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We all know they can be helpful, but are internships important?

Internships require a substantial time commitment and often less-than-ideal pay rates. So, it’s not unreasonable to ask ‘Why are internships important? And do I really need one?’ In fact, it is always a good idea for potential internship candidates to have a clear answer to the question ‘Why is an internship important to me?’.

So, in this article, we’ll help you set your internship expectations and unpack the importance of internships. We’ll cover why internships are important for employers, why internships are important for job seekers, and give you an idea of what to expect from an internship. We’ll also include some added importance of an internship with a nonprofit organization.

7 Reasons Why Internships Are Important

Often the bridge between education and employment, internships give students, recent graduates, and those looking for a career change a leg up with skill development and experience and a shoe-in-the-door for job applications.

The reason why internships are important is that they teach everything that classrooms, textbooks, and Google searches can’t. If you’re looking to better understand a field before committing to a career path or contextualizing specialist knowledge, you’ll know the importance of internships.

So, why are internships important? Here are a few of the main reasons:

1. Exposure to Real-world Scenarios

Ask most people, ‘Why is an internship important?’, and this is the answer they’d give you.

a group of interns watching on a laptop

Internships can be an intern’s first step into the world of work. In these cases, the value of internships is as a rite of passage, and the personal growth and self-confidence gained from the experience can be immense.

They can also walk graduates through the real-world applications of their academic knowledge. This exposure goes beyond theoretical concepts, allowing interns to gain firsthand experience in their chosen field.

For aspiring medics, lawyers, or conservationists, these early experiences can play a pivotal role in shaping their careers.

2. Skill Development and Learning Opportunities

The second most obvious reason why internships are important is for building skills and knowledge.

One of the main objectives of internships is to equip interns with the skills needed for their chosen professions. Whether learning technical procedures or working on soft skills like communication, internships are one of the best ways to build career skills.

Taking the hands-on approach and learning by doing hands-on approach not only accelerates the learning process but also instills confidence. For those just entering the world of work, this is one of the biggest reasons why are internships important

3. Contributing to Meaningful Cause

Here’s a bonus for nonprofit interns. It’s actually one of the main parts of what to expect from an internship with a nonprofit and one of the top reasons to do a nonprofit internship.

photo of interns holding each other's hands

A lot of the importance of an internship with a nonprofit lies in the fulfillment and personal growth to be gained. Interning with a nonprofit gives you a chance to be something bigger than yourself, immerse yourself in different ways of life, and put your own life into a new context.

More than this, it can have a significant effect on shaping your career. The sense of purpose it provides can be a powerful motivator in your professional life. You’ll also find unique opportunities to build a career that aligns with both your professional ambitions and your values.

4. Building Professional Networks

A strong professional network is a cornerstone of professional success and one of the key reasons why internships are important. Having strong, broad-reaching connections can be a huge boon in your career.

Internships are important for those trying to build connections with an industry. Your work as an intern will place you at the center of your host organization and put you in contact with their industry connections.

The networking opportunities are part of the value of internships that extend well beyond the duration of the internship itself. The connections you make during your internship could be with future mentors, employers, employees, or just a friend to turn to for advice.

5. Resume Enhancement

Why are internships important? For the same reason, any work experience is important to improve your CV. A well-rounded resume is a powerful asset in the job market, and internships are a great thing to have on them.

a woman sitting while using her laptop

Internships significantly enhance a candidate’s appeal to potential employers. By showcasing tangible achievements and contributions during their internships, candidates set themselves apart from others who may lack similar hands-on exposure.

This is also a big reason why internships are important for employers. It offers employers a great insight into the character and values of job applicants. For instance, a nonprofit internship indicates global awareness, a social conscience, and a philanthropic mindset.

6. Exploration of Career Paths

Why are internships important for students, recent graduates, and young professionals? They are the best way to explore different career paths. Industry insight is one of the most common key internship takeaways.

Interning with an organization allows you to see how things work and gain hands-on experience in a role before committing to a job. Exposure to different roles helps interns make informed decisions about their career trajectory.

