Internships (Praktikum)

This is one of the requirements so as to complete your bachelor’s degree, atleast for most. Well having done close to about 6 internships since I started my degree, I think I can share a bit of my experiences with those who are completely lost about how to go about it.

I did my bachelor in Mechanical Engineering, here the internship is divided into 2, the basic (Grundpraktikum) and the “professional” (Fachpraktikum). The basic entails the basics of what you are learning, you are adviced to do this before you start your studies just to get a feel of what you’ll be learning at Uni (though, I have to tell you, if I had done it before, I would have changed my major…lol..) For Mechanical engineering, the basics entail being in a workshop (if you do it the right way, ofcourse there are those that fake their reports….but that’s another story).

For the basic internship, I did it in winter during the “holidays” (Vorlesungsfreie Zeit). Well, I can tell you this,  every morning on my way to the Workshop, I’d promise myself that I’d quit and never go back there again. I didn’t have a car then, so I’d have to catch the tram (U-Bahn) at 5am (I’d wake up at 4am, then I remember after I left chox I had promised never to wake up before 5am ever again…mmmhhhmm life does hand us some trials); get to the stop at 5:31am; walk for 22mins to the changing room then get to the workshop at 6am for an 8hr shift with only a 15min break. It was hell, but I learned a lot and that’s what I took with me. Forget the looong walk during winter that made me curse the weather and promise never to go back there; I actually enjoyed the 8hrs I spent with the guys at the workshop as the only girl, learning the tools of my trade and helping me decide which direction to take in my field of study. I got inspired to write alot during those days and drew a clear roadmap to where I wanted to see myself after that experience….Away from that Werkstatt…lol…Just realized how many promises I made and broke…oohhh well better do better next time.

So why did I do soo many Interships?
1. Help me acclimatize to the field of study know what it entails to be in that field as well as decide on a field of specification
2. Network, get to know people in the industry. Vitamin B (Beziehungen) get to know people and let people get to know you.
3. Improve the CV
4. Get some credible references from people already in the Industry
5. Get some experience

I’m not saying everyone should do as many internships; but I’d definitely encourage anyone thinking about it to do it. Especially for the foreigners, not only do you get experience in the field and pimp your CV but you also get people here who can act as your references when you’re applying for a job later on. It also increases your chances of getting a job at that company after your studies considering the employer will have already “taken you on a test drive”.

Look out for the tips on how to apply for an internship.

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