A group of students pose together in the mountains of Peru.

A key part of the Institute’s mission is to provide you with immersive, hands-on learning as part of your studies.

Unlike other classroom-based graduate programs, these experiences allow you to apply practical skills in your field of study before you graduate. Not only do you gain professional experience, but you are exposed to relevant networking opportunities that often lead to jobs after graduation. Below are some of the options available, with more emerging as the Institute’s professional partnerships grow and change. 

Immersive Professional Learning During COVID

IPL staff, faculty, and career and academic advisers are here to help you navigate your immersive learning and career plans during COVID-19 shelter-in-place requirements. View this growing list of resources including template cover letters, virtual internship portals, and more (login with your email credentials). The shared Google doc is a no frills collaborative space, so all are encouraged to add resources/contribute ideas. 


Institute students can apply for up to $1,500 in immersive professional learning funding to costs for eligible unpaid or minimally paid opportunities including virtual internships, volunteer opportunities, and more. View funding requirements and application.

COVID-19 Update for Spring-Summer 2020: Students may also apply for IPL funding to offset the cost of a professional certificate related to their career/professional goals. 

Once you’ve completed your experience and are seeking reimbursement, submit your information.

Student Stories

Learn from the experiences of other students through our immersive learning blog

Immersive Learning, Research, and Impact Report

Read our 2018-2019 Impact Report to see what past students have done through Middlebury Institute. Get ideas for your next research project or internship.  You can view the 2017-2018 Impact Report here. 

Client Projects and Simulations

Students complete projects in courses for real-life local and international clients. Courses use simulations to teach and build in-depth understanding and critical thinking around complex global issues.

Semester/Summer Programs Abroad

Immersive Learning: DPMI in Rwanda

My name’s Chris Nemarich, and this January I just completed a immersive learning program doing DPMI in Rwanda. It was really surprising where you hear about Rwanda as this amazing development success story. Reading about it and then seeing it is a completely different experience. Being able to see how much development has taken place and where the country is at now. Just reading about it in a book just doesn’t capture.

We started the program in Kigali, the capital, and had a few days to orient ourselves. We then went out to Rwinkwavu, which is a smaller town in the eastern provinces, and we would have a mix of classroom experiences. We did some field visits and then went through this process of really iteratively learning a concept, learning some new material, and then turning around and applying that to the client projects.

And so being able to be in a classroom, and be in a setting, and be in a group where it’s not just the Middlebury students that you’re interacting with but people from all different countries around the world, all different backgrounds, at different places in their career. And bringing that knowledge, and that experience, and that richness and depth into the classroom. That interaction really adds something to the classroom dynamic that you don’t normally just get in the course of the semester.

For me, as a development practitioner, one of the most important things is taking into account where you are, who you’re working with, and what those local needs and that local capacity is. And so, really to have a program that’s geared towards that has reinforced and reminded me of why I chose this path.

It’s definitely something that has made me excited to come back and really throw myself back into my course work. And it’s an experience that I think I’ll draw on, and already have drawn on.

Nonproliferation Internships and Fellowships

The Nonproliferation Internships and Fellowship programs provide training and internships for graduate students interested in the work of international nonproliferation organizations. Speak with your academic advisor for more information.

Who: Institute graduate students in the Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies program.

International Professional Service Semester

The International Professional Service Semester provides Institute students with the opportunity to work as junior staff members for a public policy or social change organization. Students can complete the last 12 credits of a degree through this program.

Who: Institute graduate students in the International Policy and Development, International Environmental Policy, and Master of Public Administration programs.

Study Abroad

Students take courses at one of the prestigious partner universities in Amman, Bergen, or Cairo.

Who: All Institute students.

Middlebury Social Impact Corps

In the Middlebury Social Impact Corps (MSIC) program, Institute students serve as “Scholars”, participating in an eight-week international summer internship with a social change organization, serving as mentors within a cohort including undergraduate Middlebury College interns, conducting their own action research, and engaging in partnership development within the organization and the region. Each year, one to three partner organizations are identified by the MSIC staff and faculty, and cohorts are created in partnership with the organizations’ mission and goals for that summer. Faculty Advisor: Dr. Netta Avineri

Who: All Institute students

Short-Term Programs Abroad

Winter, Spring, and Summer Practica

Every winter, spring, and summer, faculty and students embark on a number of projects in the fields of peacebuilding, international development, and environmental conservation opportunities in Peru, France, Czech Republic, Kenya, China, Spain, and Bhutan.

Who: All Institute graduate students

Centers and Initiatives

The Institute’s Centers and Initiatives give students opportunities to participate in internships or fellowships and conduct further research, and the chance to be published in world-renowned scholarly journals.

Stretch Work and Lifelong Learning

You’ll often hear the term “stretch work” used on campus to describe our promotion of self-directed learning and new skill development. Students can create many of their own learning opportunities:

  • The Digital Learning and Inquiry team provides students with training opportunities, technological resources, and collaborative spaces to facilitate peer-driven teaching and learning.

  • The Center for Advising and Career Services (CACS) is the hub for all advising, career education, and professional development activities. Advisors can help you make connections between your area of study and employment.

  • Linked In Learning is an online education company offering thousands of video courses in software, creative, and business skills. It’s offered for free to the Institute community.

Team Challenges Around Social Issues

Our collaborative, innovative, and interdisciplinary approach is highlighted through team challenges and case competitions.

Local Internships, Service Opportunities, and Clubs

Students can complete internships at a wide range of nonprofit, government, and social enterprises in Monterey County and Santa Cruz. Speak with your advisor for more information.

Immersive Learning and Study Abroad Manual

The Immersive Learning and Study Abroad Manual covers policies and procedures that broadly apply to our Immersive Learning and Study Abroad programs, including step-by-step guides to researching, applying for, and participating in our programs.

Featured News

Read All
  • IPL Experience: Angela Luedke

    | by Dion Miller

    Angela Luedke MAIEM ’21 pursued an Immersive Professional Learning (IPL) experience with the University of California, Riverside (UCR) in the Education Abroad Office. Angela helped establish a new class, Crossing Culture, to increase participation in study abroad opportunities at UCR.

  • News Stories

    MPA/IEM Student Spotlight: Maia Stewart

    | by Dion Miller

    Maia Stewart, a joint MPA and IEM student participated as an assistant program director at Team4Tech. Maia interned during the summer of 2021. Carolyn Meyer helped Maia find the position at Team4Tech because the position aligned with Maia’s values and interests.