I dreaded going for internships as a teacher, I thank God for dropping out.
I asked myself, ‘I understood nothing in these past lectures, what am I going to teach my students in case those internship letters come?’
I sat in the classroom zoning out wondering why I sat where I never fitted and what I was doing in the first place.
How were the theories we learnt going to help us when it came to working placement?
How I’d translate whatever I learnt to a classroom. It was so harrowing that when I got pregnant I decided against wasting my time going to university.
How do you impart knowledge with what you learnt in the classroom?
Lack of understanding of how to use the classroom/lecture room knowledge is what makes people discredit schools, universities or colleges.
They end up viewing school as a waste of time.
At one point in your academic journey, you asked, ‘Why am I learning all these? How will it help me or my future?’ How do I use all this knowledge?
Traditional academic learning with a classroom setting has been in use for years.
An internship enables you to experience education outside the classroom.
It is vital to be educated holistically in Math, History, Science, English etc.
However, there is a chance that students going into the 21st-century workforce will lack the essential occupational skills.
Internships give a student the life skills that they need to operate in the real world.
Such skills are not woven enough into the school curriculum.
Schools focuses on tests and grades, whereas internship gives you a chance to implement the school content you have learnt.
What is an Internship?
This is the position of a student or a trainee who works in an organisation, with or without pay, in order to gain work experience.
It is basically an exchange of services for experience between the student and the organisation. Internships are necessary when you want to meet certain requirements for a qualification.
A person who undergoes this experience is known as an intern. Interns may be university/college students, high school students or postgraduate adults.
Internships may be paid, partially paid or unpaid. These positions are temporary and there is no guarantee of a job upon completion of the program.
An intern is responsible for keeping records, running errands, filing documents and working on projects.
What are the Objectives of Internships for Kenyan Students?
To supplement education
To expose the intern to a particular job or a profession
To build a network of contacts
To master business skills
To build life skills
Why are Internships Important for Kenyan Students?
- It provides an opportunity for full time employment. Your employer may see your determination, enthusiasm and strong work ethic as you go about your daily tasks in the company. They get impressed and it motivates them to retain you as their loyal employee. In that case, you secure yourself a job for when you finish your studies.
- It helps students to determine if they have an interest in a particular career. Once a student ventures into a given industry, they may gauge by the activities, work/life balance and the overall performance he/she gets from working in that industry. Through this you can see how much you value that career. This is essential when you want to know what your best fit is.
- It gives an intern an opportunity to network. Through internships, you get to meet a lot of like minded people. They may be your employers, mentors or other interns. You interact with people from all walks of life and make new friends as you expand your social network. You also get to improve your networking skills.
- It increases proficiency in business disciplines. You could be learning about finance, accounting, operations management or marketing in school. An internship is your chance at getting more detailed and practical principles and skills in these disciplines.
- It helps to develop and improve business skills in communication, technology and teamwork. You also gain problem solving skills when failing at tasks and then trying over and over again until you get an effective solution.
- An intern can develop a strong work ethic and have a professional outlook towards academic life. You will know how to conduct yourself in the business world. An internship will teach you how to do greetings at an interview or what to wear in an office setting.
- An internship allows you to be more creative. Innovative ideas, products, methodology and technology are encouraged in a workplace.
- An intern can have professional role models and potential mentors to give guidance, feedback and support. They help you learn from your mistakes and steer you towards success.
What are the Challenges Students Face When on Internships?
- Some are unpaid or partially paid. As a student, you think about your finances plenty of times. You may need to pay bills, tuition, rent or food. Oftentimes internship only give a measly pay, which is not sustainable. This can cause a huge strain for an intern and you may feel unmoved.
- Inconsistency. Internships are temporary jobs. Employment is not guaranteed.
- Labelled a student. An intern is usually coined as an unskilled inexperienced student who still has a long way to go. This makes you be underestimated in the workplace and thereby not realising your full potential in the workforce.
