Internship culture

The issue here is not about whether interns should be paid or not. What is more important is the need for Nepali organisations and employers to be more supportive and cooperative to the interns and not take them as unnecessary burdens.

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This morning as I listened to BBC, a talk show about interns and their exploitation was being aired. The programme reminded me of my own internship and the internship culture in Nepal. Being a BBA student, it was mandatory for me to undertake an internship in any organisation (bank, manufacturing, or any others). Going by the popular choice, I opted to do my internship in a commercial bank. While working as intern in one of the leading commercial banks of Nepal, I got to learn a lot within a span of eight weeks. It was also fruitful because I got to try new things without assuming much of the responsibilities or work commitment. However, after some days, I started getting bored of the repetitive nature of work such as photocopying, filing and making phone calls which were supposedly the jobs of lower-level employees.
I am not underrating the importance of the work of employees in the lower hierarchy. By this, I just wanted to reflect upon the wrong notion of internship and interns in our context. Interns here are taken for granted. My friends working in other organisations also shared similar bitter experiences. As for my own experience, there were employees who were not willing to speak to me or return my greetings let alone guide or train me.
What image or perception shall the intern have of the organisation which fails to treat them in a proper manner? I think this issue deserves serious attention. Most of the organisations in Nepal (except a few) do not pay the interns. This is sheer exploitation. They make the interns work as full time employees without bothering to know whether the intern has learned anything on the job. I believe whatever the nature of the work and given the amount of time invested, every intern need to be compensated. Doing so would make the interns more accountable as they feel they are being paid for their contribution.
The issue here is not about whether interns should be paid or not. What is more important is the need for Nepali organisations and employers to be more supportive and cooperative to the interns and not take them as unnecessary burdens. However, part of the problem are interns themselves. Interns should also take the initiative to learn new things and take up challenges and not wait for the concerned person to assign them work. Internship is a period where young people like us get a chance to observe and understand real life work settings before venturing into a real life work situation. What an intern learns during his internship has a greater role in shaping his/her attitude and career goals. Therefore, I sincerely hope that interns are treated with due respect in the days to come. 
[Source: Roshee Lamichhane
http://www.ekantipur.com/the-kathmandu-post/2009/11/24/Oped/Internship-culture/2374/]

2010-09-19 | EducateNepal

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