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Our Approach to Experiential Learning

Excite - Engage - Empower: Career Advancement 360

The CIS Abroad internship programs reflect Kolb’s model of experiential learning – Engagement, Critical Reflection, Synthesis and Action.  These programs provide opportunities for students to apply what they have learned in the classroom to concrete, real-world projects, reflect, make meaning – and develop the skills and competencies that will help them advance their careers.  And we’ve mapped the learning outcomes for internships to the eight key career readiness competencies as identified by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, intentionally connecting learning, skill development, and employability.

But before any of that happens, prospective interns are guided through a customized, student-centered career coaching process, informed by the Appreciative Advising framework and focused on three key stages:


Through exploratory reflection exercises and a 1-1 interview, our placement coordinators help students identify their current strengths, skills, and abilities.  Through this process, students are able to identify their career goals and clarify their internship objectives.  And they start to imagine their futures – what could be, their hopes and dreams – and get excited about the prospect of their future cross-cultural internship experience.  At the end of this stage, students are provided an internship placement confirmation guide that details their internship assignment, how the internship aligns with their goals and objectives, and the host organization they will be working for.


Together, CIS staff and the student co-create a plan that will help ensure that students use their internship as a springboard for making their dreams a reality.  Through a combination of internship projects, online learning modules addressing concepts such as networking and cross-cultural leadership, our cultural co-curriculum, and faculty-facilitated seminars, students make meaning of their experiences and connect the dots between academic learning, work based learning, and cross-cultural experiences.


But the last day of the internship doesn’t mean the end of the career journey!  This final stage involves planning for the future – and empowering students to convert their career dreams into realities.  With a focus on reflection, utilizing feedback, and identifying concrete next steps, CIS Abroad provides students with the tools and support to set them up for career success.  And by earning a micro-credential associated with their program, they can share their achievement with their networks and potential employers.  They are ready to own their career.


Our internship alumni conclude their experience Excited, Engaged, and Empowered!


Empowered, engaged, and excited


“I came into the internship with a lack of confidence in my work which negatively affected my communication skills.  Because of my supervisor and coworkers’ feedback and acknowledgement, I have gained confidence in what I do.  Overall, this internship has made me feel confident in the career path I am on because it showed me I am capable and [that I] enjoy the field I am in as a product manager.

Sabrina Savastano
University of Alabama – Tuscaloosa


My internship experience not only made a lasting impact on me, but also charted my future career path, defining and focusing it like an arrow being shot from a bow.

Kali Johnson
Adolphus College