Anyone heard of University of Dreams (internship placement program)?

Discussion in 'Careers, Education & the Business of Fashion' started by octopi, Jan 25, 2010.

  1. octopi

    octopi New Member

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    so i'm in the midst of trying to switch professions into fashion publishing...in which i have little experience so i thought the best thing to do is to do an internship at a fashion mag in NYC. i can't remember how, but i stumbled upon "University of Dreams" which is an all-inclusive (housing, meal plans, social calendar etc) internship placement program that runs in cities all over the world, including NYC, LA, London, Barcelona etc, with internship placements in industries like fashion, publishing, PR, banking, etc etc.

    the thing is, there seems to be very little information available on the general internet about this organization and details on their programs, apart from their own advertisements and single "reviews" that seem to be written by their own staff, promoting themselves. and also i heard from their facebook page that it's very expensive for the program (which is just under 2 months), so it doesn't make any sense to me why i would pay that much money to be placed in an UNPAID internship, which presumably i can obtain by myself. on the other hand, i wonder if the program is actually really good and actually worth the $$, especially for a Canadian (me) trying to get an internship in the states. on their website they post names like USWeekly, Glamour, InStyle etc which i'm guessing are some of their most prominent partners in internship-placement but i dont' know....they've been kind of pushy with their emails to me.

    so this is sort of my last resort--does any here have any first-hand info on this 'University of Dreams'? has anyone been through their programs? is it any good? worth the $$? trustworthy?

    here are some links if anyone wants to have a look and tell me what they think. i'm kind of torn and thoroughly confused as to whether i should pursue this or not, because the market in NYC sounds really tough and full of competition so should i just bite the bullet and try to get a leg up, in any way i can, on everyone else competing for the same internships? thanks in advance everybody!!! :smile::flower:

    - UofD's official website:
    http://www.summerinternships.com/

    - forum discussing UofD's banking internship program:
    http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/university-of-dreams-is-it-a-scam

    - UofD's facebook page:
    http://www.facebook.com/uofdreams

    - another article with lots of comments afterward:
    http://toughsledding.wordpress.com/2006/12/01/u-of-dreams-offers-you-summer-camp-internships/

    - another article, from the Daily Princetonian:
    http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2009/10/13/24118/
     
  2. BetteT

    BetteT Well-Known Member

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    It might be legit. But, it sure sends up some red flags ... a lot of money to spend when you might be able to do the same thing through your college. You are smart to check it out, before you commit for anything like this. If it sounds too good to be true ... it probably is. :wink:

    Even if it's legit, bear in mind ... it's designed only for college students ... it's the only way they can legally place you in unpaid internships ... for credit only. So ... I'd first check into that, if you aren't able to arrange for college credits. Although, it sounds like they have arranged for someone to get credits at Menlo College (unless that person was already a student there and I misunderstood the comment).

    And, I'd certainly check with your college counselor first ... because they might A. know something about it and B. have a similar list of internships that don't cost anything. I don't know if it really gives you a leg up ... you will still have to compete and they still will want who they consider to be the "best fit".
     
  3. jssy4eva

    jssy4eva Active Member

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    I looked through the site...it sounds amazing, but 8000 bucks for 2 months? You could just look for your own internship and look for a place on your own for much cheaper...
     
  4. EasyCool

    EasyCool New Member

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    What does your gut tell you. Always go with that. Go to fashionista.com they have internship listings from time to time. You can also email them to ask them for advice. Make a list of all of the companies you want to work with even blogs as well. Contact them and ask them about their programs. You also may want to look up very successful companies in Canada. Designers based out of their, modeling agencies, very successful boutique shops as well. A lot of internships are based on who you know.

    I your case since you don't have the connections, what I personally would do is
    For example:

    Call up the best fashion pr company close to me, a local big designer that shows at fashion week, a boutique that sells (alexander wang, balmain, ect.).

    I would ask them if they have any assistant jobs, intern jobs to get your foot in the door.

    Going to a popular boutique would work because the owner is usually there, you can call ahead to see when they will be there and go in.

