An intern or stagiaire is one who works in a temporary position with an emphasis on on-the-job training rather than merely employment, making it similar to an apprenticeship. Interns are usually college or university students, but they can also be high school students or post graduate adults seeking skills for a new career. Student internships provide opportunities for students to gain experience in their field, determine if they have an interest in a particular career, create a network of contacts, or gain school credit. Internships provide the employers with cheap or free labor for (typically) low-level tasks (stereotypically including fetching coffee for the office), and also the prospect of interns returning to the company after completing their education and requiring little or no training.
An internship may be either paid, unpaid or partially paid (in the form of a stipend). Paid internships are most common in the medical, science, engineering, law, business (especially accounting and finance), technology and advertising fields. Internships in non-profit organization such as charities and think tanks are often unpaid, volunteer positions. Internships may be part-time or full-time; typically they are part-time during the university year and full-time in the summer, and they typically last 6-12 weeks, but can be shorter or longer. The act of job shadowing may also constitute as interning.
Internship positions are available from businesses, government departments, non-profit groups and organizations. Due to strict labor laws, European internships, though mostly unpaid, are popular among non-Europeans to gain international exposure on one's resume and for foreign language improvement.
Types of internships
An intern type means doing internship in an organization or in specific subject of study. Internships exist in various industries and settings. Here are two primary types of internships that exist in the United States.
- 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 sometimes even one full school year. During this period the student is supposed to use the things he/she has learned in school and put it in practice. This way the student gets work experience in their field of study. The gained experience will be helpful to finish up the last year of the study.
- Research internship (graduation) or dissertation internship: This is mostly done by students that are in their last 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.
Fee-based internship programs
An intern type can be an internship in a organization or in specific subject of study. Some companies will find and place students in internships for a fee. What is included in fee-based programs vary by company. Overall, the advantages are that they provide internship placement at a reputable company, provide controlled housing in a new city, mentorship and support throughout the summer, networking, weekend activities in some programs, academic credit and other benefits. Disadvantages to fee-based programs include the restriction of internship opportunities to wealthy students who can afford paying thousands of dollars to work for little or no wages, while at the same time improving their chances of professional work after graduation.
International student internships
Many students do internships in a different country to get international experience and learn an extra language. The meaning of an internship can be different around the globe.
universities it is uncommon to do an internship during the education period. The real working experiment for them starts when they are done with their study. However, Spanish companies are getting more used to having students doing an internship at their company nowadays. Mostly these are international students from other European countries. Spain is a popular country for students to go to for a short period of time to do an internship. A lot of times students want to learn Spanish
, and this is a perfect opportunity for them to do so. Another reason to go to Spain for an internship could be the opportunity to increase their cultural awareness or to experience working in an international setting. Students found that it is hard to get in contact with most Spanish Businesses. The best way to find a good company to work at will be with the help of a placement organization. Internships in Spain are almost never paid. This because companies have to put time and effort in training the student, and it will always only be for a short period of time.
Interships (commoly called with the french term stage
)are more and more getting used by companies all the time. Usually students have to do at least one when still at university, but also after graduating it is common, especially among Italians, but also among foreign students. Usually internships in Italy are not paid. This is a real problem for young graduates, since most of the times companies take stagiare just to save money, not guaranteeing any hiring at all, after the work experience has finished. Sometimes there is neither a real effort in training them. Students have to be very carefulwhen choosing a company where to undergo an intership.
UK, Canada and Australia
Internships are often referred to as 'sandwich placements' in the UK and are validated work experienced opportunity as part of a degree program. University staff give students access to vacancies and students apply direct to employers. Some universities hold fairs and exhibitions to encourage students to consider the option and to enable students to meet potential employers. In the modern labor market graduates with work experience in the form of sandwich placements are not only deemed more desirable to employers but also research has demonstrated they attain higher level degree classifications than those graduates without such experience.
In these countries they have split the types of internship in unpaid or paid. The unpaid internship are mostly the ones that are chosen by students who are either still in school and doing an internship as part of the requirements of school or who have just left school. The purpose of these internships are to get understanding about how work is conducted in the English-speaking world and to improve one's English. Another plus is to learn about work ethic and to experience cultural diversity. The paid internship is mostly for people that want to come to these countries to improve their English. The job for them is not something that they are specialized in, but see it as something that will give them enough money to support their living in these countries.
In Germany there are different kinds of internships as well. As in most other countries, most students take their internship during the third or fourth year of their degree. One of the biggest differences to other countries is that most internships are paid. The average pay is €400 a month. In some fields of study it is common to write the final thesis in a company. Another type of internship has emerged, the post graduation internship. The high unemployment in Germany during the last years has made it hard for people to find the right job, especially for people that have just graduated and lack work experience. Because of this, many offer to do an internship at their preferred place of employment while earning very little, in the hope of landing a job there in the future.
At the French universities it is also most common to do an internship, in France
called stage, during the third or fourth year of your studies. The duration of the internships varies from 2 to 6 months, but very seldom longer than that. In France it is also becoming more popular to do an internship after one has finished studying. Mostly for students that did not get the chance to do an internship during their study career, and try to gain some working experience this way. Most times with the thought of getting hired after the internship period. An internship in France is also popular for international students. The number one reason to do an internship in France is to learn the language. A lot of French companies seem to be open to students from different countries. It is a big plus for companies to have employees who speak multiple languages.
In the Netherlands it is also common to do an internship during college. Just like in France it is called stage. Students will go intern for approximately 5 months. Companies are not obligated to pay the student, so sometimes small companies won't pay anything. The normal stage compensation rate in Holland is around €300.
It is not seen as appropriate to work without pay unless it is done as part of a work-trial where a person is tested by the authorities as part of plan to get the individual back into the workspace. The company is then compensated and the intern gets welfare during this period, which normally lasts about three months. The Trade Unions monitor this area very thoroughly so an intern cannot result in the loss of a paid job.
High school students can choose to participate in a one day working experience called "Operation Dagsværk" (Day’s Work). The instructions from the department of Education specifically point out that no student can be forced to attend this claimed charity. The pay for their work goes to a - sometimes controversial - chosen project in a third world country. Only a minor fraction of Danish students participate in this event, mainly because most Danish people see supporting third world countries as something the population has already paid for in taxes. As a result, most students stay in school. Due to a recent agreement with the Danish Ministry of Education the students are no longer considered to be truant during this day. However, a new system of qualification for higher education imposed by the Department of Education does punish those students who take a period off to work for charity .