Overseas Professional & Intercultural Training (OPIT) Program

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About

Earn invaluable professional experience in an international setting through the American Councils Overseas Professional and Intercultural Training (OPIT) Program. They provide a full-time, non-credit bearing, unpaid internship that runs for eight weeks. Interns will be placed in an emerging economy that offers plenty of learning opportunities. The interns will be working at the American Councils office, and will join the staff in their active engagement with the host country's civil society. English-language internships are available in such fields as business, human rights, ecology and law throughout more than a dozen countries of Eurasia and the Balkans. Knowledge of foreign-language is not required; however, the program does provide foreign language internships to interested and qualified students, and all students have the opportunity to combine their internships with intensive language study.

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Reviews

95%
based on 4 reviews
  • Growth 9.3
  • Support 9.8
  • Fun 10
  • Housing 8.8
  • Safety 9.3
Showing 1 - 4 of 4
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Caroline
10/10

Summer of a Lifetime in Yerevan, Armenia

As a Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies major, much of my academic background and cultural familiarity pertaining to states that used to be members of the Soviet Union was very Russia-centric. I figured that interning in Yerevan, Armenia through American Councils would be an ideal opportunity to grow professionally, deepen my understanding of the Eurasian region beyond Russia, and have a chance to experience a different culture. I interned at the Startup Armenia Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides Armenian startuppers with resources and networking opportunities to help them grow their businesses. During my internship, I worked to aid Startup Armenia in expanding their reach internationally, conducting research on venture capital, angel investors, universities, non-profits, and international networking events that could potentially become future partners for Startup Armenia abroad. In addition to learning about international involvement in the economic development of Armenia's startup ecosystem through my tasks on the job, I had the fortune to be working alongside incredibly down-to-earth, motivated individuals, with whom I still keep in touch to this day. In addition to the internship experience, my time on the OPIT program was memorable and special because of the chance to live with an Armenian host family. One thing that I noticed very quickly in Armenia is the importance of family. While my host family on paper included my host dad, host mom, and their adorable four-year-old son, in reality, my host family included them, as well as my two host grandmothers, my host uncle, and all of their relatives, whom I saw frequently on our weekly trips to the family farm in the countryside. Being welcomed into their family, and memories including dinners with my host parents, spending time after work in my host grandmother's kitchen, and playing with my host brother, made my summer internship experience meaningful not just professionally but personally as well. The American Councils office staff was always extremely helpful and readily available, giving myself and the other American interns on the program with me a judgment-free zone to ask questions and address any issues during our weekly meetings. I would definitely recommend the OPIT program to anyone looking for a professionally and personally meaningful experience abroad.

Yes, I recommend this program
Cydnie
8/10

Interning in Moscow was an Amazing Experience - OPIT

My experience interning on the Overseas Professional and Intercultural Training Program in Moscow, Russia, was an exciting and eventful one. This program was enjoyable in that you get to negotiate your hours with the company you intern for, get to go on excursions with students who are studying abroad on other programs through American Councils, and are guided through any feelings (both good and bad) that you may feel during your time abroad. I got to see much more of Moscow than I ever even expected.

I worked at a start-up company called CINEMOOD, and our office was located very close to the heart of the city. I was also in Russia during the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which was also exciting to see the city buzzing with energy.

As a double major studying both Linguistics and Russian Studies, I was able to work with translating texts and files for our company. Overall though, I was more excited about being able to work in an environment where I could speak Russian every day. I've been studying the language for over 5 years, so getting the immersion and the practice allowed my language skills to skyrocket while still getting professional experience!

How can this program be improved?
I would have preferred getting my host-family assignment a little sooner. I ideally wanted to be able to reach out and get into contact with them before I met them, and unfortunately was not able to do that.
Yes, I recommend this program
Araxie
10/10

Amazing Internship Experience in Armenia

This summer I had the wonderful opportunity to intern in Armenia through OPIT. I worked with Article 3, a local human rights organization. For my internship I researched, wrote, planned, and did video work for a project about the circumstances, effects, and continuations of Armenia's recent political revolution. I am a rising sophomore in college and I had really wanted to get some experience and insight into the non-profit field to inform my major and career decisions, so the opportunity to work here was very important and influential to me. I was able to meet a lot of people, not only in my organizations but also others in the field, which was very informative in helping me to learn about it.

In addition to the work component, I was able to live with a lovely host family in Yerevan for six weeks. They were really nice and did everything to take care of me and help me make my way around the city. I had told the program staff that I spoke a little Armenian, and they gave me an opportunity to practice with a host family that didn't speak much English (the others in my group got English speaking hosts, however). It was challenging, but a very helpful experience in the long run.

In addition to the work experience in this program, we took a class with a small number of assignments for university credit. The staff in Yerevan was very helpful and checked in with us a lot to make sure we were doing alright and see if there was anything they could help us with to improve our experiences. They also organized some free excursions for us with alumni of their Armenia-US exchange program, which was really fun and let us meet new people and see more of the country. In addition, they helped us to organize our own travel outside of program activities.

One of the best part of my experience was the internship group that I went to Armenia with. There were seven of us, all from different backgrounds, different parts of the US, and working in different fields, but we got along really well, and it was much easier to navigate the challenges of living abroad since I had American friends to talk with. In addition, our group went on two weekend trips together, which was really fun as well as making travel and seeing different parts of the country far easier since we had more people.

Finally, in terms of costs to this program, they offer scholarships for interns in certain areas. My internship did not qualify, but I was able to get a grant independently through my university because it was in the field of public policy and service. Overall, a really amazing experience that made the adventure of living and working in another country accessible, informative, and fun to do.

How can this program be improved?
One thing that would be helpful is if we were able to get our host family information sooner, since we got it the day before we left. Also, I think it would be nice if the class assignments were optional because my university does not accept the credit anyway, so having to pay for the class was not helpful to me.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Rachel
10/10

OPIT-Azerbaijan

American Councils did an excellent job in compiling all of the logistics of the program. I was very well taken care of while in Azerbaijan. But, at the same time, they continually challenged me to leave my comfort zone in order to experience more of what the culture and city had to offer.

American Councils found internship placements that matched my current and future interests, providing me with the opportunity to increase my own skill set, as well as create an international network of contacts.

In addition to the internship placements that American Councils set up for me through OPIT, I was also able to take Azerbaijani language classes, which not many people have the opportunity to do.

I would highly recommend this program.

How can this program be improved?
I am a planner and appreciate having information as soon as possible so that I can prepare. Some of the information was not sent as early as it perhaps could have been. But, I did always have access to information before I absolutely needed it.
Yes, I recommend this program

About American Councils Study Abroad

American Councils offers study abroad and research programs to fit numerous academic and professional endeavors in Russia, Eurasia, the Balkans, and Asia. From language immersion and area studies, to the business and policy sectors, American Councils...