What is a capstone project?
The capstone project is a multifaceted assignment that involves many steps and serves as a “culminating academic and intellectual experience for students at the end of an academic program.” The term comes from architecture: A capstone is the final stone, usually flat, that is laid at the top of a wall or building to protect it and to symbolize it is finished. A capstone experience is the final “stone” laid on an education that symbolizes the completion of a program and the peak of accomplishment. In addition, it allows your teachers, peers and future employers to recognize your competency.
Capstone projects are generally designed to encourage students to think critically, solve challenging problems, and develop skills such as oral communication, public speaking, research skills, media literacy, teamwork, planning, self-sufficiency, or goal setting—i.e., skills that will help prepare them for modern careers, and adult life. In most cases, the projects are also interdisciplinary, in the sense that they require students to apply skills or investigate issues across many different subject areas or domains of knowledge. Capstone projects also tend to encourage students to connect their projects to community issues or problems, and to integrate outside-of-university learning experiences, including activities such as interviews, scientific observations, or internships.
Most undergraduate students do not have the opportunity to travel abroad and experience and develop communication skills with others cultures. However, in this global world, today’s engineer, professional, or practitioner is likely to have to work in global international teams with colleagues from other nationalities. The challenge for many university curricula is how to include, in a realistic way, this global dimension. INODEV lifts up your education to this globally coveted dimension.
Guide to completing a
This is a general guide intended to inform a graduate student’s progress through a thesis or capstone project. The steps, however, may vary slightly depending on the student’s academic program and committee chair.
To complete a thesis/capstone project, a student typically follows a series of steps through two phases. The first phase is the planning phase and the second phase is the production phase. The steps are explained in detail below with a flow chart at the end that will provide a visual overview of the entire process. Students should think of the capstone project as a one-semester undertaking and the thesis as a two-semester undertaking; depending on a number of other factors, it could take longer.
Step 1. Find a thesis/capstone project
The student may need to register in his college/university for the research course if applicable, identify with us a thesis/capstone project topic, and recruit a thesis/capstone project academic supervisor. The academic supervisor must be a faculty member of your college/university.
We follow best practice to help students identify a thesis/capstone project abroad. We apply selection criteria to guarantee tangible results.
Identify your thesis/capstone project
- Online. Do real research. Consult our thesis/capstone project platform, read articles about interning abroad, compare program specifications. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the paradox of choice, holler at one of INODEV’s expert online advisors for a short list of suggested internships that match what you’re looking for.
- Application. Read the application requirements, fill the choice list (priority list of three favorite thesis/capstone projects from our platform), and submit your application through our online application form.
- Interview. Subsequent positive assessment of your application, you will be contacted for an interview.
- Selection. Applicants retained after the interview will be ranked according to a merit sequence.
- Ascription of the thesis/capstone project. The thesis/capstone project will be awarded according to the merit sequence and your choice list.
Keep in mind
Thesis/capstone project process. After you are awarded a thesis/capstone project, follow your college/university regulations to complete administrative procedures before your start your thesis/capstone project.
Invitation letter. After you are awarded a thesis/capstone project, an invitation letter will be issued from the host college/university. This document will be submitted with the visa request and must be presented on demand at the border post.
Scholarships. Intern abroad scholarships exist! Ask us or your university contacts to learn about available funding options. Apply early and apply often!
Timing. Many students opt to do their thesis/capstone project abroad in January term. However, upon your request, we may extend your academic mobility on an entire academic year.
Questions to ask
Can I chat with an alum? Getting first-hand, direct feedback on an internship program or placement from a previous intern is your best for factual information.
Will I get credit for my thesis/capstone project abroad? After the successful completion, submission, and presentation of your thesis/capstone project, the home college/university will score credits.
Step 2. Figure out how to pay for it
While the unpaid aspect can be a bit of a bummer, it most definitely doesn’t have to be a nix-worthy factor when choosing an internship abroad. There are so many pros to interning abroad that this seemingly difficult dilemma doesn’t have to be a toughy, especially if you need the experience.
It’s no secret that the job market nowadays is tough. Getting a job requires experience, but experience only comes from working the field. It is quite the conundrum, literally. Luckily, many companies offer the experience fresh professionals so desperately need while mutually benefiting by being compensated with free labor! It stinks (and can be controversial) to have to work for free, but it has practically become the expected norm.
If you haven’t already completed the internship route and need the experience to break into your chosen field, an international internship can actually set you above and beyond your competing peers by providing that ever-so-desirable global edge. International status alone, however, won’t cut the cake, it is the improving of skills and hands-on learning that will really help get you hired when the time comes.
Financial aid may apply. If you are currently receiving a grant or scholarship (especially if it is awarded by the state or federal government), chances are it can be applied to your thesis/capstone project abroad. Your campus financial aid office will be your best bet for accurate info on this front.
Step 3. Apply & prepare
Sometimes the most daunting part of the process is hitting the “submit” button on the application page. How can you submit your virtual resume with confidence?
Don’t get lazy with your cover letter. Make sure it is hyper relevant to the position you are applying for. State your goals clearly. Be concise and avoid flowery language. Commit to connecting your desired experience abroad with your life back home or future career.
INODEV will be able to provide the most helpful, extensive advice for your application. But it’s not a bad idea to be one step ahead of the game with general preparations:
Get your travel docs in a row. Be sure you have a valid passport and visa for your destination of choice. With our VisaExpress kit we ensure for your rapid visa delivery.
Memorize some words in the local language. Commit general greetings to memory, and make a pocket list of emergency phrases just in case. Download our phrasebooks.
Do you have a heartbeat? Double check that you’re alive and well by getting a physical prior to departure. Double check your destination country to ensure you don’t need specific vaccines or immunizations.
Prep for jetlag. No yawns allowed during your first week of work! Learn ways to combat relapses from hopping time zZzZones.
Pack appropriately. Research your destination before tossing your pants into your shiny new suitcase. Even outside of the office, you should be prepared to dress properly and respectfully.
Proper planning and preparation is the first step to avoiding regrets when doing an academic mobility abroad.
Step 4. Kick-off your thesis/capstone project
Before you embark on your big trip, take some time to sit down and think critically about what you hope to accomplish through your project abroad. Outline tangible goals that you can work towards daily, and keep your list as a working document. You can modify your list the more comfortable you get in your role, the more you recognize parts of the job you’re jiving with versus parts you aren’t, and as you learn what is reasonable to accomplish instead of far fetched.
Don’t have a starry eyed view of what your internship abroad will be. There will be time for fun, for laughter, for adventure. But it is ultimately your job, and should be treated as such. Be patient with yourself as you are combatting not only the culture shock of a new country, but potentially the culture shock of a 40 hour work week. Trust us, both are tough.
It’s important that you over communicate with your supervisor or ground staff. If you are unhappy with an element of your thesis/capstone project, no one can do anything about it if you don’t vocalize your frustrations. On the flipside, recognize that adjustment takes time and your petty issues may be just that: petty.
Step 5. Return home & launch your career
While it would be great if your academic mobility abroad could seamlessly turn into the fabulous expat life abroad, it’s more than likely that you’ll have to return home at some point.
Now that your resume sparkles with international street cred, brainstorm new career paths or activities that will allow you to continue building on the skills you started to uncover while you were abroad. Get involved in mentoring future students weighing the choice of studying or interning abroad, or start planning your next trip!