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In every higher vocational education (hbo) program, completing an internship is essential. The timing of your internship varies based on the program and the type of education you are pursuing. An internship adds significant value to what you learn in your studies. It is a shame to see an internship as a 'must' to get your degree; it can bring you so much!

Why do an internship?

Doing an internship in the field gives you the chance to apply the knowledge you have gained in practice. And let's be honest, wouldn't you also want a nurse who has taken blood before? Or an accountant who has done financial statements before?

That is why it is important to gain experience before you actually start working after your studies. Of course, it is all the better if, during your first step into practice, you are well supported by an experienced professional who looks after you and to whom you can ask all your questions.

You may already be discovering more and more which direction you want to go in during your studies. You will also learn a lot about yourself during your internship, such as:

  • Will I enjoy doing what I learn during my studies in practice?
  • How do I talk to a manager?
  • Do I connect easily with older and more experienced colleagues?
  • Can I perform well under pressure?
  • How do I deal with business dynamics?
  • How do I react when a working day goes completely differently than planned?
  • What kind of role suits me when I graduate?

When looking for an internship, you can already research opportunities within your field. Try to choose an organisation, institution or position that interests you. That way, you can check whether your expectations match reality. Think about a certain type of education you want to know more about, a target group you want to work with or tasks that appeal to you.

Een stage kan je ook helpen bij het maken van keuzes over een specialisatie binnen je opleiding of je latere loopbaan. Probeer dus verschillende stages uit als dat binnen jouw studie kan. Zo kun je van verschillende dingen 'proeven'. En als het tegenvalt? Geen zorgen! Dan weet je dat tenminste, zonder dat je ├ęcht met een baan bent gestart.

By doing an internship, you expand your network. You get to know new people, such as colleagues and managers, but also other professionals in your field. Talking to them will give you a good idea of different jobs and you may also discover organisations you did not know before, for example because your internship company cooperates with them. By speaking to all these new contacts, you can get valuable feedback on your performance. You can learn more about the sector as a whole and find 'mentors': people you find inspiring and who might be able to help you in your future development. Finally, your network often provides opportunities when you are looking for a job later on. Maybe you may stay at your internship company, but otherwise a good network makes it much easier to keep abreast of great job opportunities or get recommendations when applying for a job.
When you start looking for a job soon after your studies, relevant work experience is very important. It gives you an edge over other recent graduates. As a starter, you often have little or no work experience, and you may not have a side job that matches your education. If you have already gained some experience during your internship, it is important to mention this on your CV. In addition, briefly state what your activities and tasks were. Did your internship supervisor give you a good evaluation? Maybe he or she will recommend you!

How do I find an internship?

Finding an internship can be difficult, but with the right approach, you can go a long way. Before you start looking, it is useful to have a clear idea of what exactly you are looking for. Therefore, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do I want to learn during my internship?
  • What do I want to try out/experience? For example, think about working in a small or large organisation, a particular target group, direction or work.
  • Why do I think I find this interesting?
  • What do I have to offer?

By answering these questions, not only will you be able to search for an internship in a much more targeted way, but you will also have a good story to tell when you apply.

Useful links

Also check the website of organisations where you would like to do an internship.

Tip: Check with your study programme

Sometimes the internship coordinator or a lecturer from your programme may already be in touch with organisations within your field of work that need an intern. This can be a nice way in!

Doing an internship abroad

Are you adventurous? Do you want to broaden your horizons beyond the Netherlands and your home country? Then consider an internship abroad!

The benefits:

  • You get to experience a different culture and may start to view the cultures you are familiar with from a new perspective;
  • You learn new things such as how to arrange a visa/accommodation in a new country, speaking another language, or gaining different knowledge;
  • You develop as an individual and become more independent. Building confidence by overcoming challenges and learning how to adapt to a different environment.

Be aware..

When going for an internship abroad, starting your preparations on time is essential! There's more to consider, such as a visa, accommodation, and potential language barriers. But don't let that hold you back!

Yes, you did it! You have found an internship!

Doing an internship provides the opportunity to grow, learn, and develop professionally. It is a valuable experience during your study period. Make sure to make the most of this opportunity and prepare yourself well for what lies ahead.

Need help during your internship?

Despite all preparations, it can happen that your internship doesn't entirely meet your expectations. There can be various reasons, such as personal circumstances or aspects within the organisation that unfold differently than planned. If you encounter challenges or setbacks during your internship, it is important to discuss this promptly with both your supervisor from Fontys and the one from the organisation. This way, you can quickly work together to determine the best course of action.