The course allows students to get first-hand experience in dealing with environmental challenges in international, industry, nongovernmental organizations, and other relevant institutions. Students will tackle contemporary environmental issues assisting professionals and experiencing real-life context and practical application of their theoretical coursework. Through such experiential learning students enhance their research, critical thinking, problem-solving and presentation skills. The course can be used to get acquainted with potential host institution to conduct thesis research as well as to get familiar with potential research topics. Students are supervised jointly by a representative of the host organization and a departmental faculty member. Passing the course requires to intern a minimum number of hours, successfully complete assignment given by the host and report the experience.
The list of host organizations students previously worked with includes the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), Group on Earth Observations (GEO), regional and country offices of the WWF, Greenpeace, SEEK Research Network, CzechGlobe, Schneider Electric, among others.
The course consists of 1) professional activities at the host organization; 2) interim group discussions with course participants undertaking internships at other institutions; 3) personal reflections on internship experience throughout the course; 4) consultations with supervisors; 5) submitting progress reports and making a final public presentation of internship achievements and relevance, discussing and analyzing this experience in a group. Specific timeframe, deliverables and milestones are defined by the internship plan endorsed by the department and a host organization.
Internship placements are based on offers collected by both faculty and students. To be eligible a placement offer should secure proper use and development of the student's research, writing, analytical and presentation skills through accomplishing a specific project or task within a designated time frame. Students can propose potential internship placement based on their own professional networks, but these offers should be pre-approved by the Department. Any recognized international, nongovernmental, public, private, etc. environmental organization can be a host. The selection of interns is made by the host organization.
The course enrollment is conditional upon approval of the internship plan by the end of winter enrollment period. The internships can be both local- and remote-based.
The number of students is limited by available internship placements and hosts’ selection of candidates.
- Fostering communication skills in professional arena and workflow planning
- Practical hands-on environmental experience
- Getting acquainted with professional communities
- Presentation, writing and communication skills in a specific professional area (vocabulary, etc)
The internship progress and experience will be facilitated by interim and final reports, as well as through guided reflection. The Practicum is concluded with public presentation on internship achievements, challenges, feedbacks, etc. Students must be able to communicate their experience to other course participants.
The grade is based on successful completion of all three course stages: 1) internship proposal development; 2) interim evaluations (progress reports confirmed by internship supervisors); 3) final report.