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The Who, What, Why & How of Student Internships

THE WHO, WHAT, WHY & HOW OF STUDENT INTERNSHIPS A student intern is a valuable resource and an excellent asset to any organization. By providing students the opportunity to explore the industry beyond the classroom, you are contributing greatly to the future of travel and tourism. The FAQ's about Student Internships . . . Q. What is an internship? A. An internship is an opportunity for a student to apply the knowledge he or she gained in the classroom to practical work experience in his or her chosen area of study. Internships allow students to work with different areas or departments within a company or organization while developing problem-solving and decision-making skills. They often help the students narrow their career direction. Q. How does an internship work? A. Based on the school’s internship requirements, a work- study plan should be developed between your company’s work supervisor and the student intern on matters such as specific learning objectives, work responsibilities and methods of evaluating the student’s progress in regards to the identified expectations. Q. Why would my company want interns? A. · Your company can identify and gain access to highly qualified, resourceful and innovative students. · Your company has the potential to become the employer of choice to experienced interns upon graduation. · Your company will have the ability to evaluate the best candidates for future recruitment. · Students will bring new ideas and fresh perspectives to your company. · Your company would have the ability to increase diversity with qualified interns. · Your company will have the opportunity to participate in the development of the “Leaders of Tomorrow.” Q. How long is an internship? A. An internship can be full-time or part-time, can occur during the summer, the fall or spring semester, or even during the entire school year; the duration will be determined by the employer, the student and the academic institution. Q. What about compensation? A. Internships should be paid at least market-based pay. Additional subsidies may include room and board, parking or tuition reimbursements. Q. What is the role of the on-the-job supervisor? A. Someone in your company should be assigned to supervise and evaluate the intern in order to provide a well-rounded learning experience, in particular: · Provide opportunities for the intern to learn through observation. · Plan for challenge and variety through various projects and in working with different departments. · Evaluate the student’s progress regularly. · Encourage the student’s professional growth. Q. What should you ask a potential intern? A. · What skills, knowledge and motivation do you have with respect to the position and the company? · What are your expectations regarding tasks/projects and compensation? · What are your career objectives? · What is your previous experience? · What is your current academic standing? · Do you have any travel experience, particularly with escorted travel? Q. What might a potential intern ask me? A. · What are the specific job requirements? · What expectations do you and the company have of interns? ·What exposure will I have to a broad range of experiences or tasks? ·What is the salary, honoraria or other financial/non- financial support your company offers? ·What hours will my work schedule involve? Each week? And over the course of the internship? ·How much direct contact will I have with my supervisor? Q. How do I find interns? A. Local colleges and universities have information on students who are interested in internship programs. Contact the schools in your area for a list of students. The National Tourism Foundation also distributes a list of internship opportunities to educators and students upon request and at industry trade shows. The internship list can also be found on NTF Online, www.ntfonline.org. Glossary of Terms Co-op (Cooperative Education) - a program allowing a student to receive course credit for work done in their field of study. Externship - a required period of supervised practice done off campus or away from one’s affiliated institution. Intern - a student or recent graduate undergoing supervised practical training. Internship - a student works in an environment where they perform a variety of tasks for a specific occupation; usually short-term. Practicum - a part of coursework consisting of practical work in a particular field of study. Work-study - an academic program that enables high school or college students to gain work experience and make money while continuing their studies.