Internships are at the forefront of many career development plans. Employers want to hire interns and students want to do them. Therefore, over the next few weeks, I will be writing a series of posts related towards internships and how to get them.
First off, I would like to start off with the question of “What is an internship?”
An internship is essentially a form of experiential education, or hands-on learning. Typically, within the parameters of experiential education there are other position types that are similar in nature to internships.
Some popular types of experiential education are:
Internships – A work or service opportunity where you do work that is closely related to your academic major or career field. These can either be full or part-time opportunities.
Co-op – A co-op is similar to an internship in its nature. The slight difference is that it is usually connected to a class or more formally structured environment.
Externship/shadow program – Typically a short-term (one day to 2 weeks) opportunity to gain an understanding of a field by observing a professional at work.
Field experience/Service learning/Volunteering – Often unpaid but may be in conjunction with a class room experience. Some fields such as human service or non-profit seek out individuals who show some service to their community.
Internships and their other forms are a great way to do quite a few things including:
- Gain practical work experience in your college major
- Develop and expand your skills beyond the university experience
- Build stronger interpersonal and communication skills
- Make valuable professional contacts
- Explore different companies and organizations
- Evaluate different career alternatives and choices
- Test your chosen field outside of the classroom
- Boost self-confidence and professional credibility