- An internship can be hard, boring and stressful. Especially when you have a lot of paperwork and deadlines to beat.
What Does Internship Do To Your Mind as a Student?
Internships monumentally boost students’ confidence in themselves. A student can approach and solve problems with structure and methods. You know what is required in a professional workforce hence you will not be afraid of what awaits you.
Internships improve cognitive functioning. As you face problems in the workplace, you enhance your thinking capacity to a broader spectrum. Experiential learning is more refreshing.
It builds enthusiasm. Internships help you cultivate interest in your desired career. You get excited about how all the concepts you learn in class are coming to life. You become motivated to gain expertise in your career.
It instils independence. An intern can make his own choices based
What are the Benefits of Internship to Students?
- Be useful.
There is always work that needs to be done.
There could be reports that need to be written and updated, documents that need to be filed or equipment that need to be maintained.
When you are given a task, be fast and effective and submit before the deadline. However, there will be moments where you are learning and slowing things down.
If you don’t have any tasks, find one for yourself. Your employer will see how dedicated you are to the job and it will gain you favour.
2. Be teachable.
Do not insist on how you normally do things in the classroom setting, even if they are somewhat related. This is the real world.
Approaches may be different.
Give your suggestions in a way that is not going to undermine the person who came up with the idea in the first place. Tread carefully.
Accept criticism. Know that it all comes from a place of love and that your superiors want what is best for you.
3. Grow up.
Have a mature attitude and a sense of responsibility and servitude.
Even if you have prior work experience, this is a new environment and you should take cues from those around you as to how to behave. Be humble.
4. Make friends
Talk to your fellow interns.
If it’s a large company, they may be working on something completely different.
Chatting them up at lunch or Intern group activities is a great way to expand your knowledge base and expand your network. And of course, network with employees in other departments or teams. Be a little more social.
5. Keep records
Keep track of noteworthy things you have accomplished. Positive results.
Things you did that made a change in the way they develop something in the company. . Have a list of items that show you do a good job.
I hear my father’s voice every time I mention network. An internship isn’t a time to waste time waiting for the time you can go out to drink on Friday nights with your non-internship buddies or dropouts or those that retook/resat their tests. An internship should be a motivator for you to understand exactly how to turn theory into work; a time to learn what you must in your industry.
7. Discover if you chose the right career
When I got teaching positions, I realised how impatient I was. I flogged students like crazy and they called me, ”The small teacher with a fierce temper”. Some students went away and never came back.
Until that point, I never realised how furious and ferocious I was. I saw the other side of me that waited to get unleashed and unleash it did. An internship helps you discover things about your course you never saw coming.
Yes, I knew I hated teaching and some teachers and my dad for forcing me into this monstrosity but I realised even more during the ”internship” that truly I hated teaching.
8. Become ”attractive to and for employers”
Ever wondered why every job advertisement wants candidates with experience?
Training is expensive, time-consuming and draining.
But if you took your time to pursue your career join an internship programme, you become attractive to employers, not physical attraction at all.
I mean, you become desirable as an employee because you already know how the company functions, how to communicate with employees and employers and importantly you know how a company works.
What’s a Good Internship?
A good internship provides the knowledge and skills required to succeed in a particular industry or job.
A good internship isn’t snobbish towards interns scolding them by saying, ‘How privileged you’re, during my time I never got such a chance. It’s good to have a connection, hey”.
A good internship doesn’t undermine your work, you may be performing very unrelated tasks in a teaching office or law office, but no one should look down on you.
You’re playing a role in the smooth running of the company.
A good internship provides you with an opportunity for self-expression, telling the boss what you need and what you’re learning.
A lot of companies don’t care for their interns at all.
They leave them in the hands of vultures who complain how awful the pay is and how smelly the boss’ mouth is without helping the intern learn what they came for.
Check up on your interns to make them feel seen and better that they made awesome career choices.
