.
25. What type of information should I collect during the field experience that is pertinent to the portfolio?
You should keep a journal during your field experience. This journal is not your portfolio, but it can serve as a basis for your portfolio essays. You should also collect any pertinent documentation, e.g., letters of recommendation from your on-site supervisors, reports/documents that you create while on your field experience, information about the organization with which you worked.
26. Should I be working on the portfolio while I am abroad, or should I just focus on gathering data to bring back home and work on the portfolio then?
Write your background statement of intent for your field experience and have it reviewed and approved by the MA in International Studies Field Experience Supervisor before you leave. Also, plan to keep a weekly journal while you are abroad. Besides being a great keepsake, a thorough journal is vital to the process of creating your field experience portfolio.
27. How can I relate the different theories studied in class to my everyday experiences in a foreign country?
One of the great challenges you face as a foreigner is connecting what you learn about the culture from books and other sources with your everyday experiences. Analytical writing relates the theoretical knowledge you gained from the classroom to your personal experiences in another culture. Use concepts, perspectives, theories, etc. from your core MA in International Studies courses in your analytical writing. Analytical writing transforms your understanding by placing your experiences in a coherent historical or theoretical framework. In analytical writing, you strive to explain why an experience took place or why you disagree with certain customs, rituals, or values. The exercise may help to resolve apparently contradictory observations and help you gain an understanding of "why things are as they are."
28. What is the deadline for turning in my portfolio?
You should not wait until you have written all your portfolio essays before turning in any work to the Field Experience Supervisor. You should submit drafts of the essays to her at regular intervals after you return from your field experience so that she can help you improve them. Multiple drafts are not only allowed, they are routine.
Currently incompletes for INTL 6930 and INTL 6940 must be removed within one year of the end of the semester in which you enroll in these courses.