Really Want That Internship? Pay Up

Former intern Annie Fleishman now reads incoming scripts for Lionsgate Films. i i

Former intern Annie Fleishman now reads incoming scripts for Lionsgate Films in Santa Monica, Calif. Robyn Marshall hide caption

itoggle caption Robyn Marshall
Former intern Annie Fleishman now reads incoming scripts for Lionsgate Films.

Former intern Annie Fleishman now reads incoming scripts for Lionsgate Films in Santa Monica, Calif.

Robyn Marshall

Money can't buy you love, but maybe it can buy you a summer internship.

Thousands of college students are on the prowl for the precious eight- to 10-week postings that could prove crucial to their employment future. A company called University of Dreams has 2,000 internships lined up, and they're for sale.

Those accepted will head off to work in their chosen field in San Diego, Barcelona, Chicago or other cities.

It's a package deal that includes transportation, housing and most meals. The interns have group activities, and someone's always keeping track.

CEO and founder Eric Lochtefeld says the money is mostly about logistics. Students might find something on their own in New York City, for example, but, Lochtefeld says, "They're still going to have to find a landlord in Manhattan that's willing to rent to a college student. They're still going to have to pay for their subway passes and all of their meals. We have students who are coming from China to New York, and you know how difficult it would be to plan your own logistics at age 21?"

Annie Fleishman, who now has a regular job with Lionsgate Films in Santa Monica, Calif., loved her University of Dreams summer in London. She paid $9,000 and figures it was a bargain.

"It was eight weeks of housing, breakfast and dinner Monday through Friday," she says. "Six weekend excursions with hotels in Paris and Brussels, and Oxford, England. They had seminars, and speakers would come to talk about networking and different aspects of business."

But say you find your own unpaid internship, but you're broke. Several universities have special funds to help.

The University of Virginia has a Parents Committee that gives out $2,500 grants to second- and third-year undergrads. The committee has 20 grants available this year.

"The internships must be in public service: civic engagement, public policy, business development, health or the environment," says Heather Rudd, who helps run the program. Many of the students wouldn't be able to accept their internships without the extra money, she adds.

And for the real springtime dreamers? Washington and the White House await. The Obama administration says please apply by March 22.

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