In my opinion never ever accept an internship for no pay.
It is expressing a one way deal, intern doing free work for an employer: it also expresses a bit of selfishness within the company. If you can't pay your intern, don't offer one!
Last summer I got involved with a business ordeal. I found that this gallery was opening in Quincy, Ma on craigslist and thought it would be a great opportunity. I sent them my resume and portfolio and they responded. We set up an interview in Quincy and it started off great and ended great! They loved my work, my insight, etc. and thought I'd be a great addition. Well some time down the road I got a bit frustrated with their lack of communication regarding my involvement with this whole process and sent an email which they interpreted as me not being interested! They wanted me to teach classes during the summer when they thought they would open at the beginning of: so I set up a calender; organized the classes, the supplies and had everything up and ready. And things started to fall apart from there...
In return for setting up the classes, they would showcase 14 of my photographs I had taken that summer. That would have been really cool! They wanted large frames and smaller 5x6 photos for purchase. I had gotten postcards with my contact info and put the photos on that. I probably spent around $80 getting this all together. By now they kept delaying the opening date and its now the end of August. I had dropped everything off before I left for college. Then when they finally opened, I noticed photos on facebook of the place and noticed my photographs weren't even on the walls. I heard nothing about the photos being accepted or not accepted so I again sent them another email asking what's up... they said they wouldn't put them up because the presentation was not what they expected: because apparently by meaning "black frame" they meant your standard gallery frame from Dick Blicks and shrink wrap envelopes instead of shrink wrap wrapping for easter baskets. They NEVER specified any of this.
This "art director" was a professor. I'd be damned if she was ever my professor. A simple spec sheet given to me via email would've saved so many arguments.
Yes. I did argue with this art director about her refusal of my artwork. I had spent money and time putting that crap together and what did she respond with? The same thing. That SHE spent more time and money getting the gallery together. NO SHIT.
It appeared that she didn't know how to treat people in business. I hope she knew how much it took to organize and pay for all the presentation supplies. They took the class stuff but never paid me back at all. For anything. Since that summer I haven't heard a peep from them.
I had asked my mom to get the photos from the gallery because I wanted to submit some of them to the Banafactory Photography show that was going on in the Fall (my pieces weren't accepted) and when my mom came back she said it had FAIL written all over it.
They had used a BLUE RUSSIAN GREY for the walls. WHO uses a grey for gallery walls?! I understand you want to make it more hip and had a vision but you gotta do what's expected in a gallery =/
In the end, unless the experience is REALLY worth it, don't do it.