Statement of Purpose

The following guidelines are meant only as a framework to assist and guide you as you write your letter:

Keep in mind that all letters are sent directly to potential supervisors of internships at the company where we hope to place you.

Your letter, therefore, is one of the most important aspects of your application for your study overseas, more so perhaps than your résumé or your transcripts. Think of it as a cover letter you would write if applying for a job. Introduce yourself and sell your qualifications for the position. It does not have to be long, but a well-written, well-organized letter will help us match you with a supervisor and give the supervisor an indication of your aspirations and abilities.

Clearly state both your short-term and long-term goals.

Short-term goals refer directly to what you hope to gain from the internship itself, whether it is learning about the inner-workings of a company, gaining knowledge or a skill in some small aspect of your field, or finding out whether you like your chosen career field. (Many students go away quite happy having learned that what they thought they wanted to do the rest of their lives was not at all what they wanted to do)! In any case, be very specific so potential supervisors and AIU can get a good grasp of what you are seeking. Long-term goals refer to your career and personal goals. Again, be very specific. Clearly defined goals will show a supervisor that you are serious about learning, serious about your field, and serious about working for them. They will also help both AIU and supervisors determine whether you are a good match for that particular company/agency.

Demonstrate that you have a clear understanding of the issues involved in your field.

Write about a school research project you worked on or about a previous job or internship. Relate those experiences back to your goals. Show that you are interested in some particular part of your field. Don't be afraid to get too specific here! As long as you can relate it to your goals and as long as you show enthusiasm for some aspect of your field, supervisors will see it as a plus.

Avoid mentioning specific companies or agencies you would like to work with during your internship.

References to specific organizations will "pigeonhole" you. If for some reason, AIU cannot find a placement within a particular company, we will send your materials elsewhere. Supervisors aren't interested in reading an essay from a student who expresses desire to work for a rival competitor! If you have a strong preference for one company during your internship abroad, note this in a separate statement to AIU and we will do our best to accommodate your wish.

Mention precisely the types of activities in which you hope to be involved.

Keep your expectations realistic. Supervisors are hiring interns not junior executives. At the same time, though, you are coming into the position with certain skills and would like a chance to use them to their fullest. Prove to your supervisor that you possess these skills during your tenure with them, mention them in your essay, but indicate some flexibility and willingness to try new things and to learn at the same time.

Discuss other assets you would bring to an internship.

Specific skills in your particular field are quite important, but have you thought of other types of skills you can offer? Communication, organizational, interpersonal, and planning skills are a few that supervisors look for in interns. It is one thing to write that you possess organizational skills, but it is another to give a clear example as to how you applied these skills to a specific professional or academic task.

Keep to the subject at hand.

In essence, you are writing a cover letter for a job. Supervisors aren't interested in reading that the sight of Big Ben at age 10 inspired you to return and work in the UK or that experiencing the "culture" of "England" would make you a better person. These are quite important aspects of your overall internship abroad experience and can be expressed to AIU to help us better understand your personal background, but they do not necessarily relate to the internship you are seeking. Browse your library for books on writing good job search cover letters.

Write thoughtfully, clearly, and logically. Please show that you have good written English proficiency.

One of the biggest complaints we hear from supervisors about student letters is that they are poorly written. Spelling mistakes are common; incorrect or awkward grammar is often used. Instead, use professional language with proper punctuation. Avoid American colloquialisms, slang, and grandiose terminology. Keep your language simple and to the point. Many internship assignments require students to write letters, documents, reports, brochures, etc. It is essential to show your supervisor that you have a good grasp of formal, written English. Proofread your letter. Ask someone else to read it and make corrections. And by all means, use Spell Check if you have it!
American InterContinental University Study Abroad Programs
3150 West Higgins Road, Suite 150 · Hoffman Estates, IL 60169 · ph: 1.800.255.6839 · fx: 1.847.885.8422
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