The term “internship” loosely refers to a part-time or temporary position (whether paid or unpaid, for academic credit or not) that entails some relevent professional experience. The positive and exciting educational opportunities inherent in an internship stand on their own. In terms of visualized learning, internships provide a low-risk and limited-cost vantage point from which to preview a general class of careers.
For students unfamiliar with office work, city life, or government employment, being able to observe them first hand without the fear of making career-jeopardizing decisions, or totally closing other options through narrow specialization, is quite desirable. Many interns find their experience reduces career startup costs, provides guidance for future educational choices, helps hone valuable skills, and may provide an entrée to a permanent job in the area they have found they like, since many government and private sector offices use internships as a low-risk recruiting and evaluation process.
The best internship programs are well organized and closely affiliated with accredited educational institutions. Internships provide an avenue to address the dilemma of many first-time job seekers: they want to obtain working experience but employers are reluctant to hire them without experience. Students develop greater knowledge of a career field and they gain valuable experience in a professional environment. Additionally, internships promote the development of personal networks that may yield job ideas and even career opportunities in the future.