How to live on an unpaid internship?

<p>So I'm searching for internships and most of the ones I qualify for are unpaid (all the paid ones seem to be for rising seniors). I'm a bit vexed by this given that a lot of these are actually at corporations, not the broke government... but I digress.</p>

<p>Who here has done unpaid internships, and how the heck do you live on them? I'm lucky enough that my parents pay for school and room & board, but I don't think they'd be willing to pay for a car (or at least not for insurance and gas). Do most of you take up part time jobs as well?</p>

<p>You can't. <rant> This is why I think internships have become defacto legalized indentured service (if the labor laws were actually enforced, it is pretty clear that most should be paid, but it's in the interest of ALL the parties involved to look the other way) and you have to be sufficiently well-off to afford to work for less than free (transportation, clothing, meals, opportunity costs, etc.). </rant></p>

<p>When S has had unpaid internships, he was lucky enough to find some paid work (best was waitering for catering company - especially when they paid OT for big weekend events, also did paid staff at camp programs he'd been active in as a teen, and some tutoring and even some babysitting and run-errand gigs) and we were able to help him out some. We juggled cars to minimize transportation costs. We discussed (but proved uneeded) staying with friends or family if it was more convenient to the "employer". </p>

<p>Talk with your parents - be prepared to explain how the internship helps with your education and career choices (which may include using the experience to eliminate something you thought you wanted to do) and what you will do to minimize and address expenses. If you decide to get a paid job instead, even if unrealted to your major, don't worry it will adversly affect your post-graduation employment. We adults "get" that many students need to work to help pay for school, and will evaluate the experience appropriately (drive/determination, good work habits, reliable employee, etc.). I can think of few situations where intern experience would give a candidate a significant edge.</p>

<p>OP, don't give up, keep searching. Although some internships are unpaid, many are paid.</p>

<p>S got an internship last year for $15 an hour. He was a freshman then. It took him a long time. If I remember correctly, he looked starting around December and finally found something in May. He applied for like ~60 jobs, had several interviews, got an unpaid offer and turned it down before he found this one. Not only that it was paid, he learned a lot and enjoyed it.</p>

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This is why I think internships have become defacto legalized indentured service

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<p>Amen. And it really isn't just the businesses that are to blame. Colleges shove the idea that you have to have an internship before you graduate (and this is true) down students' throats. So the pressure students feel makes them settle for these ridiculous unpaid internships. Meanwhile, Colleges promote these things. The colleges should be looking out for the students and demanding some sort of compensation.</p>

<p>It is the same thing with student loans. The colleges say nothing when students start pulling out ridiculous private loans from predatory lenders like SallieMae. They just allow these financial institutions to put their students in another form of servitude for 10-25 years. </p>

<p>All of these things on top of the fact that many colleges are failing at placing qualified students with strong companies. Bottom line - colleges are failing in a lot of ways and it will catch up eventually.</p>

<p>save up through working throughout the year? i tend bars a lot of weekends</p>