What is an Internship?
An internship is a generally unpaid position with a company or other organization in which the student, or intern, learns the skills they need for their chosen profession while working hands-on in a real work environment related to their field.
For example, if you’re becoming a journalist, educator or doctor, your program will most likely include an internship during or near the end of your time of study. In some cases an internship position will be provided for you, but in other programs you may need to go out and find an internship yourself. It really varies depending on what you intend to study, but internships are generally for high school, university or college students, whereas those in the trades would be finding apprenticeships.
Intern work involves hands-on, on the job experience that is invaluable in your future career. For example, a medical intern would spend time at a hospital working with real doctors, nurses and patients in an actual hospital environment. A journalism intern would have to find a paper, magazine or website to intern for. This could involve whatever your company needs of you, from fact checking or setting up equipment, to going to events with professional journalists. It all depends on what you’re studying and where you get an internship.
Try not to worry about how to get your internship – most companies are overjoyed to have students working for them and your faculty members will be able to help you out. The internet also has plenty of resources to help you find the right internship for you in your field of study. Don’t be stressed; an internship period is an excellent time to work for and learn from professionals to see what the job is like before deciding whether or not it is for you. An internship is a time to make mistakes and learn from them. Think of it as almost like a fitting room for your career; it lets you check it out and see what the job is really like.
As well as providing valuable hands-on experience, internships look very good on resumes and are often part of the requirements to graduate from many college and university programs. Sometimes, if you impress your temporary ‘employer’ enough, an internship could very easily turn into a career. Companies are always looking for bright and driven young students to add to their staff.
Hopefully this has given you some insight as to what an internship is and how to get one. They aren’t a part of every program, but internships are a valuable learning experience and are a perfect opportunity to get some real, hands-on experience in our field.
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