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The Cal Externship Program connects enrolled students with a Cal alum to explore a career field during winter break. This program is offered through a partnership between the Career Center and the Cal Alumni Association.


The Cal Externship is a job shadow program that pairs students with alumni during Winter Break to get an insider view of their workplace. Students gain insight to professional environments, have the chance to explore a career area to which they might otherwise not have exposure, and build their professional network in their chosen career area.

This is your opportunity to see what it’s really like to be a public defender, doctor, architect, engineer, teacher, social worker, writer, scientist, consultant, IT analyst, professor, youth center director, financial advisor, and more.

Register on the Berkeley Career Network, where you can connect with UC Berkeley alumni. Check Handshake for details on an information session to learn more about the program.

Advantages of Participating in a Job Shadow Externship

  • Explore a career field
  • Gain real-world workplace experience
  • Learn how to apply your academic major through discussions with a professional who has a similar background
  • Assess your “fit” for a particular position or organization
  • Make career connections and begin establishing your alumni network

Who Can Participate?

Open to all currently enrolled undergraduate students including undocumented and international students. Priority is given to freshmen and sophomores with special consideration in the matching process for Education Opportunity Program (EOP), Student Support Services (SSS), Transfer students, and Pell grant recipients. Students graduating in December of the current year are not eligible.

Where To Start

Watch this video with tips on how you can get started. You can access the Cal Job Shadow Externship Program page on the Cal Alumni Association website here.

More Details

A Job shadow experience is an opportunity that can last from one day to two weeks. It can be virtual or in-person. Externships are available in a wide variety of career fields in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, New York, Washington, DC, and other domestic and international locations. Through this experience, you can:

  • Observe the workday and workplace of your Externship host; attend meetings alongside them, observe work-related activities, and participate in other learning opportunities.
  • Talk to the Externship host about their career journey and the field
  • Provide limited assistance with projects or tasks to help you get acquainted with the organization and the profession

Job Shadow Externship Timeline

Externship Opens to Student   November November
Student Selection Period November November
Matching November/December November/December
Externship Period Winter Break Winter Break

Application and Matching Process

  • Participants will be selected based on responses to the registration questions.
  • Along with location, matching will be based on a combination of factors including preferences selected by students and overlap in interests and background identified in program registration questions.
  • You will receive an email notification once you are matched to your Extern Host or Student Extern.
  • Students will favorite alumni who are in career paths they are interested in and the Cal Externship Program Staff will match alumni Externship Hosts and students based on the student’s career interests and availability.
  • View this video to see how you can favorite Extern Hosts.