See the World and Gain Experience Through the Hinckley Institute


By Stephany Cortez


The Hinckley Institute at the University of Utah was established in 1965, founded by Robert H. Hinckley. His dream was to amplify opportunities in the form of internships, annual forums, lecture series, publications and university-level courses.In accordance with that dream, the Hinckley Institute has formed a vast network with local, national and international leaders by providing internships for students where they can engage “in governmental, civic and political processes, promote a better understanding and appreciation of politics and train ethical and visionary students for public service.”

The Hinckley Institute has gained global recognition for its acclaimed internship programs that “offer transformative experiences to more than 400 students annually.” The internships aim to provide an educative, real-life experience that will aid the students at the University of Utah in both their academic and professional careers. It also gives students of all majors the opportunity to get internships that allow them to explore their interests and what they’re studying in a professional setting rather than just what they’re studying in the classroom. Because of those internship experiences, students are learning skills and gaining tools that are not taught through the means of a typical college part-time job or from a textbook or lecture.

The Hinckley Institute Outreach Coordinator, Miranda Best, stated that “each of our internship programs individually (local, national, global) offer different, unique opportunities for students. A global internship, however, allows students to work in a professional setting where they gain a different perspective on what life is like in another country, and how that influences their professional work field for the workforce.”

They recognize the impact of a global internship and believe that all students, regardless of their majors or academic school year, are entitled to a global experience. All global interns qualify for discounted tuition, where credits are $45 each. Additionally, all global interns qualify for scholarships through the Hinckley Institute Learning Abroad and Office of Global Engagement. U students at any academic level can apply for a global internship program, but freshmen are advised to pursue a  local internship prior to undertaking a global one.

If a student is interested in a Hinckley internship but cannot find a suitable program or there is no current host office in their preferred country, the Hinckley staff will make an effort to find a host office to ensure that each student gets the experience they are seeking, in a field they want.

Nicholas Cockrell is a senior at the U and a double major in political science and history with a minor in international studies. He is also a current student staff member of the Hinckley Institute, and over the summer of 2019, he went on his first global internship in London, working for a member of the British Parliament. “My time at the University of Utah is coming to an end; spending a semester in Europe is something I always wanted to do. I also just love that part of the world. I love the history there. Throughout my internship, I wrote policy responses for my member of Parliament and I did a lot of specific casework for constituents regarding issues with their local government.” Global interns working for a leader in a foreign country also get opportunities that would not be available to tourists or locals, such as tours, private meetings and events.

Best said that “students can often be just intimidated by the fact that they are going somewhere by themselves or this is their first international experience. We want students to know that we at Hinckley are here to help them as a resource at every step of the way. We have so many resources, cultural training, financial aid, scholarships and mentorship through the Hinckley office and we can also administer past interns to help current students from the beginning to the end of their internship experience.”

If current U students have any questions or are unsure of the application process, the Hinckley Institute is here to help. Best expressed that if students have a small or large interest in pursuing a global internship through the Hinckley they should make an attempt to stop by the Hinckley office (located in the Gardner Commons Building) and talk to one of their staff members. “We’re here to help you and answer any doubts and questions that you have and help work this opportunity into your college career. Global experience is good for a student, as it builds professional growth and will be a tool to aid in the future, whether that be an academic or professional career. You can talk about this unique experience and how it transformed your life and how it has applied to your everyday life.”

“We’re students right now. It’s a time in our life where we have this opportunity to do these immersive experiences around the world, life will continue to move forward and continue to get crazier. But we need to take advantage of our time right now as students. The Hinckley Institute is an awesome resource on campus to make that kind of global experience accessible for everyone,” Cockrell said.

The Hinckley Institute is hands-on in helping provide the resources and tools for students to have a comfortable, engaging experience. Students are confronted by culture shock, financial burdens, time differences and language barriers. Cockrell pursued an internship that coincided with both his history and political science interests. “I’m going to remember my experience this summer forever, and how it has affected the course of my life. I learned that although it may be intimidating to step out of one’s comfort zone, the rewards outweigh any negative thoughts, doubts, and as a current Hinckley student staff member I want to aid students in their curiosity to get involved for the first time, because a global experience impacts all aspects of one’s life for the better. You understand yourself, people and the world a lot better.”

If students are interested in getting involved in a global internship, they need to start planning to do so two or three semesters ahead of time. There is necessary research needed when considering a global internship through the Hinckley office. The global internship process is extensive, but not impossible to navigate. The interns must complete five assignments during their internship, submit weekly check-ins and write a policy paper at the culmination of their internship. The cost factor of going abroad persists. However, scholarships and financial aid for global interns are available. Most global interns who apply for scholarships are able to receive an average of $1,500 – $3,000 in aid, depending on the expenses and where the internship is taking place.

A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required, but exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis. The global intern application also requires a cover letter, resume, and two letters of recommendation, along with a copy of the student’s transcripts, which can be obtained through the U’s Registrar’s office, followed by an interview with Jean Oh, the Managing Director of Global Internships. Once a global intern application has been processed and approved, global interns are responsible for securing their own housing abroad (housing amenities vary by country and program) and flight. All global internship deadlines are usually two semesters ahead of the trip date. There is no application fee for local and national programs, and there is a $500 application fee for global internships, which allows student to qualify for a discounted tuition rate. The deadline for interning in Summer 2020 is Sept. 15. Students who are interested in a global internship for next summer should stop by the Hinckley Institute office and get ready to gain incredible experiences while working abroad.


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An earlier version of this article inaccurately said that all Hinckley internship application programs have no application fees. While local and national programs have no application fee, there is a $5oo fee for global programs.