Internships offer great opportunities

Internships offer students an opportunity to explore career options, develop industry skills and learn about people and how professional organisations are run.


Muaz Shabandri

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Published: Tue 4 Jan 2011, 8:57 PM

Last updated: Mon 30 Jan 2023, 4:52 PM

Employers also get a chance to assess potential new hires during these programmes.

Take for instance the Dubai School of Government (DSG) which regularly ropes in interns.

This year’s summer internship programme had 10 students — five each from the UAE and the US.

Participants acquired analytical and research skills, in addition to receiving guidance and mentoring from supervisors.

“The internship programmes allow students to gain analytical and research skills that positively impact and contribute their educational and professional development. More importantly, the interaction between the UAE and the US interns develops their personal perspectives and provides a unique opportunity for students to learn about other cultures through direct interaction in a work environment,” says Dr Tarik Yousef, Dean of the Dubai School of Government.

Talented students find employers with formal internship programmes very appealing. They see internships as a way to build their resume and professional network and are likely to seek out these same organisations for full-time employment after graduation.

The Abu Dhabi Film Commission (ADFC) runs a dedicated internship programme every year for Emirati students interested in media production.

Sameer Al Jaberi, a student of the Higher Colleges of Technology in Abu Dhabi, was one of the six students selected for the two-month ‘Mawaheb’ internship hosted this year.

“I always wanted to know how it felt to work in a professional work environment and that’s the reason I opted for an internship at the film commission. During the two months, I got to learn a lot about documentary filmmaking and I also got a chance to produce a documentary during my internship,” says Sameer.

Working with a team of experienced professionals, the internship provided Sameer with a chance to showcase his skills and network with like-minded individuals. His first documentary, ‘Call me Break-stein’ was screened at the Cannes Short film corner and soon he was hired as an employee at ADFC.

“They liked my work during the internship and that’s how I got to continue working after my internship as a production assistant. Every student should realise the opportunities presented by internship programmes and they should take advantage of these chances that can open the doors to their future career,” adds Sameer.

For both students and employers, the internship works like an extended interview. If the intern proves to be a valuable asset to the company, the company may consider hiring the students as an employee. In this case, not only does the employer get a high quality candidate, but they also avoid spending time, money and other resources on full-time recruiting costs.

Danya Bashir, a student at the University of Sharjah echoes similar views. She says students must undertake an internship at some point of time during their educational programme to benefit from the practical work experience.

“Internships are an opportunity for students to get a first hand experience on how work life is, the responsibilities, the commitment, and just what field their degree will allow them to work in. Also, internships allow students to put their classroom knowledge to use, and gives them the ability to take what they have learned in the classroom to a practical work environment,” says Danya who has previously interned at the United States Civil Division and DSG.

“My internship taught me many things. It taught me how to communicate better with my peers, it taught me how to handle certain situations and how to work under pressure. I also learned how to network and build a name for myself. I look forward to interning again this summer to continue learning on the job and to encourage myself to work harder at university in order to achieve my dreams when I graduate,” added Danya.

While many universities do not have formal internship programmes for students, some universities provide compulsory internship opportunities for students. Pravin Subramanian, a third year engineering student at Bits Pilani Dubai says his one-year internship with a multi-national company has provided him with an insight into the engineering industry.

“I had the choice of writing a thesis or working as an intern in a company as part of my course in the university. I decided to pursue an internship because it adds value to my resume and also gives me a lot of insight on the day-to-day working in a real job. As part of my internship, I get to visit construction sites, supervise the engineering works and present reports to my superiors. It’s as good as a real job,” says Pravin.

Medical students worldwide have to complete mandatory training and internship programs to obtain a medical license. A dedicated clinical faculty at the Dubai Health Authority provides a limited number of internship options for medical students in the UAE every year.

“When medical students finish their under-graduate programmes, there is a legal requirement to complete a one year internship. The DHA offers an internship program for both nationals and non-nationals but there is a limited number of places and we have set a selection criteria. These selected students will then work under the supervision of the hospital and the teams to which they are attached,” says Dr Muscat-Baron, Dean – DHA Clinical Faculty.

While internships might not pay well, the industry experience and practical know-how can be of great use in a future career role.

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