What is an internship

Find out what an internship entails and how to find one that suits your needs.

Create your future

Imagine if you had the chance to give your future a trial run. What if you could test out concepts you’ve learned on campus in a professional context? Picture the doors that might open if you could meet and ask questions to experts working in jobs that you might like to have yourself one day. The great news is you can – through an internship.

Internships act like bridges between university study and your future work life: they help you gain professional experience, form relationships with people working in your field, and even meet potential employers.

Typically, internships are most valuable when they align with your studies. However, some employers seek interns from a range of fields, so you could have the opportunity to gain valuable experience outside of the area you are studying.

The most common length for an internship is 8-12 weeks, and they often take place over the summer holidays (November - February). However, some internships may be longer or take place at other times throughout the year.

Global internships enable you to apply your skills in a foreign environment, and will help you to build cultural awareness and an international network. CDES advertises specific overseas internships, especially those eligible for funding through the Prime Minister’s Scholarship. Check MyCDES and Going Global regularly. 

There are also a number of third party/external providers that develop international internship programmes.

A good your internship should:

  • Be a learning experience that extends from the classroom to your chosen industry, giving you the chance to apply your knowledge in the workplace
  • Benefit you, so you’re not just performing mundane tasks that benefit your employer alone
  • Build transferable skills that will help you in any future work environment
  • Have a start and end date, and a job description that outlines your role
  • Have clear objectives that support your course of study
  • Be supervised by a professional with expertise in your field who provides regular feedback on your experience
  • Provide resources to help you learn while you are on the job

How to find an internship

The process for getting an internship is similar to applying for a job, so you will want to get your CV in order and prepare for interviews. This might involve finding out what an average day will look like in your role, who will be supervising you, and what types of performance reviews you should expect at the end of your internship.

CDES offers workshops on everything from CVs to interviews, LinkedIn and networking. Book your place on MyCDES and come along to get tips for putting your best foot forward.

You can also:

  • Check MyCDES for internships and CDES events and expos
  • Search other job boards
  • Look at employer websites for opportunities
  • Approach employers directly
  • Use your networks
  • LinkedIn
  • Career Connect