types of internships
Internships lead you to all kinds of industry experiences. Source: Saeed Khan/AFP

Internships are a great way to expand your work experience while at college or university.

While embarking on a behind-the-scenes venture of your chosen industry, you will begin to understand how things work and how far your studies will take you. 

For instance, if you’re studying for an agricultural degree, you may choose to intern at an organic rural farm during your summer break and help liaise with the farm’s clients or perform manual labour.

Alternatively, you could take on a virtual internship with an agriculture e-business and help them to curate their social media page or marketing strategies.

There are many different types of internship to choose from. Make sure you know what these four terms refer to:   


type of internship

Apprenticeships are practical. So don’t be afraid to get stuck into practical tasks. Source: Ander Gillena/AFP

Do you want to get paid and trained at the same time?

If yes, an apprenticeship is for you.

According to the UK Government’s Apprentice Hub, an apprenticeship in the UK should take between one to six years to complete depending on your current experience and the company you’re assigned to.

You’ll also have time to attend training sessions at your college, your university, or with your training provider.

Apprenticeship styles will vary depending on which country you decide to study in. Sometimes, it could even land you a full-time working position.

Ultimately, an apprenticeship grants you valuable hands-on experience working while you learn and money to save for further education opportunities.


types of internships

Expect to shadow your superiors on an externship. Source: Zak Bennett/AFP

If you want a shorter work experience than an apprenticeship and you’re not worried about getting paid for it, then an externship is an ideal option.

Externships often last from one to three weeks and give you a snapshot into the career field of your choice.

Due to its shorter length, you’ll spend most of your time shadowing professionals and witnessing the daily expectations of a role.

And by embarking on an externship, you won’t have to make any long-term commitments and worry about fitting it into your study schedule.


type of internship

Do you know which type of internship you’re interested in? Source: Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP

From its name, you may have already guessed that this type of internship involves practical, hands-on learning.

Rather than being a detached educational entity, a practicum is fully-integrated into your course and will be known as the “practical section”.

Unlike an apprenticeship, it’s not common to be paid during a practicum, but your university may offer some financial aid to cover your expenses while you work.

Depending on your university, you should have the freedom to shape your practicum around your study goals.

A practicum will also provide you with valuable feedback from your employer and academic adviser to take forward into the future of work.

Co-Op (Cooperative Education)

types of internship

You may find that your internship is now virtual. Source: Agnes Bun/AFP

Co-op — otherwise known as “cooperative education” — are full-time, paid positions for students in full-time programmes.

The easiest way to understand this type of internship is to view it as a three-way partnership between an employer, a professor and you. 

For instance, co-ops mix on-campus semesters with your professors, with full-time working semesters with your employer.

Some universities will even provide five-year co-op programmes to count the paid, practical co-op experience as one year of study.

If you opt for this type of work experience, you’ll quickly learn how to balance your work life and your social life before graduating. 

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