At Northwestern University there are many offices and programs set up to help students experience a variety of educational, international and career related opportunities during the summer months. Learn more below.
Stay in Chicago
Beyond everything available on Northwestern’s Evanston campus, many students are attracted to the university because of its location next to the city of Chicago. With large and diverse public and private sectors, students routinely find internships in government agencies, corporations, non-profits, and other organizations. In addition, Chicago is a metropolitan laboratory in which students can explore politics, society, and culture through direct engagement or academic research. If you feel like you spend too much time on the Purple Line of Evanston and not enough on the Red Line and other lines of Chicago’s train network, then explore these summer programs. Visit the Stay in Chicago page for a complete list of offices and programs.
Check out Another Part of the US
Evanston and Chicago are great over the summer—especially the regular street festivals and fairs—but students often have compelling reasons to seek opportunities elsewhere in the United States. For some, it is the allure of an internship at an organization in a career area they want to explore. For others, it is the chance to do mentored research at another university or carry out an independent project. If you want to be somewhere other than your hometown or Evanston, browse these offerings for options. Visit the Check out another part of the U.S. page for a complete list of offices and programs.
Northwestern students study abroad in large numbers, but not everyone has the flexibility during the academic year to do so. Athletic commitments, pre-med requirements, or other factors may require students to be in Evanston from September to June. Fortunately, summer can be a great time to squeeze in a meaningful international experience. It could be the traditional form of study abroad, or it could be immersive language study, an internship, or academic research. There may be options at SummerFest that you never even considered. Visit the Go Abroad page for a complete list of offices and programs.
Find an Internship to Explore a Career Field
Being a full-time student limits the time available for exploring career paths. Even students who hold part-time jobs and internships during the academic year do not necessarily feel they get the full experience of working day in and day out at an organization. Over the summer when there are no distractions like coursework and extracurriculars, students can immerse themselves in experiential learning opportunities in different sectors. Northwestern sponsors and facilitates so many ways for students to dip their toes into career fields that SummerFest is an essential forum for getting oriented to the full array. Visit the Find an Internship to Explore a Career Field page for a complete list of offices and programs.
Get Grants or Fellowships
Some students begin their quest for summer activities with a simple question: “What pays?” While students hopefully balance this imperative with consideration of their academic and professional development, it is a legitimate question to ask. Northwestern students will be relieved to learn of the several offices or programs designed to offer students financial funding to support internships, research or independent study. Visit the Get Grants or Fellowships page for a complete list of offices and programs.
Learn a Language
Northwestern recently launched its Global Languages Initiative, an indicator of the university’s belief in and commitment to language acquisition by its students. Along with courses during the academic year, students can accelerate their language learning over the summer. Many summer programs are funded, hosted abroad, and/or credit-bearing. Students should shop carefully for these alternatives. With or without credit, immersive summer language training can free up room in a Northwestern plan of study by eliminating the need to enroll in a three-quarter language sequence during the academic year. Visit the Learn a Language page for a complete list of offices and programs.
Do Academic Research
What is research and how is it done? Students conduct lots of research during the academic year. Many do it in the context of courses, and others do it as part-time research assistants for professors. Summer is a time to try out research as a full-time proposition. Some students want to find out if research is a career path they want to pursue. Others want the extensive experience to bolster applications for jobs or professional schools in fields like medicine and public policy. Whatever the motivation, students have opportunities to do research on their own or under the mentorship of faculty members at Northwestern or other universities in the United States and abroad. As a bonus, funding for summer research often exceeds compensation for regular summer jobs. Visit the Do Academic Research page for a complete list of offices and programs.
Make a Difference in the Community
Northwestern is a leader in the areas of civic engagement and global engagement. Students have multiple opportunities to participate in public service and advocacy work domestically and abroad. Summer is an especially good time for such endeavors because students focus on their community engagement for a sustained period of time in the ideal locale. Whether in education, public health, social entrepreneurship, or another sector, students can apply their skills for the public good. If you have a vision that could be realized through volunteer work, a formal internship, or engaged research, use SummerFest to learn about how Northwestern can help. Visit the Make a Difference in your Community page for a complete list of offices and programs.
Make Degree Progress
With so many majors, minors, and certificates to choose from, some Northwestern students benefit from using summer terms to earn degree credit. Summer can be a great time to knock out some pre-med requirements or pre-requisites for upper-level coursework. Students often do this work in Evanston, but many stock up on credits by studying abroad. Of course, it takes planning with school-based advisers and possibly the Study Abroad Office to coordinate credit transfers. Getting started at SummerFest will ensure that you learn about options and have time to meet any deadlines. Visit the Make Degree Progress page for a complete list of offices and programs.