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Internships in higher education

By Asomi College of Sciences

Internships are meant to give students a glimpse of what is their career going to be like. They are designed to put into practice the knowledge learnt during the academic period. For more practical degree courses, internships are essential for preparing students for their professional life during a study course.

The difference between internships and apprenticeships

Internships, as well as apprenticeships, are integral parts of the practical side of an educational career. But, while apprenticeships usually last longer and are more oriented towards specific jobs in which practice is mandatory, internships are more generic. On the other hand, internships are still meant to put the theory into practice. While internships can have a broader range of career paths they are employed in, they may last less than apprenticeships. These latter qualities have it that internships are easier to apply to almost all career paths, with a more flexible schedule.

Academic and non-academic internships 

There are, however, different kinds of internships: academic and non-academic internships. This article will briefly describe them both. 

Firstly, academic internships. Academic internships are designed for educational purposes only and are usually rewarded with university or college credits and consist of PhD programs or other research projects. Their main aim is to apply experiential education. Experiential education is all about students experiencing their academic knowledge by using first-person and hands-on approaches. The tasks that are given during academic internships usually research (whether in teams or not), assignment writing, partaking in seminars, creating a learning plan, assessment, and engaging in reflection. Reflection is usually the crucial part of academic internships since it is when the intern usually is expected to use critical thinking. Critical thinking is challenging because it is about understanding the theoretical role and develops skills connected to open-mindedness and problem-solving. 

Non-academic internships are about job experiences in industry incorporate and thus not in the academic field. Nevertheless, non-academic internships are still connected to experiential learning, and therefore they deal with putting into practice everything that has been learnt during the theoretical academic course. Non-academic internships are becoming more and more popular, and often they are referred to only as “internships” – meaning that they have the privilege over their academic counterparts. Work-based internships are helpful for universities/colleges, students, and companies


Internships: the benefits 

Besides networking with higher education institutes, the benefits for the companies usually include the fact that they have more and more trained and ready-to-work graduates. That is moreover useful to students who, knowing that the current labour market is in search of experienced and skilful candidates, are more likely to want to attend an internship-including course themselves. On the other hand, the benefits for universities and colleges is undoubtedly their popularity. In other words, the better the internship partners and services, the better the student experience. It means that students are more likely to enrol and therefore also to graduate. Higher education institutions may also gain from collaborations and networking with companies and stakeholders

ACS – ASOMI College of Sciences offers a wide range of internship opportunities with international partners. ACS offers academic and non-academic internships and is actively engaged in shortening the gap between theoretical knowledge and skills required by employers. 

In other words

Internships may be of different kinds, academic and non-academic. Academic internships are based on putting the theoretical knowledge into practice in academic scenarios, while the non-academic ones are job oriented. No matter its nature, internships are helpful for students, higher education institutes and collaborators

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