Q&A: What is an Internship? What does it mean for you?

Q&A: What is an Internship? What does it mean for you?

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In this article we’ve hand picked the most common questions asked about internships. However, if you don’t find the answers you’re looking for, you can simply drop us a line and our experts will be on hand to respond in a flash.

Keep reading to find out the ultimate benefits of doing internships and how to decide if they are right for you and your future career. The article is separated into various sections, as follows:

  • Part 1: What internships involve, how long they last and the different types
  • Part 2:  Choosing whether an internship is the best option for you
  • Part 3: Choosing where to do your internship
  • Part 4: Advantages of an internship and benefits on your career


Part 1: What internships involve, how long they last and the different types

Read this section to get thorough answers to some of the more generic questions you might have about being an intern – both at home or abroad. When you’ve read it, you should know exactly what an internship can mean for you, what types are available and even the different options.


What is an internship?

An internship is a temporary position within a company, designed to provide training and first-hand knowledge of the skills needed to hold down a particular job. Many people use an internship to gain relevant and valuable experience, so they can pursue their chosen career path with renewed confidence.

Roles as an intern are available in nearly all work sectors and are an ideal introduction to the exciting world of business, industry and professions in general.


How does an internship work?

There are many different ways it can work. It is possible to organise one yourself by getting in touch directly with the company, which can be the usual format in the UK.

However, for international internships, it is often much easier to use an intern organisation company who can support you through the process.

From visa application, health and travel insurance or airport transfers, 24 hour support and much more, Pagoda Projects has packages include everything you need for a safe, fun and life-changing experience.

For more information on how our programmes work, take a look at our Vietnam Internships or our China Internships websites.


What do you do during an internship?

Your role as an intern will often require you to get involved in a variety of tasks. For example, you will most likely be assisting one of the more senior members of the team, who will need help their day-to-day tasks.

Internships aren’t just about work, there is so much to do in our exotic, exciting and exhilarating destinations.

From relaxing on some of the world’s best beaches to exploring ancient temples of worship, there will never be a dull day on your international adventure. There’s more than just work experience on offer here – there are experiences of a life-enhancing nature as well.

Head over to our Facebook or Instagram to see what incredible trips our interns have been on recently.

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How long does an internship last?

Usually anywhere between one and 12 months. In the UK, they can’t last any longer than 12 months, as this is the legal maximum duration. Although, there is no minimum time frame as to how long they can last.

If you’re applying to work during the summer, this will often be in-between university terms and therefore it will last approximately 3 months.

Pagoda Projects offer the flexibility of different program lengths so that anyone can get involved, as we realise it is not always possible to commit to a full year.


Can an internship be part-time?

One of many great things about internships is that they are pretty flexible. They can be full-time or part-time, but the hours you are required to commit to will depend on the employer.


What are Paid internships?

This is where you (the intern) are considered an employee and therefore paid the national minimum wage, at least.

When an internship is created, it is for the employer to decide whether it should be paid or voluntary, and this does vary from business to business.


What are Off-cycle internships?

Intern programmes usually take place during the summer months, so when companies advertise off-cycle programs, they simply mean ones that will run at a different time of year, rather than the usual summer cycle.

And why not? Summer, autumn, winter or spring, the benefits can set you on your way to the rewarding, fulfilling career. One you always dreamed of.

We provide a wide variety of options that run from one end of the calendar to the other, catering for those who favour a summer internship and others who, due to holiday commitments or whatever reason, find themselves more suited to a different season.


Part 2:  Choosing whether an internship is the best option for you

What’s the difference between internships and training?

The main difference between these two types of educational programs is that an internship is a more practical way of learning, whereas training is about learning the basics, in theory, before you apply the skills to your role.

Training is usually offered to those who have gained a permanent job but need professional education before starting their role.

An internship is a temporary program where the individual learns on the job but is not guaranteed a permanent role in the company.


What’s the difference between internships and apprenticeships?

There are 4 big differences between an internship and apprenticeship:

  1. Apprenticeships are always paid, whereas internships are sometimes on a voluntary basis.
  2. Apprenticeships can last a lot longer, usually 1 – 2 years.
  3. A qualification is gained through completing an apprenticeship.
  4. Apprenticeships are designed for the worker to continue in that specific industry, whereas internships are more of a trial to determine whether a particular career is suitable for the person concerned.

Generally, interns are less of a commitment and perfect for those who are unsure of what career to choose.


What’s the difference between internships and externships?

The two main differences are the type of work and how long it lasts.

Basically, an externship is much shorter, generally running only for a few weeks, and it usually consists of job shadowing. This is where the trainee will shadow a professional in the industry and learn through watching them at work.

Internships on the other hand, allow you to complete on-the-job training and gain first-hand experience of what the work entails.


What’s better, an internship or volunteering?

When deciding between these two options, the first question you should ask yourself is:

‘Why do I want to do it?’

If it’s to gain skills and kick-start your career, then an internship is best for you.

If it’s simply to fill spare time and help those in need, then volunteering can be a great way to go.

Although an intern programme is primarily designed to train you with new skills and give you work experience, you will also meet fascinating people, take part in experiences you will always remember and explore some breath-taking destinations.


What’s better, an internship or applying for a job?

Decision-making in summer is more than holiday destinations and who to invite round for a barbecue. For many, there are weightier matters to consider, such as how you want your working life to pan out.

You’re about to embark on an adventure you hope will be rewarding and enriching, so it’s vital you get off on the right foot. Does that mean applying for an intern role or plunging straight into your first job?

Of course, there are benefits to both, but it’s not always easy working out which is best for you.

