Painting at Gert Town

Service learning vs. internships

An internship is an intensive kind of applied learning.  Other kinds include practicums, clinical experiences and field education.  The purpose of an internship is for students to acquire skills and gain experience in a supervised setting.  Internships may or may not be tied to a credit-bearing course with academic content.  Interns usually spend a substantial amount of time at their work sites (typically 80-120 hours per semester). Some but not all internships are designed to serve the public good.  The Office of Service Learning maintains a list of selected public service internships in the New Orleans area.

Service learning helps students acquire useful skills, and it can lead to professional opportunities.  However, its purpose is to illuminate classroom subjects through real-world activities which positively impact individuals and organizations in the wider community.  The time commitment for service learning is usually less (15-30 hours per semester).

Focus: developing students' skills for post-graduation endeavors Focus: understanding course content through active, hands-on learning
Not necessarily service-oriented Must be mutually beneficial and contribute not only to learning but also to the well-being of communities and individuals
Not necessarily tied to a credit-bearing course Always in conjunction with a credit-bearing academic course
Time commitment is mostly working at the internship site. Course meeting time may be minimal. One component of a regular course
Can be paid or unpaid Uncompensated

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