    When you go in tell them (the head manager or owner if they come in) what you want to do in the beginning. Ex: "I really want to get my foot in the door of the fashion business and I am hungry to learn, volunteer, work my way up. I am looking to move to ____ (ex: new york, Los Angeles) and get an internship, but i want to start in canada. I was looking for a job for ___ (amount of time) and someone that would be able to refer me and help me get a wonderful internship with a fashion industry.

    Sometimes that is how it is. Usually kids and young people with conections get internships with major pr, designers, and fashion companies.

    Also the becoming an assistant is really under rated.
     
  5. *Bianca*

    *Bianca* Active Member

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    I've been wondering about this program too, and asked about it in the main internship thread.

    They do supply credit from Menlo College:

    And since the majority of placements require course credit this is huge for me. While I am a currently a student at an Australian university, trying to organise my own credit seems a bit tricky... I don't really have any classes in my program that would give credit points for an internship. I'm always surprised/envious to hear US students doing multiple internships and getting credit for all of them.

    The company is no doubt making a profit - as yourself and others have said, we could probably organise housing, etc on our own for a cheaper price. But could you get course credit on your own? For me, highly unlikely... so the breakdown of fees for me would include being enrolled in a unit as well.

    Would you require a Visa, octopi?

    Unfortunately it seems UoD don't help with sponsorship, which now that I've thought about it, is a drawback for me - I think I came across a different internship program that does include sponsership (I'll have to look through my bookmarks to find it though) but I can't remember if they included course credit. I'm incredibly interested in interning in the US, but given that I'd have to get a Visa, which would require the company I'm placed with to pay quite a lot out of their own pocket to sponser me, doesn't make me feel too confident in securing a place :unsure: So the major hurdles in the international internship process for me are course credit, and visa sponsership.
     
    #5 *Bianca*, Jan 26, 2010
    Last edited by moderator Lena1: Jan 26, 2010
  6. BetteT

    BetteT Well-Known Member

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    They did mention that they help with your Visa paperwork in the Video .... but never actually said they helped with a sponsor to get that visa/work permit.

    But ... I'm thinking that the company who offers you an internship would have to sponsor you. Therfore, I would think that only companies that would be willing to sponsor you and do all the work requred, would actually pick you up as an intern. It probably would cut down the field a lot ... not every company may have the knowledge and staff to do that.
     
  7. octopi

    octopi New Member

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    thanks everyone for your input! i really really appreciate it.

    bianca: yes i would need a visa to work in the states, as i am (proudly, but inconveniently) canadian.

    although....if i'm not mistaken, i wouldn't need a visa at all if i was working for free (ie. doing an internship), correct? this is sort of what i was hoping for--to intern at a magazine and do such an amazing job that they would consider sponsoring/hiring me.

    BetteT and EasyCool: i totally hear what you're saying and completely agree--only thing is i've been done college for 3 years now, so i couldn't get course credit or ask my college to arrange an internship. i have been working in the fashion industry as a womenswear designer for a few years but have recently realized that design is not where my true passions are, but fashion publishing (my ultimate goal is to be a fashion editor). since i have no formal training or experience in that field--which, from what i gather, seems to consist of lots of styling experience and maybe a background in art history or anthropology--i figure the best way is to intern at a magazine and show them my eye for styling and my work ethic. is this a plausible approach you think?

    i have sent my application to the UofD along with a brief background on myself--how i'm not a college student, i'm actually a 25 year old fashion designer etc etc and asked them whether they have a program suitable for me? and they answered that i seem like a qualified applicant (even though i'm not a student), and then an advisor emailed me and stressed that their program is 'all-inclusive' and she wanted to set up a phone appointment to discuss what sort of opportunities i'm after, and then right after that they emailed me again, urging me to contact 'my' advisor. i haven't emailed her back or called, since i was kind of apprehensive to begin with and even more so now that i've seen how pushy they are.

    i know that if i was a US citizen, i wouldn't even consider this program because it's SO expensive ($8000 for just under 2 months of UNPAID work) and i would be able to get these internships/living arrangements on my own. but because of my being canadian and all, i'm beginning to think this might be a good last resort IF they can work out issues with getting me a visa etc, if i indeed need one. so complicated :(

    oh and one more for you: since i'll be in new york for a few days in feb, i was thinking of bringing my resume/portfolio and dropping them off at some fashion mags in NYC. is this a good idea or totally stupid? i don't want them to laugh at me!
     
