Internships Give Students Value For Their Careers
By Tim Vutha
Internships have become the trend for students wanting to practice what they learn in school and for them to gain new knowledge in the work place.
Heng Kanal, a fourth-year Law student, who interned for six months as a lawyer assistant, handling administrative affairs at the International Law Firm for Business and Legal Affairs, said that while working as an intern he gained job experiences in the law field that fit his major.
“I learned how to write law suits in Khmer language, access administrative and legal documents and translate legal documents,” he said.
He also benefited from the networks he made in his working environment. He got to know important people such as lawyers, prosecutors and other legal officers. As an added bonus, the internship allowed him to make money to support his studies.
However, he also met some challenging tasks during his internship experience.
“I had to complete tasks on time, maintain professional demeanor in the office and work under the pressure of higher supervisors,” Kanal said. “The tasks that they gave me to do I had to complete within the time provided and no one could help me. I had to be very careful in writing because they were legal affairs.”
Thai Rithy, who worked as an intern for ANZ Royal Bank, reflected on his internship experience as having positive effects on his studies.
“The company only lets you work when you are free. If you study in the morning, you can work in the afternoon,” he said.
According to Tep Punloeu, Associated Dean in the College of Law, internships prove to be good experiences in attaining career goals. He said most of the law students at UC usually apply for the careers as paralegals, law clerks, legal assistants, staff members at NGOs involved in human rights, attorneys-at-law and court officers.
“Students are smart to find internships. It is good for them to get experience,” he said. “However, some internships are not suitable for students to apply, for
Thai Rithy interned as a call center consultant at ANZ Royal Bank.
they are not really related to their majors.”
The University of Cambodia encourages its students find internships.
“When companies or NGOs inform us about internship opportunities, we announce it to individual classes and put the information on the bulletin boards,” said Por Malis, Director of Administrative Affairs.
She also said when she meets with various organizations, she inquires about their internship needs and will set up positions for qualified students, especially those actively involved in the Student Senate or Debate Club.
Kanal said he used the resources at the university to search for his internship on his own.
“I usually look for jobs on the UC information board. Moreover, lecturers and classmates usually motivate me to apply,” Kanal said. “When I apply, I can use my lecturers’ names as references on my CV.”
Rithy, on the other hand, said that UC has networks, partnerships and other UC students working in institutions throughout the city can facilitate the students wanting to work as an intern.
“I got the chance to intern as a call center consultant at ANZ Royal Bank because of these networks,” he said.
Having interned for several months, Kanal offered recommendations for students beginning their internships.
“Students have to work hard. Then the director will consider them as valuable assets in the company, and they will be hired as full-time employees,” he said. “They also have to manage the time properly between working and studying.”
However, most importantly, he said interns need to watch their health because work can bring with it stress and fatigue.
“Employers need a healthy and fit staff,” he said.