If you meet a lacklustre supervisor during your internship, I assure you you will hate your job/career chosen and never want to look back.
You can also pay your interns a certain amount to make them feel appreciated and improve their energy in the work.
No one wants to work for free, even a dog barks and gets food, walks and treats as a reward.
How Do You End an Internship?
Build a portfolio
Ask for a review
Keep in touch
Say thank you
And during your thank you message, express what skills you learnt and how what you learnt helped open your eyes to the chosen career. You never know saying the kinds of skills may show the boss they may need you in future.
How Do I Get a Paid Internship as a Student?
If you want to get a paid internship, demonstrate that you are experiencing something new. Use the following strategies if you want to get a paid internship in Kenya.
An internship is a time to experience something new
Build essential skills
Work with motivators that help you know about your industry
Test what you learn
Be different; stand out from the others that ignored or snubbed internships.
What are the Soft Skills You Learn From an Internship?
The soft skills you learn from an internship include:
What to Expect as an Intern; A Day in the Life
As an intern, you get the privilege to work in low-paying jobs like sorting and organising dust-filled papers,
Do data entry
Answering the phone
Get bullied by the permanent staff
Run errands in and out of the office. Instead of doing these menial jobs that don’t add to anything other than keeping busy, gear to understand your career.
Become curious. I remember when I wanted a job in the hotel industry, I got an award-winning manager that made me work in all the departments in the hotel industry.
And how that knowledge of the hotel industry enabled my smooth-running of the Airbnb business.
Can You Leave an Internship?
Yes, if you feel it’s not in line with what you wanted and want to achieve.
Approach the one that hired you to explain what you’re going through.
Sincerity can open doors you never saw coming like a recommendation on what to do or do an internship that matches what you want.
What are the Long-Term Benefits of Internship?
Gaining contacts and mentors
Increasing confidence in your first job
Earn more because you are a valued employee with experience. You won’t start from arranging files and working menial jobs anymore.
Job search becomes smoother.
You know how companies work
You know what you want as an employee; if a company suits you or a career is for you.
Go for internships only when you are sure that a chosen career is for you. If you’re unsure you want to become a teacher, for example, don’t go for a teaching internship.
An internship is a time to build your work experience.
If you don’t know what you want you’re wasting internship space for the needy students that truly want a position you’re filling for selfish purposes or because your parents told you or because of the connections you have or your family has.
As an intern, you get to see how a company works (company structure) therefore, you get to ask, ”Is this how it goes on throughout the company?”
‘‘Will I, Gertie, take instructions from this asshole boss that talks down on others for the rest of my career or work-life or time in this company?”
Internships aren’t about getting a job placement only or gaining experience, you get to know yourself and what you like or hate about your career.
Do not get too worked up about how you can secure a permanent job in that company. Just enjoy your stay and make the best of it.
An internship will make you feel valued and let you know that you have the necessary skill to offer to the world.
You cannot learn that from a textbook and your value cannot be measured by a standardized test or scored in grades.
Have you completed high school and are wondering what the future holds?
Are you idling away at home waiting for the best opportunity to come?
You know no opportunity comes knocks, you have to keep knocking until a door open or create an internship opportunity for yourself from home with your smartphone.
These days it’s not about family connections or who you know, it’s creating the life you want with the internet.
Why not try a side hustle and use that as an internship?
You never know who is watching or reading and may land yourself sponsorships and deals you never saw coming.
Stop wasting time saying there are no jobs in Kenya yet you cry for an iPhone.
Make what you can with what you have and buy what you want. If an internship isn’t coming, create it.
Do you know there are some businesses you can do as an internship with your smartphone then turn them into full-time incomes as a student in Kenya? Are you struggling to get an internship?
What’s making you not get an internship?
What do you want and can you create the internship opportunity you want using the power of the internet?
Have you done an internship recently? What did you learn? Did you enjoy it?