The Educational Value of Internships

    Posted: August 10, 2016

    Whether you are in high school or college it is quite likely that you are identifying or have identified the topics of study that particularly peek your interest. The subjects and classes that you are excited to go to, the homework that doesn’t require as much motivation to crack open, and the lectures that you end up feverishly taking notes through. This is called passion and it’s a beautiful thing when classroom education strikes a cord in this way.

    However, education inside the walls of a classroom can only go so far. Supplementing your curiosity and desire to learn about this particular topic is paramount. An excellent way to go about this is by engaging in a couple weeks or even couple of month long internships. Below are five ways in which an internship can add to your educational pursuits.

    1. By providing mentors who are experts in their field

    Strong educators undoubtedly provide incredible educational inspiration. However, there is also incredible value in getting to know professionals who are applying their knowledge and using it to pursue a career path. Someone interested in biology will find exponential benefit in getting to know marine biologists, people pursuing conservation, and collecting on the ground data for research analysis.

    2. By helping you to gain hands-on experience

    Possibly the most valuable aspect of an internship is getting to learn the practical skills related to a particular area of study. Translating textbook knowledge to real applications is an essential way to continue one’s education and to foster a more concrete understanding. For example, someone interested in community development will understand the challenges and rewards of pursuing this area of study by conducting actual career building workshops for women during an internship.

    3. By placing your previous educational understandings into a real world context

    Sometimes when knowledge doesn’t have a place to live it can get lost, such was the theory of educational psychologist Piaget. He believed that all knowledge sits within categories that he called schemas and he believed that the creation of schemas was best achieved in the real world. Internships are a key way in which to create new schemas that new knowledge can be placed within so that it sticks. Creating educational understandings that are long lasting and promote lifelong learning.

    Further Reading: How Service Learning Creates Life Long Learning

    4. By giving you a space to engage in informal conversations with like-minded peers

    Often time’s students in a typical classroom will vary on their interest in a particular topic. While completing an internship individuals will be surrounded by a group of equally passionate people, meaning that conversations at the dinner table will most likely gravitate towards your similar interests. This is a fantastic way to learn other perspectives, to be educated by knowledgeable peers, and to gain experience verbally expressing your own interest (which can come in very handy during interviews).

    Further Reading: How To Choose The Right Internship To Boost Your Career

    5. By taking you out of your daily routine

    Stepping outside of your hometown or college campus and jetting off to an international destination is an incredible way to make you hyper aware to all that is happening around you. Your memory will be sharper, your senses will be more alert, and you will absorb information in a more effortless way. This is such a crucial way to add to your education.

    Think you are ready to embark on an internship of your own? Check out the many different options both short term and long term that GVI offers.