While the classes I have taken on campus at UCLA have been incredibly valuable, one of the best experiences I have had is my internship class at a local elementary school. My goal is ultimately to become a teacher and having the chance to intern at an elementary for class credit has been absolutely amazing. Getting hands on experience in the classroom is one of the best ways to really get a feel for the teaching profession. The school is super close by and a bus ride only takes a short fifteen minutes. This has seriously been a life changing experience and inspired me to apply for Teach for America!
As a college student, organizing your schedule to fit internships can be challenging but UCLA has many opportunities that allow you to receive units for the internship. These off campus opportunities often involve a community experience mixed with relevant coursework. For example, on top of my hours spent at the elementary school I meet with a coordinator for reflection. I also complete readings and written responses. The academic mixed with hands-on experience is an awesome way to approach career interests.
My focus has been on internships involving teaching, but there are many other opportunities for other interests. For example, my roommate who is a science major gets unit credit for the research she does. Another program focuses on civic engagement and sets students up with internships with nonprofits or government work. Los Angeles is a prime location for finding internship opportunities because so many different industries are located in the area. There are chances to get involved in medicine, business, teaching, and many others as well. College is all about finding out your true passions and internships are an awesome way to help students figure this out.