Students’ Internship: Myth or Reality

Few days ago I met my niece who is a fourth year student at one of our universities. I knew that she was going to have an internship for the rest of the term. To my question how was your internship going she replied without any enthusiasm – “It is fine but actually I do not go there every day. I went  there just to introduce myself and to settle with organization authorities that they put stamp in my report at the end”. “How will you write report then?” – I continued. “I will write something” – replied she playing with her mobile.

I tried to encourage her and started to list the benefits that she could get from internship. First of all, students could gain experience and in addition to specialized skills of field, they could gain transferable skills which are required at any job (e.g. communication, computer proficiency and team work). Secondly, gain practical experience or finally, network, meeting with people, communicate and find new opportunities for future job. Unfortunately, I could not convince her to go and have her internship. She was confident that attending internships is waste of time and nobody would spend time on student.

I was not shocked because this situation is very familiar and it is not phenomenon that students may have a false internship. I do not state that all students are in the same situation but I know many students who even do not have a desire to take a “real” internship, attend it every day and learn new things.

The question is “Why is it happening?”

I would assume that students are not interested in future career and they chose their profession because of parental influence or they did not get enough UNT scores. Students are just lazy and prefer spend time watching TV or conversely, they have to earn money and do not have time for internships. Next could be the attitude of employers to students. They really do not have time to teach them, it is easier to put stamp and let them go.

Unfortunately, it is happening and government, universities, employers themselves should somehow motivate students to change their attitude to internships, especially those who study medicine and technical specialties.

4 thoughts on “Students’ Internship: Myth or Reality

  1. Thanks Aizhan for touching this topic.
    Yes, it really happens and is still a social issue. I have experienced almost the same. When I was going to pass my first internship I was very excited that I would go to a real workplace, and work as a translator and use my gained theoretical knowledge in practice. But the reality was not what I expected. I was not taken seriously and was given easy tasks to do that actually discouraged me. However, my second internship was quite good.
    And what I think is that the motivation or encouragement of students should be driven by educational institutions. HEIs should make their students be passionated about their profession, only then the students would eagerly take any interships in order just to see, feel, and do it.

    Thanks again,

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  2. ThAnk you Aizhan.
    This is the inevitable truth of the gap between education and industry. If only universities worked closer with their potential employers this situations would not have happened. On the other hand it depends on the student’s targets going to an internship. If the student is eager to get hands-on-practice then nothing can prevent him/her.

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  3. This is one of the topics which has two sides as a medal. On one side, employers receive very poor remuneration or in some cases even nothing for mentoring the internship students. Therefore, increasing the remuneration might encourage the employers more to share their expertise. On the other hand, the students’ belly button is bigger than their stomach. They would like to have more important tasks or even lead the class, repudiating small tasks, which can also add to their experience. Therefore, making the internship facility fee-based might change the attitude of the students. Do you think it will solve the problem? Thank you in advance.

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  4. Thanks Aizhan.
    That is an interesting topic to discuss. In my opinion, there are several reasons influencing students’ unwillingness to pass an internship. First of all, it is lack of desire to deepen the practical knowledge and experience. But why? The reasons are the following: students are not interested initially in their future professions and they go even to their lessons without any interest or passion; students wanting to pass the internship can be faced with the passive attitude towards their internship in the workplace which discourages their first expectations. Secondly, the attitude towards the internship itself should be changed. Sometimes students do not believe that it can be really beneficial to them both in professional (putting theoretical knowledge into practice, sharing ideas, etc.) and personal respects (strengthening certain skills).

    Like

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