Internship

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Origin

as an adjective in the sense ‘internal’: from French interne (adjective), interner (verb), from Latin internus ‘inward, internal.’

Definitions

Description

An internship is a method of on-the-job training for white-collar and professional careers. Internships for professional careers are similar to apprenticeships for trade and vocational jobs. Although interns are typically college or university students, they can also be high school students or post-graduate adults. On occasion, they are middle school or even elementary students. In some countries, internships for school children are called work experience. Internships may be paid or unpaid, and are usually understood to be temporary positions.

Generally, an internship consists of an exchange of services for experience between the student and an organization. Students can also use an internship to determine if they have an interest in a particular career, create a network of contacts, or gain school credit. Some interns find permanent, paid employment with the organizations with which they interned. This can be a significant benefit to the employer as experienced interns often need little or no training when they begin regular employment. Unlike a trainee program, however, employment at the completion of an internship is not guaranteed.

Internships exist in a wide variety of industries and settings. An internship may be paid, unpaid or partially paid (in the form of a stipend). Paid internships are common in professional fields including medicine, architecture, science, engineering, law, business (especially accounting and finance), technology, and advertising. Non-profit charities and think tanks often have unpaid, volunteer positions. Internships may be part-time or full-time. A typical internship lasts 6–12 weeks, but can be shorter or longer, depending on the organization involved. The act of job shadowing may also constitute interning.

The two primary types of internships that exist in the United States are:

  • Work experience internship: Most often this will be in the second or third year of the school period. The placement can be from 2 months to one full school year. During this period, the student is expected to use the things he/she has learned in school and put them into practice. This way the student gains work experience in their field of study. The gained experience will be helpful to finish the final year of study.
  • Research internship (graduation) or dissertation internship: This is mostly done by students who are in their final year. With this kind of internship a student does research for a particular company. The company can have something that they feel like they need to improve, or the student can choose a topic within the company themselves. The results of the research study will be put in a report and often will have to be presented. Due to strict labor laws, European internships are mostly unpaid], although they are still popular among non-Europeans in order to gain international exposure on one's résumé and for foreign language improvement.

Another type of internship growing in popularity is the virtual internship, in which the intern works remotely, and is not physically present at the job location. It provides the capacity to attain the same results without the conventional means of being physically present at a job. Usually the internship is conducted via virtual means, such as phone, email, and web communication. Virtual interns generally have the opportunity to work at their own pace.

The practice of a mid-career person taking an internship is relatively new to the U.S. but becoming more common due to the current economic crisis.[1]

See also