I am a newly transferred undergraduate Earth Science major and because of this I haven't had any internship experience in my field, even though I will be going into my senior year this fall (I also might have to take an extra semester to make up for time lost).
In my previous major, I remember my advisor saying he had a student who just filed data for him all summer for free, and at the end he gave her a letter of recommendation and she put it on her resume. It seemed like a kind of informal internship, and since I'll be taking a summer class, the casualness of it seems preferable as a way of getting some experience, as compared to a rigorous 9 to 5 internship that will take up all of my time. So my question is, could I simply email professors at different universities close to my hometown and ask if they need any help with their research this summer? I would prefer to ask my professors at my University, but because I'm taking a summer class in my hometown (about an hour away from my University) I wouldn't be able to drive everyday.
I feel like professors who do their own research would want all the help they can get, like someone to do grunt work, which I would be fine with as long as I can get something to put on a resume and/or a letter of recommendation for a better internship/job down the line.