  8. *Bianca*

    *Bianca* Active Member

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    octopi, unpaid work requires a visa as well.

    I think you'd have to apply for either a J-1 Intern, Trainee, or Summer Work/Travel visa (although some may only allow current students or recent grads).
     
  9. EasyCool

    EasyCool New Member

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    Hey you might want try this. Apply for a school in New york city. Any kind of school. One that will help you get your visa, educational credits, additional education 2 yrs program or so, and living situation. I know you probably don't want to go back to school, but call a few schools in new york to see if they have programs that can accomadate you.

    1. visa
    2. Living situation
    3. In New York
    4. Additional education always a plus
    5. A tuition program or finacial aid so you don't have to pay all money up front
    6. Maybe this could just be a short program

    Also I heard that FIT and PArsons have summer programs that aren't that expensive and you get to live on campus (i think), people from around the world come in, and you can develope contacts for your self during this time possibly.

    Hey just call around to different schools there (ex: parsons, FIT, NYU)

    Try contacting the magazines now and tell them your situation and what you have to offer and see if they can tell you how to go about getting there. Have some things written up to show your talent and # Do show weakness or be scared. That business is a tough business and just exude confidence. This is your time not theirs, and even if they do laugh at you behind your back who cares, you just keep going.

    Also one more thing, sorry, try to go by the offices of coacdinc.com offices, but i dont see an email.

    Did you see this

    THEY representation
    Location: Vancouver

    THEY Representation offers unpaid internships to those individuals who express a vested interest in the fashion and advertising industries.

    Interns should be detail oriented and possess strong verbal and written communication skills. Good phone manners are a must!

    For more information please visit: http://theyrep.com/about

    Please email your résumé and cover letter to [email protected]

    Company Info

    THEY Representation represents some of the very best photographers and artists working in today’s advertising and fashion markets. Their involvement within the industry ranges from national advertising campaigns to creative fashion editorials for both Canadian and U.S. publications. THEY is responsible for the booking and branding of all of its photographers and artists, and is involved in the production of all shoots.



    FASHION Magazine
    Location: Toronto (Montreal and Vancouver internships available on the link below in the pdf file)

    FASHION Magazine offers three and four month unpaid internships in seven departments in seven department: editorial, fashion, beauty, photo, marketing, design, and sales.

    Toronto Fashion Internship Candidates for the fashion internship
    program should have a strong interest in both fashion magazines and the
    fashion industry. Much of the work involves shipping, receiving, unpacking
    and organizing merchandise, and tending to faxes and couriers. Fashion
    interns sometimes help out at photo shoots, attend market appointments
    with editors and compile vendor catalogues. They may also have the opportunity to write small pieces for the magazine if they show interest and ability.

    Toronto Fashion Internship
    (submit to [email protected] )
    1. Critique the last issue of FASHION in 200 words.
    2. Name five magazines you read regularly, and five magazines you wish you read regularly.
    3.The pace in the fashion department can be frantic at times. Please describe an on-the job situation where you demonstrated your organizational ability, and one where you demonstrated creative problem-solving skills.
    4.Suggest four story ideas for the magazine, including two for the fashion section, in 100 words each or less.

    For more information and contact information for each office please visit:http://media.fashionmagazine.com/images/intern.pdf


    Flare Magazine
    Location: Toronto

    FLARE editorial offers three to four-month internships. They have a limited number of positions, and priority is given to journalism, art direction or fashion students students who must complete work-placement hours to obtain their degree or diploma.

    Unless email addresses are indicated, applications for editorial internships must be sent via MAIL only.

    To apply to one of FLARE’s editorial internship programs, please send a cover letter outlining your area of interest and a resume to ONE of the following contacts:

    Art Department, Erin Finlayson
    Beauty Department, Carlene Higgins
    Copy Department, Laura Flanagan
    Entertainment Department, Alexandra Breen
    Fashion Department, Erin O’Brien – [email protected]
    FLARE.COM, Aya McMillan – [email protected]

    MAILING ADDRESS:
    FLARE Magazine
    One Mount Pleasant Road, 8th Flr.
    Toronto, ON M4Y 2Y5

    For more information: http://www.flare.com/aboutus/jobs.jsp



    I found these in the
    "help wanted"- post unpaid internships & Other Unpaid Opps (no comments, please!)
    on this site on: Careers, Education & the Business of Fashion

    This could be good for you too.