This exploration phase is huge when searching for a career that aligns with your interests, passions, and professional strengths.

7. Professional Development in a Unique Setting

This is another benefit exclusive to nonprofit internships. If you want to know what to expect from an internship with a nonprofit, expect unique challenges and learning opportunities.

people having a discussion while sitting inside a meeting room

Primarily, working in a nonprofit environment cultivates a broad set of highly transferable skills. Moreover, you’re going to see an improvement in soft skills like adaptability and innovation from working with limited resources and cultural barriers.

If you’d like to know more about the importance of internships with a nonprofit, then get in touch. Our team will be happy to answer questions or walk you through the process of finding your own.

What to Expect from an Internship

  • Personal Development: Internships are transformative experiences, both professionally and personally. Often, the focus of the question of why is an internship important is on the ways it benefits your career. However, the experience can contribute to personal growth on multiple levels too.
  • Skills Building: Diverse skills and industry knowledge are a big part of what to expect from an internship. You’ll receive training in technical procedures, be introduced to new methods of work, and build a deep arsenal of tools and tricks.
  • Industry Exposure: Witnessing how an industry works is a key reason why internships are important. It allows students and recent graduates to bridge the gap between academic knowledge and real-world application. It can also lay the foundation for a young professional to switch careers.
  • Networking Opportunities: Internships open doors to invaluable networking opportunities. Building connections with mentors, colleagues, and industry professionals is not just a perk but a significant reason why internships are important. It’s a huge part of the value of internships and one of the key career boosts gained from an internship.
  • Deepened Commitment to Social Causes: This one’s for ‘what to expect from an internship with a nonprofit’. Working towards positive change in the world is a rewarding and fulfilling experience. Interns often carry this passion for meaningful work into their future careers.

Where to intern with Roots

1. Urban Agriculture and Sustainable Farming Internship In Galapagos

Travel to the Enchanted Islands of the Galapagos and teach sustainable farming practices to the locals, helping them to achieve food sovereignty.

  • Learn the intricacies of sustainable agriculture in tropical climates
  • Support an innovative solution to an important issue
  • Live and work in the Galapagos.

Isabela Island, Galapagos

2. Event Management Internship in The Netherlands

Gain practical experience organizing events as part of a city-wide movement of volunteer community projects.

  • Practical experience in event management
  • Highly transferable skill development
  • Diverse networking opportunities
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam, the Netherlands

3. Refugee Research Internship in South Africa

Put your research skills to use as part of a team working to improve the integration of asylum-seekers, refugees, and diasporic communities into nations across Africa.

  • Develop expert research skills
  • Gain insight into human rights work and academic publishing
  • Meet and work with migrants and refugees

Cape Town, South Africa

4. Communications and PR Internship in Germany

Join an organization dedicated to addressing issues of water waste in the fashion and textiles industry and enjoy industry-spanning networking opportunities.

  • Industry-spanning networking
  • Broad-ranging skill development and experience
  • Support an innovative solution to an important issue

Berlin, Germany

5. Education Program Development Internship in Cambodia

Help break the cycle of poverty in Siem Reap, Cambodia, by devising holistic educational and developmental programs for disadvantaged children.

  • Gain comprehensive experience in education, teaching and curriculum development
  • Make an important difference in children’s lives
  • Work closely with local communities and build deep connections
Siem Reap, Cambodia

Siem Reap, Cambodia

It’s time to take the first step toward the career of your dreams!

So, why are internships important? Now that you have a better idea of what to expect from an internship, you’ll see there are some issues in your career where the value of internships and the importance of internships can’t be overstated.

If you’re looking for industry insight, networking opportunities, or skill development, these are the key reasons why internships are important. These should be prominently included in your expectations from an internship.

If you’d like to receive all these benefits while contributing to positive change in the world, you should get in touch with Roots. We can walk you through a world full of nonprofit internship opportunities to help you find the development your career needs and support a cause close to your heart.

Browse all nonprofit internships available with Roots