FAQs

 

General Questions

+ What will I experience?

You’ll participate in an online pre-launch course focused on a trending skillset (ie: Digital Marketing & Storytelling OR Business Development), then we’ll help you prepare to interview with companies around the world for your field experience. Next, you’ll meet for 8 days of instructor-led client projects and workshops at UC Berkeley. After your Meetup, you’ll travel to the city where your Field Experience is located and work for 3 months. At the end, you’ll receive job support from our network of Experience Lab mentors and industry partners. 

+ How long is the program?

Six months from the start of the online course to the end of your Field Experience.

+ Who can apply?

We accept applications from undergraduate students interested in a gap semester or recent graduates interested in alternative to grad school. You can apply regardless of major or degree. You must simply be able to demonstrate clear and analytical communication skills, and show the ability to follow-through on projects with care.

+ Is the program open to international students?

Yes! If you are an international student currently on a F-1 student visa, let us know and we will help you work out the details with your OPT

+ What level of English is required?

For non-native English speakers: proficiency of TOEFL 90 or IELTS 7 is an admissions requirement.

+ Are there changes to the program due to COVID-19?

We are constantly monitoring COVID’s impact on travel and in-person experiences. All applicants will be able to explore domestic and remote Field Experiences depending on the situation in August. Fellows will have the choice to pursue domestic or remote Field Experience options should travel restrictions continue into the fall.

Scheduling

+ What are key dates for the next class?

Fall 2020: The online course is self-paced and begins in early July. We meet at UC Berkeley in mid September, and the program ends in mid December. We will hold an online graduation in early January.

Spring 2021: The online course is self-paced with live instructors and begins in January. We meet at UC Berkeley early March. The program ends in early June, with our online graduation in late June.

+ Does each cohort start every spring or is there an opportunity to begin the program in the summer or fall?

Currently, we offer cohorts twice each year in January & July. The program lasts six months, beginning with a self-paced online course and ending with a 3-month Field Experience at a growing startup in one of the cities in our network. 

Support

+ Are there financial aid opportunities?

At this time, there are loan offerings through UC Berkeley, however, we do not currently have financial aid. We are working diligently to support students from all backgrounds.

+ Are field experiences paid?

Some experiences will pay a stipend to help with daily meals and local public transport, etc. You’ll be able to discuss that with potential employers during initial conversations. Also, we have housing options in each city where students live and work. Most of the time, students live in the same area or building, which helps to build community and create a greater sense of connection while abroad. 

+ Does Experience Lab help finding housing and in-country support?

Yes! We have a list of recommended housing options in each city where our students work. We also have in- country staff who support students and chaperone students to weekly professional events within the local business and creative communities.

students collaborating

Outcomes

+ Where will my field experience be?

In your application, you will let us know your specific skills and experiences, your preferences in terms of geography and type of professional role you’d like to have, and your long-term professional goals. We will use that information, along with additional conversations with your assigned programming manager to pitch you to 1-3 companies from the Experience Lab network that can provide you with the kinds of learning opportunities you need. We will then coordinate an interview between you and the first company where we think you’ll be the best fit. Following the interview, the company will decide whether to extend an offer of a Field Experience internship. If the company makes you an offer, we’ll encourage you to accept, absent any significant concerns. If the company decides not to extend an offer, we will keep working with you to find another placement within our network.

+ Will my field experience turn into a full-time job?

It’s possible, and many Fellows do get full time offers, but that should not be the expectation heading into the Field Experience. The agreement is for a 3-month internship role: you will contribute to the company’s work and mission, and they will provide an opportunity to learn and apply new skills to build your portfolio of professional work. Remember, specific tasks will vary from company to company, and we trust our Fellows to be flexible and willing to take on challenges. At the end of the Field Experience, if both you and the company are both interested in continuing to work together, you’ll decide those terms between yourselves, without the input of Experience Lab.

+ How will I be evaluated by UC Berkeley?

At the end of the program, you will either earn a Pass for successful completion of the course (and a certificate from Berkeley attesting to that), or an Incomplete. Each course module contains more specific information about the criteria we will use to assess different assignments, and the requirements to successfully complete that part of the program. At a philosophical level, we believe in assessment for learning, not just assessment of learning – that is, we think the feedback you receive on your work should help you improve your craft, not just give you a grade. To that end, we ensure that you receive regular, specific, and constructive feedback, and that you have opportunities to integrate that feedback to make your work stronger. Sometimes that feedback will come from your peers, sometimes from instructors, and sometimes from your colleagues and supervisors at your Field Experience. Experience Lab is designed so that your completion of program assignments will directly serve your goal to become a more skilled and compelling practitioner in content development – both during your Field Experience and in the opportunities you pursue beyond the program.