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The educational value of internships

Article by Petrina Darrah

Petrina Darrah

Posted: October 19, 2022

3 min read 

Whether you’re in high school or college it’s quite likely you’ve found topics of study that pique your interest. The subjects and classes that you are excited to go to, the homework that doesn’t require as much motivation to begin, and the lectures you pay particular attention to. This is passion.

However, education inside the walls of a classroom can only go so far. Supplementing your curiosity and desire to learn about a particular topic is paramount. An excellent way to go about this is by engaging in an internship, research fellowship or professional apprenticeship. Here are five ways an internship will add to your education.


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.


Applying what you have learned in a textbook to the real world is an essential part of solidifying your understanding and gaining the necessary practical skills.


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. 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.


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.



Giving you a space to engage in 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 you’ll 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 and to gain experience verbally expressing your own interest – which will come in handy during interviews, presentations or meetings.


Taking you out of your daily routine

Stepping outside of your hometown or college campus and exploring an international destination is an incredible way to make you aware of 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.

Are you ready to embark on an internship of your own? Check out the many different options that GVI offers.

By Petrina Darrah

Petrina Darrah is a freelance writer from New Zealand with a passion for outdoor adventure and sustainable travel. She has been writing about travel for more than five years and her work has appeared in print and digital publications including National Geographic Travel, Conde Nast Travel, Business Insider, Atlas Obscura and more. You can see more of her work at petrinadarrah.com.
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