WFI Internships in Rome

Who is a WFI Intern? A Villanova student standing on stage when the Pope’s Twitter account is officially launched, assisting with social media outreach that impacts more than 1 billion people around the world. A Villanova student covering the installation of Pope Francis, covering Pope Francis' historic visit to the United States, or working on virtual reality tours of the Sistine Chapel using state-of-the-art-technology that provides an unrivaled view. A student writing speeches for UN officials, or having their blog post tweeted by OxFam.

The Waterhouse Family Institute for the Study of Communication and Society proudly provides financial assistance to students who travel to Rome each semester to take part in these prestigious work experiences, the WFI Internships either at the Vatican or at the United Nations.

Given this unique program, and the amazing experiences our students have had, our WFI Interns have appeared on CNN, the Today ShowMSNBC, NPR, and all four Philadelphia network affiliates. Our students and faculty have been quoted in stories run by the AP, the Washington Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and numerous other media outlets.

  • Established over a decade ago, the WFI Internship at the Vatican has allowed students interested in public relations, journalism, and media production to assist Vatican-related offices with social media outreach and other tasks, seeing firsthand how people from vastly different backgrounds and cultures are united by words that capture shared beliefs. We have internships at the Vatican Secretariat for Communication, Catholic News Service, and Rome Reports.
  • Begun in Fall, 2014, our WFI Internship at the United Nations’ International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), gives students in rhetoric the opportunity to participate in international advocacy intended to end rural poverty, by investing in rural people. It has gone so well that, in Spring 2017, we added a second internship at IFAD for students interested in public relations! Our WFI Interns at the UN have written speeches for IFAD officials, contributed to research projects and special events, blogged UN events around Italy, and have engaged in social media advocacy to assist in realizing IFAD's mission. One of our WFI Interns was thanked (in print) for his contributions to the book written by the President of IFAD, A Bucket of Water.  

Interested in becoming a WFI Intern at the Vatican or UN?

We can’t promise that you will be on the “Today” show during your semester in Rome, or that you'll be memorialized in print by a UN official, but we can promise you that a once-in-a-lifetime experience awaits - one that will you will remember and draw upon for years to come.

"Never before have I been in such a dynamic, high-profile environment. Over my time here, I've covered events featuring the Italian Minister of Finance, the King of Tonga, the President of Ghana, the executive director of Oxfam International, and the editor of the Italian National Geographic. I've written blog posts that have racked up several thousand views and designed a Twitter campaign for the upcoming release of the Annual Report. Along the way I've also written copy for both web and print publications, edited dozens of different texts, and even attended international events both at IFAD and in Perugia."

Adam Vincent, WFI Intern at the UN, Spring 2015

"The WFI Internship at the Vatican was truly a one in a million experience. My most memorable experience was standing on the Palentine Hill during Way of the Cross, with only about 20 other press people, only feet away from Pope Francis, taking photos that would later be posted on the News.va English Facebook page. Even my typical work week was incredible as I reached thousands of people in five different languages via my daily gospel posts on the News.va Facebook pages and thousands more through photos on News.va Instagram, spent every Wednesday morning with Pope Francis and thousands of pilgrims from all over the world, and enjoyed the incredible view of Saint Peter’s Basilica every time I stepped out of the office."

Tatum Murray, WFI Intern at the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Spring 2015

For more on the student perspective, please visit the WFI Interns’ blog.

Besides working at the Vatican or the UN (a great resume builder, to say the least) our students also grow academically and personally.  Living in neighborhoods and studying alongside Italian students provides students with an authentic experience, allowing them to connect deeply with the culture and challenge themselves to go beyond their previously held limits.

We are fortunate to partner with Arcadia University’s program in Rome where students participate in an Italian language class and take two courses carefully selected to match with Villanova requirements.  These courses, combined with the six credits students receive for their for their internship work, means that a full course load can be completed while in Rome.

One last incredible selling point: Students who are selected for the program are reimbursed for their air travel expenses thanks to a generous grant from the Waterhouse Family Institute.

Want To Change Your Life?

To be eligible to apply, students must be Communication majors who will have junior status by the time they go to Rome and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Students are required to complete at least one 3000 level course in their area of interest (Public Relations, Journalism, Media Arts & Design, or Rhetorical Studies) prior to their semester in Rome.  Experience with Italian is not required; however, it is a plus.

To apply, please email a cover letter and resume to the faculty member below who represents your area of interest. In addition to the application, you will also be expected to interview with the faculty member who advises your chosen internship. Selection for the program is quite competitive since there are a limited number of slots available each semester.

  • WFI Internships at The Vatican Secretariat for Communication (Journalism), Catholic News Service, or Rome Reports (Journalism): Dr. Tom Ksiazek
  • WFI Internships at the Vatican Secretariat for Communication (Media Arts & Design): Prof. Michael Mafodda
  • WFI Internships at the Vatican Secretariat for Communication (Public Relations) or the public relations intern at the United Nations: Prof. Jill Flanagan
  • WFI Internships at the United Nations (Rhetorical Studies): Dr. Billie Murray

WE ARE CURRENTLY ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR ALL OUR INTERNSHIP POSITIONS FOR SPRING 2018! APPLICATIONS FOR SPRING 2018 ARE DUE Monday, Sept. 11, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. Please contact one of our faculty internship supervisors for more details!

To Learn More

WFI interns pic

To learn more about these internships, the coursework required for each, and the application process, don't wait! Contact the coordinator of The WFI Internships at the Vatican and the UN right away:

Prof. Jill Flanagan
Communication Department
Villanova University
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085
Telephone: 610.519.7888
jill.flanagan@villanova.edu