Best Practices Made Better-Foundations: Vetting Potential Host Organizations
Updated: Apr 30
Editor’s Note: We are pleased to feature a short segment from the forthcoming NAFSA book Internships, Service Learning, and Research Abroad written by Global Career Center Co-Founder Kate Moore. The book will be available at the NAFSA Conference and in the NAFSA online shop.
As a primer for practitioners, this publication provides general context and specific guidance as well as actionable activities alongside an invitation to continue the conversation. While the book touches on a range of topics, this excerpt includes an overview and checklist to help guide vetting host organizations.
Vetting Host Organizations
Interaction with ISLRA host organizations provides opportunity to share excitement and establish expectations. Vetting refers to the work of a program manager or program supervisor while researching, recruiting, and reviewing organizations to consider their suitability to host a student. This step is completed prior to student placement for both new and returning host organizations.
Particularly for a new host organization, vetting ideally includes a visit to the physical location and conversation with the direct supervisor and administrative contacts about on-site protocols, focus of research or work project, and level of support. A sample host organization preliminary site visit checklist is included here.
This visit and conversation will provide opportunity for relationship building and greater understanding of the host organization and its culture to inform a stronger match to student. The conversations with host organizations should include discussions about their motivations for hosting students and their definitions of a successful experience. These conversations will shed light on the host organization’s past experiences and clarify the student experience.
Thorough vetting of opportunities will include confirmation that students’ physical workspaces are safe, job scope or project parameters are substantive, and organizational environment is supportive. Clear expectations should spell out the requirements of the host organization and individual supervisor, including oversight of hours or output as well as ongoing training and guidance for the student.
Moore, K. (2022). Internships, Service Learning, and Research Abroad. Washington, DC: NAFSA.