Externships vary in length, but usually last one or two days. They generally involve shadowing a professional through a normal day's activities and may include informational interviews, a tour of the facility, and participation in actual office projects, etc.
Externships are short-term (one to two days), offer no pay or academic credit, and are hosted by volunteers in various organizations to help students gain an insider's view of a career field. Internships are longer term (a semester or summer), may involve pay and academic credit, and support an organizations work function.
An externship is an excellent way to learn about the day-to-day work life of a professional in a career field of your choice. It offers you the chance to "test" a career without the risk of long- term commitment and can help you get your foot in the door for a competitive internship program or job.
First of all, use your personal networks to identify potential contacts who are working in fields that you've decided are interesting to you. If this doesn't work, use the yellow pages of the phone directory, company's or organization's web pages, professional associations and career fairs.
Call the individual and indicate that you are seeking more information about their field before you decide to enter it and would like to spend a half day or day shadowing this individual.
Here is an example of a telephone lead in to help you get started:
Hello Mr. Anderson, this is Linda Tran, a junior biology major at the University of Arkansas. I am considering becoming a physical therapist, but before deciding, I would like to spend a day or half a day shadowing someone currently working in this field. I am free on Tuesdays and Thursdays this semester. Would those be good days for you?