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So, what’s the point of internships?

By Tim Claydon, Practicum and Internship Co-ordinator

Pursuing an internship while completing your studies provides an excellent way to experience a real-world organization, to get to know their culture, and to explore professional career paths before you have graduated. Even just the experience of trying something new beyond your comfort zone (known as 'stretch exercises') will lead to new interest areas you may not have explored previously. Being an intern gives you more opportunities to build connections with other industry professionals that can be very beneficial for your future career. Even if you’re well connected already, and don’t think you need more connections, consider that life is unpredictable, and a time may arise when a network of professionals could be a valuable resource to you.

The experiences we go through in life are what shapes us. An internship will not only encourage personal development, but also a greater understanding of one’s self. To know yourself is to know your goals and how to best achieve them, which may seem daunting when you’re nearing the end of your academic program and entering the professional workforce after graduation. The great thing about internships is that the job experiences are designed to teach young professionals about the specific work environments they are interested in pursuing as potential career paths. Internships allow students to hone their skills, and to apply their theoretical knowledge in a safe environment where it’s ok to make mistakes!

Employers in today’s job market actively seek candidates with a willingness to learn, and to be open to new experiences. They are not expecting you to come to the table ready with years of work experience already. Furthermore, it’s not always simply work experience that is valued when compared to the many soft-skills you have acquired throughout your studies that will make you a good team player within an organization. Doing an internship exposes you to new people across a variety of job roles providing an opportunity for you to observe professionals in their roles, and how they interact within an organization. 

Given these points, an internship is more than simply gaining work experience but perhaps crucial for your future career goals. If you’re looking to gain relevant experience, working as an intern is arguably the most advantageous plan of action!

Learn more about the Internship Program.