Excerpted from the CIA student newspaper, La Papillote. Article by Anna Ungricht, AOS Baking & Pastry.
Have you thought about your externship? For some, it has already come and gone, for some it is right around the corner, but for many others it is still a passing thought. A vital and exciting part of coming to the CIA is, surprisingly enough, leaving for an externship. After only two semesters here we go off into the “real world” of your chosen job. Having gone through this experience once already, I know what the fears are, how frustrating finding one can be, and the immense learning opportunity it will be.
I wanted to find out, from other baking students, what they thought about the externship. I came up with some questions and had a few baking students answer them.
- What are your fears about finding an externship?
- What do you want out of your externship?
- Where do you want to go?
- How do you plan to find an externship?
There were a variety of answers, but it showed the most common fear is not finding one. The best way to establish an externship is to start early, keep looking, and use the Career Services Office. The school has 1,600 sites approved for externships. Many of them for culinary, but baking sites are certainly in there. According to Career Services Officer Tom Leggio, “That depends, and changes every day. It is also seasonal, when places are open.” Baking students have as much an opportunity to find an externship as culinary students.
Everyone that took the survey had, at least, a general idea of where they want to go. Some want to go to Disney, the West Coast, places close to home, the East Coast, and internationally too. I asked Tom Leggio if there is a common place for baking externships, to which he replied, “There is not one common place, but country clubs and places that have high volume events and weddings [are most desired].”
It seems some students fear they do not have enough experience or are afraid of looking stupid on their externship. As students, we think we know everything; we do well in class, and well on the tests, but the externship is a glimpse into the scary “real world!” “It is understood that you are a student. The chefs are like an extension of the faculty. You also have to decide on your preference. If you want to go a well-known restaurant or a mom and pop place, you have to weigh the options to fit your need. This is an opportunity to grow, “ Mr. Leggio was quoted saying. The externship is undoubtedly an insight to see if what we want to do is truly what we want to do.
Most students feel that the CIA does a decent job of helping them find an externship. We as students are not thrown to the wolves hoping against hope that we are not eaten alive while just trying to survive. So as baking students—and even culinary—get ready to start looking, or have already looked, the Career Services Office is the best place to start or continue. Not only will they be able to help you find an externship, but they also have resources to help you find housing. We are given every opportunity to succeed, so grab these opportunities while you can!