Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Apprenticeship vs. Internship

This is completely random and not quite related to our reading. Well it kind of is. I was reading Ben Franklin's autobiography and on p. 480 it talks about how he served as an apprentice. According to Wikipedia, apprentices do "most of their training while working for an employer who helps the apprentices learn their trade, in exchange for their continuing labour for an agreed period after they become skilled". Ben Franklin's father was pushing for him to sign on as an apprentice to his brother to serve from the age of 12 to 21! He felt pressured and ended up eventually breaking from his brother after a few years. But it brought me to thinking...in college we are all pressured to get internships. Maybe its more GW specifically or because we are in a city and we need to take advantage of those opportunities. Either way, its a great way to find out what you like...or don't like. I know people that do internships completely unrelated to their fields or what they want to do just simply to have it on their resume. These people aren't even paying you! I kind of wish I could just have an apprenticeship...it sounds much simpler. You get trained in what you are passionate about and then have guaranteed employment. Although I definitely did not know what I was interested in doing with my life when I was 12....I still thought I was going to be an olympic swimmer. Anyways, my friend just came back from studying abroad in Denmark and she said most people don't even go to graduate school because they basically get modern day apprenticeships. Saves money, time, ect. What are your thoughts? Do you like internships and the flexibility of choice (but the risk of unemployment) or the idea of an apprenticeship?


  1. I most definitely like the idea of an apprenticeship better then an internship. I can't be wasting time with an internship that doesn't pay and then just throws you to the curb when your done. Still having to attend school and another paying job on top of the internship can make for a hectic life with little free time. As long as you know what you are passionate about, getting an apprenticeship sounds like the better deal. Learning from a "master" of the interested field and then having a guarantee paying job afterward sounds like a good start to any career.

  2. Opine openly about your internships. I'll just throw this bit of snark into the mix. Also, a bit less imaginatively, this snarky bit, too. (Scroll through the whole blog with that last link for the student responses.)

  3. to prove your (and my) point, here's an excerpt from that wonderful site:

    "I had a summer internship at NIH, which is very prestigious in the science community. If the topic is about internships, I’ll casually bring it up, like “Oh, yeah, I interned at NIH, it wasn’t a big deal, blah blah blah” and then people always “Oooo that must have been such a great learning experience.” I always agree, but the truth is, it was the most boring thing ever. I never had any work and I spent the entire time on Xanga because NIH had blocked Facebook on their computers. It sucked. But I never mention that."

    ...and thats why I have no desire to get an internship at the moment

  4. Well, I certainly enjoyed those snarky bits. I have had no experience with internships yet but feel like I've heard thousands of positive stories about them (CI, anyone?). At this point they seem more attractive to me than apprenticeships because I am still Undeclared and tend to shrug sheepishly when people ask me what I'd like to do in a few years. I can't imagine being bound to one career already. Then again, if apprenticeships were the norm, perhaps I'd have given more thought to my life and be more confident in my goals. Since I know I have the flexibility to go down several paths, I haven't needed to make any real decisions about what I'm working towards. Then again, what if you went through an apprenticeship and couldn't find a job in your field? In this day and age maybe our education should prepare us for different options. Everybody loves a good back-up plan.