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Internships And Co-operative Education Programs

Jan 9, 2008
Companies are always looking to hire people who have some prior work experience, as they feel more comfortable with employees who have worked before, and are thus in a position to understand the challenges that comes with it. Internships and cooperative education programs gives you that advantage over someone who has no prior experience of ever setting a foot in an office!

Interns get a chance to apply the theoretical knowledge that they have gained from textbooks into practical situations, and also understand how different things are once you step outside the protective environment of a classroom.


An intern works with an actual company, usually but not necessarily, in a field related to a student's academic or career goals. Internships provide progressive experiences in integrating theory and practice. These are mostly in the summer breaks, but can also be during an academic year. They can be either full time or part time, and can range from few weeks to a couple of months or more. Such positions are, more often than not, unpaid; but they can also be partially paid. However, for students in their third or final year, or for those who have just graduated, gaining hands-on experience in a professional environment should be more important than monetary gains.

A research or dissertation internship is a type of internship taken by a student, usually during their final year. They work with a particular company and prepare a report, which is usually presented towards the end of the year.

Cooperative Education Programs

Cooperative education is a method of combining academic education with practical work experience. These usually have a specified minimum work period. In an alternating arrangement, a student generally works full time 40 hrs per week during the term. In parallel program, students work part time 20 hrs per week for the term. The student's performance is usually monitored by the school and supervised by the employer. It helps students gain credits as a part of their curriculum. Cooperative education gives students excellent professional experience and many times companies hire the students who have worked with them as a part of a cooperative education program.

International Internships

International internships, though not new, are finding big followers across the globe in the increasingly global market place. Students are taking advantage of international internships in increasing numbers, especially in fields like computer science, information technology, consumer goods and marketing. Countries like Japan, Spain, and India are big favorites, as it exposes them to global trade practices along with an opportunity to learn new cultures and languages. Countries like India provide some of the best experience in global work culture and world-class technologies, with an amount of exposure that was not even previously thought of at an intern level.

However, students need to check before taking on an international internship, as it may mean different things in different countries around the globe. Though such endeavors can be a great learning experience, students need to research properly about the place they are going to visit, to make utmost of their learning time in the new land.
About the Author
Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solution's Six Sigma Online offers online six sigma training and certification classes for lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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