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Really Want That Internship? Pay Up

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Really Want That Internship? Pay Up

Economy

Really Want That Internship? Pay Up

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/101791761/101791849" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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MADELEINE BRAND, host:

Along with everything else, Spencer is also competing with people half his age. College kids are also trying to find work. Competition is so fierce that even finding a summer internship has become cutthroat. NPR's Noah Adams has been looking at the Web site for a company called University of Dreams.

NOAH ADAMS: The deal here - your dream of being an intern can come true if you can pay several thousand dollars.

Mr. ERIC LOCHTEFELD (Chief Executive Officer and Founder, University of Dreams): Hi, my name is Eric Lochtefeld. I'm the CEO and founder of University of Dreams.

ADAMS: It's now a big business that Eric Lochtefeld started nine years ago. They're actually turning down many of the dreamers. This year, they'll get 15,000 applications, only 2,000 internships to fill. You sign up and pay the University of Dreams for the screening and the placement, and off you go to San Diego or Barcelona or Chicago. Transportation is arranged, housing, most of your meals. The interns have group activities and someone's always keeping track. Eric Lochtefeld says mostly, the money is about logistics. Students might find something on their own in New York City, but…

Mr. LOCHTEFELD: They're still going to have to find a landlord in Manhattan that's willing to rent to a college student for two months or three months. Good luck on that. They're still going to have to pay for their subway passes, for all of their meals in New York City. I mean, we have students that are coming from China, you know, participating in our programs in New York and L.A. You know, how difficult would it be to plan your own logistics at the age of 21 to be able to do that?

ADAMS: Annie Fleishman signed on with University of Dreams for an internship with a movie company in London. She paid $9,000.

Ms. ANNIE FLEISHMAN (Former Intern, University of Dreams): It was eight weeks of housing, breakfast and dinner Monday through Friday. It was six weekend excursions - hotels in Paris and Brussels and Oxford, England. They had seminars, which was like every week, they would have like some speaker come and talk to you about networking or like different aspects of business. And they brought this guy, Emmanuel(ph), who's been an activist in Ghana, for disabled people's rights. And they brought him all the way from Ghana to talk to our program, which was pretty inspiring.

ADAMS: That summer in London helped. Annie Fleishman now works for Lionsgate Films in Santa Monica. But what about the other students, the ones who just have to laugh at the idea of paying that much money? Let's say, they go and find their internship, but it's an unpaid position. They're broke to begin with. What do they do? Several universities have special funds to help. The University of Virginia has a Parents Committee. They give out grants to second- and third-year undergrads. The internships must be in public service.

Ms. HEATHER RUDD (Parents Committee, University of Virginia): For us, public service is civic engagement, public policy, economic business development, education, health and the environment.

ADAMS: Heather Rudd helps run the Parents Committee program for UVa, twenty grants this summer, $2,500 each.

Ms. RUDD: And many students do say without the funding of this particular grant, I would not be able to accept this internship.

ADAMS: And so with spring close at hand it's game on for the summer internships however you can get them. Noah Adams, NPR News Washington. And by the way, the White House - certainly. The Obama administration says please apply by the 22nd of March.

BRAND: And as we wind down the show here, we just want to give a special shutout to Noah, Noah Adams. He has hosted Day to Day many, many times for a long time while I was out on maternity leave. He's just one of our favorite people.

ALEX COHEN, host:

Thank you, Noah, for sharing your wisdom, your grace, and your lovely warm voice with us over the years. Stay with us on Day to Day from NPR News.

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