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1 posts from January 2014

01/30/2014

Fall 2013, Issue 3

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We would like to dedicate our last newsletter of the semester to our “internship for credit” program. Internships are an excellent opportunity for students to bolster their resumes with international work experience, to gain important on-the-job skills, to hone their intercultural communication skills, and to test drive a professional job. Also, internships sometimes lead to additional internships as happened this semester when our intern for the Fulbright Commission was offered in internship doing similar work at the US State Department!

For credit internships are an essential part of the Communication, New Media + Journalism Program, while Central European Studies students can participate as well. Students need pre-approval from their home institutions so that credit is transferable. The internship for credit program includes not only 7-10 hours per week on the job, but also an internship seminar where students learn about the Czech work environment along with cultural differences. As a whole, the internship program is an intense, yet highly rewarding experience; students receive 3 credits upon completion.

Our interns do much more than making coffee and filing: they are valuable team members with important job duties.

Lessons Learned

Students took away many valuable lessons from their interning experience. They learned important intercultural and practical on-the-job skills, but also faced challenges sometimes on a daily basis.

Challenges:

  • Balance their class and work schedule in addition to their travels and life in Prague; this required time management skills
  • Learning to work in a “high context” work place, meaning interns did not always get specific instructions or hand-holding from their supervisors; rather they had to learn to be pro-active and independent
  • There is typically a learning curve with acquiring on-the-job-skills; most interns were challenged by learning the basics of excel or document formatting; they learned to pay attention to detail
  • Working in predominantly Czech-speaking offices, several interns were challenged with basic communication and motivated to speak more Czech (intern supervisors always speak English though!)
  • When it comes to our interns doing editorial work, they especially learned the importance of keeping deadlines
  • A handful of interns actually challenged and often modified what they want to do professionally thanks to being able to test-drive a job
  • Due to the short nature of their internship, it was sometimes challenging to build relationships with their colleagues and to feel a full part of the team; each intern had to put in extra effort to show their interest
  • For some interns it was a challenge to work in a small and often quiet office; some interns realized they would prefer to work in another kind of office

Forum 2000 intern

Experiences gained:

  • Due to his valuable experience with Fulbright, our intern there received a summer internship with the U.S. Department of State, Cultural Affairs. He would like to continue with international education.
  • Our intern with The Prague Post became a journalist herself and wrote the most viewed article one week.
  • One of our interns at the prestigious Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty had two publishes pieced and said it was the best internship she ever had.
  • Working at the Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival has according to this intern beefed up his resume and has provided more credibility with broader involvement in the media world.
  • Analyzing and proofreading scripts was the most valuable skill learned for our Dramedy Productions intern who would like to go into the film industry after college; she will try to find a similar internship in the US.
  • For one of our interns for ISP, simply working in an office, forming relationships with colleagues, and becoming a member of the team was a valuable experience.
  • Our intern for Forum 2000 would like to work abroad in the future and believes that this first experience will help her to secure a more permanent position in the future.

Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival inters