Fresh university graduates step out to the real ‘professional’ world with so much confidence and hope that they can easily get the jobs that will hasten their skills and let them experience the joy of receiving their very first salary. Who doesn’t look forward to finally applying the learning you’ve gained from your four-year stay in the university into practice? But, are graduates really prepared to dive into lifelong careers? Are they really equipped with the right skills and experiences that would qualify them for their desired jobs?
This is where internship becomes a significant part of the picture. Internship is an opportunity provided by institutes and companies to non-professionals or students who want to be employed for training and experiences. This sometimes comes without pay, as the main purpose of internships is to immerse students into a real workplace where professionals interact, communicate and get tasks done together. Most internships last for three months to one year, depending on the requirements of the university or of the company.
Since internships require time and energy, we ask: is it necessary? Youth Today asked people who can give personal testimonies on how significant and helpful internships are for students who dream of getting their dream jobs as fast and as easy as possible.
Phann Rathanakvichea, a 19-year-old student from the Department of Studies at Institutes of Foreign Languages, is glad to have a chance to take an internship programme at Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on his second year in the university, claiming that he “can better understand the working environment prior to completing the degree, and able to explore the society, cultivate more soft skills that is totally different from just sitting inside the classroom and listening to lecturers.”
Perfectly matched with his major, this internship, he believes, is his stepping stone in attaining his goal to be a government official in the ministry. All the experiences he gained and the efforts he shelled out for the internship will serve as his preparation for his future career.
Mr Vichea, thus, suggests students from different fields who wish to seek a good institute for internships should try the US or the UK embassy in Phnom Penh, or other international organisations like the Council for the Development of Cambodia. These organisations, he said, provide students with working environments where professionalism is greatly practiced.
Meanwhile, Leang Pisey, 23, just recently graduated from the Institute of Foreign Language with a degree in International Relations. She is currently taking a six-month internship at Transparency International (TI) in Cambodia.
“Despite my accredited degree, my applications to other international organisations were still ruled out due to my lack of professional experience, so I decided to join one fellowship programme at TI Cambodia and became an intern there after I completed my degree,” Ms Pisey said.
From her dream to work in a well-known international organisation, Ms Pisey mentioned that she gained a new skill in graphic design, more social knowledge related to anti-corruption and good governance, and a personal experience on how one international organisation works. Ms Pisey added that she has also learned the essence of team work.
With the learning and experiences she gained in her internship programme in TI, Ms Pisey wants to encourage undergraduates to have themselves undergo internships during their sophomore or junior years in the university, no matter what their majors are. The internships, she said, will give them additional points in their resumes when they apply for jobs.
Chan Piseth, 20, is doing his internship specialising in training programme at Skyway Company while also pursuing his fourth year in Zaman University as a Computer Science student. Mr Piseth said his goal is to run a private Information Technology company. Internship, he said, is a primary investment leading to his dream.
Aside from earning salary, applying his knowledge into practice and stimulating working environment, he emphasised that internships shape one’s skills and prepares him for his future professional job. There won’t be a need for a three-month training in the new workplace because the internship already serves as a training ground. He added that students, no matter what their standing in the school is, should at least do short internships while studying in the university to give themselves the chance to learn practical skills, earn valuable experiences and extend their networks in the future.