Preparing for Experiential Learning as an Undocumented Student

What is experiential learning? Here at UConn’s Center for Career Development, we define it as hands-on, practical experiences and education that often provide the insight needed to determine if a major and/or a career path is one to consider. The benefits include strengthening your résumé, working on transferable skills, and networking. Experiential learning opportunities can be anything career-related such as internships, shadowing opportunities, research, campus leadership, assistant teaching, and more. Here are four ways you can prepare for experiential learning opportunities as an undocumented/ DACA student:

Create a professional support system. A professional support system can be mentors, professors, and/or the Center for Career Development. We all need people in our corner to advocate and support us, but even more when thinking about careers. Utilizing a professional support system allows you to seek career advice, acquire recommendation letters, network with other professionals in your field, and present you with new opportunities. 

Understand the opportunities that are readily available to you. At UConn, we host annual career fairs where employers hire for jobs, internships, and more. In addition, UConn has hundreds of clubs and organizations to help you attain your career goals. You can join learning communities, apply for IDEA Grants, take advantage of research opportunities, and much more.

Meet with a career coach. Yes, I have already mentioned the Center for Career Development, but meeting with a career coach specifically will allow you to understand your goals, what skills you have, how to market yourself, and even how to create your own opportunities.

Be open and flexible to different opportunities. Do not dread an unpaid internship; it could turn into course credit or a post-graduation job. Your dream opportunity may be in another city or field than you initially imagined. Your next opportunity might end up being virtual. The point of these different scenarios is to get you into the mindset that you can make the best out of an opportunity.

Although this list is not exhaustive, it will get you in the right direction of successfully preparing for experiential learning opportunities as a student!

Photo by Gerd Altmann from Pexels

By Dominque Moore
Dominque Moore Graduate Assistant: Career Development