If there is a particular industry or line of work you are attracted to, but experience is required, an internship is the perfect way to acquire it. You will gain professional experience as well as skills that will fill you with confidence and belief that the career you yearn for, really is within your grasp.

If, on the other hand, you want to start your career as soon as possible and don’t require work experience, you may consider taking the direct route into the job market.

Either way, there can be no doubting an international internship represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that opens up an unforgettable pathway into whatever area of the workplace takes your fancy.


Part 3: Choosing where to do your internship

What internship should I do?

You want to become an intern, you realise the benefits and you’re excited for this exhilarating adventure in your life, but… what internship should you do? We get asked this a lot, and of course there is no right answer.

To decide which the best course is for you, we recommend considering and researching these 6 factors:

  1. What is your dream career? If there is a set industry you’d love to work in, gaining the right kind of experience could be the first stepping stone to your dream career.
  2. What kind of skills do you want to learn? Whether it is hands-on, language, design, customer service, technological or any other type, decide what you’d like to learn from the program, so you can choose the best one for you.
  3. How much time can I commit? Programs can last from one to 12 months, so it is important to work out how much time you can commit before applying.
  4. Is money important to me? If you are motivated by the thought of an enriching experience where you will gain valuable new skills, then you have a huge range of options. If money is your main focus, you may be slightly more limited in your choice. We would say – sacrifice a little now, to gain a lot in the future.
  5. Do you want full-time or part-time work? It is best to decide on this before you start looking for programs. Part-time gives you more scope for exploring your surroundings and travelling, while full-time may give you a more enriching experience and more skills in the industry.


Where can I find internship opportunities?

Using a trusted internship company is vital when doing your research, as plenty of scam websites and unofficial organisations exist to take advantage of applicants.

Before contacting a company to ask about opportunities, research thoroughly to ensure they are a legit business, offering high-quality programs. Read reviews, testimonials and take a look at their social media pages.

To find some of the amazing opportunities we provide in Asia, take a look at our internships in Vietnam.


Where should I do an internship?

Travelling abroad for an internship may feel like leaving your comfort zone but staying in it isn’t exactly renowned for living life to the full. Completing your program in another country is truly a life-changing experience that allows you to immerse yourself in a fascinating new culture.

There are many things to consider when choosing the location for your internship. Cost, culture, language, travel opportunities and safety are all important factors that need weighing up.

We offer programs in Asia as we believe it is a fantastic opportunity to add a new dimension to your outlook on life, an enriching, enthralling experience that will stay with you for good. The cost is low, the culture is rich, there are fascinating languages to learn, the travel opportunities are endless, and safety is at the forefront of all our programs.


Should I do an international internship?

An international internship will take you on a journey that, as well as being memorable, will arm you with the tools to build your future. Here are 5 reasons why you should look abroad to complete your program:

  1. Immerse yourself in a new culture. There aren’t many opportunities to learn first-hand about the rich history and fascinating cultures of countries around the world, but an internship is one. In fact, we can’t think of any better!
  2. Build your global network. How many people do you know who have professional contacts from all around the world?
  3. Learn a new language. It becomes so much easier to pick up words and phrases when you are constantly hearing them from native speakers. You’ll also soon acquaint yourself with the regional dialect and be sounding like a local in no time!
  4. Gain independence. Living in a foreign country, away from familiar surroundings, will help you develop an independent streak that will stand you in good stead as you branch out in life and take on more responsibility.
  5. Stand out from the competition. You have experience and an impressive can-do attitude, but what will make you rise above the rest when applying for your dream job? How about the commitment, initiative, confidence and drive that comes from completing one of our international programs? That should do it.


Part 4: Advantages of an internship and benefits on your career

What are the advantages of an internship?

We hear a lot of ‘are they really worth it?’ questions, and the answer is a resounding YES.

There are so many benefits to these programs for so many different people. In fact, we even have a post explaining 16 reasons why you should get involved. But for now, here are the top 5 reasons for it being widely regarded as a not-to-be-missed experience:

  1. It’s your dream career, or so you’ve always thought. But is it really the stuff of dreams? Only one way to find out, and that’s with an internship that will allow you to get a feel for the job and whether it’s something you want to pursue and be involved in the rest of your working days.
  2. Get some direction in your life. If you’re unsure about your career, education or what path you want to take in life, our international programs are an exciting way to get a new perspective and gain inspiration for your future plans.
  3. Meet new people. Many of our interns make lifelong friends on their programs and are eternally grateful for the opportunity to build these meaningful relationships.
  4. Take part in once-in-a-lifetime experiences. From visiting spectacular national parksto watching the sunset on Vietnam’s most exclusive roof top bar.


Will an internship benefit your career?

Yes, it will, on so many different fronts. Here are the top 5 ways it will have a beneficial long-term effect on your career:

  1. It is an exciting introduction into the world of work (especially in an eye-catching, colourful country such as Vietnam!)
  2. It is a chance to build your professional network and meet experts in the industry.
  3. You gain essentials skills that are sure to impress future employers.
  4. You gain work experience which many companies look for in an applicant.
  5. It is a chance to trial the job and see whether you want to a pursue a career in that industry.


Can an internship be considered as work experience?

It most certainly can. In fact, an internship is one of the most valuable, worthwhile ways to gain work experience. Not only are you proving to employers you can and already have worked in the industry successfully, but you also gain a plethora of skills that will make you stand out from your competition.

Skills you may gain from your work experience can include:

  • Leadership skills
  • Ability to work efficiently in a team
  • Time management
  • Independence and confidence from working in a foreign country
  • Good initiative
  • Being responsible and reliable
  • Cultural awareness

Our programs are the perfect first step on to the career ladder. Apply today and we will be in touch with the best opportunities we currently have for you.