    I hop this helped
     
    #9 EasyCool, Jan 27, 2010
    Last edited by moderator : Jan 27, 2010
  10. octopi

    octopi New Member

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    ^easycool you are a saint. thank you so much for taking the time to give me so much helpful advice!

    it looks like i've got my work cut out for me..i thought i had figured out a general plan but i'll need to start over now :P

    oh and update: the UofD emailed me again today to tell me that they've reviewed my application and while they were impressed, they've decided to put me on waitlist until they receive further information from me, and that i should contact my advisor. i guess there's no harm in emailing them and finding out more info as long as i don't have to pay them anything yet!
     
  11. softgrey

    softgrey flaunt the imperfection

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    i think you have a better shot at getting an internship at a canadian mag...
    there will be fewer people competing for internships...
    this will also give you some industry experience and then you might have a better chance of getting something in new york...

    one step at a time...
    you're not just going to come to NY and start writing for vogue...
    :smile:

    and that 'university' sounds really sketchy...
    it's certainly not a school of any sort, so right there...they are misleading people...
    they're just set up to make money from desperate people...
    don't be one of them...

    :flower:
     
    #11 softgrey, Jan 27, 2010
    Last edited by moderator starrb81477: Jan 27, 2010
  12. octopi

    octopi New Member

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    thanks for the advice softgrey :smile: they do sound like they prey on desperate people don't they? i think i will walk away from the UofD, but i still plan on getting some additional info from them for my own reference (and for anyone here who may be looking into this in the future).

    for the record though, i fully realize that i'm not just going to waltz into a new and competitive industry, in a city like NYC and expect to make all my dreams come true right away and start writing for vogue...which is why i'm looking to take opportunities--any opportunity, be it shipping packages, doing coffee runs, whatever grunt work they want to throw at me--as long as it opens some doors for me to work in the fashion publishing industry.

    right now i'm just worried about getting a visa...lots of research work ahead of me. but you guys have a point, i should start at the canadian magazines before trying to take on the big boys. thanks for all your words of advice :smile:
     
  13. Meg

    Meg inspired contemplation

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    just to weigh in, I had a friend who did a University of Dreams internship last summer in San Francisco for an American law firm, and she's Canadian (and certainly got no credit for it as many Canadian universities don't offer credit for internships). She loved it and thought it was a great experience. They did a lot of organized activities, etc. I'm guessing it's similar to other programs like The Washington Centre. It's expensive but you don't have to spend time writing applications for internships, you have someone to organize accommodation and visa's for you and a way to other young people in the program.

    I understand not wanting to do an internship in Canada - there are fewer opportunities, you need to be in certain areas, and you may want exposure to a bigger market. To be fair, to do an 'unpaid' internship in the US for two months, it would probbly cost you only slightly less. First of all, you'd have to spend considerable time applying and possibly travel costs for interviews. Secondly, to go to a place like NYC or LA, you could potentially 'work' as an unpaid intern with no visa on the simple visitors stay (though many firms would not be comfortable with this, and the likelihood of someone sponsoring you for an unpaid internship is slim), to get short term housing you could be paying quite a bit per month plus travel, food, entertainment expenses. If the question is whether the program is legit, yes. Whether or not it's worth it is another
     
    #13 Meg, Jan 27, 2010
    Last edited by moderator : Jan 27, 2010
  14. EasyCool

    EasyCool New Member

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    WOW, boys and girl my messed up post is what happens when you don't proof read and slow down on your writing. Learn from my mistakes, there's at least ten of them, jeez.:o:blink::shock::lol::unsure::cry::innocent:
     
  15. octopi

    octopi New Member

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    ^LOL!

    Thank you for giving me a different perspective Meg! Karma :smile:

    i found an organization that provides 'affordable' housing for interns in NYC. i haven't really looked into it so i don't know how affordable it actually is.. but you make a good point about how it might actually work out to be almost the same price to do the UofD thing, if i attempted to land an internship on my own. maybe i should start saving now, just in case..

    thanks again everyone for your input, you have helped me IMMENSELY! thank you so much!!
     

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