Travel, take videos or craft puns as internships reinvent work roles
Remember the summers in school, when you could hit refresh, reinvent yourself, pick a new hobby each year?
Summer internships are becoming a way to reclaim that sense of freedom. In today’s start-up culture, there are more opportunities than ever before, making it easier to get a first break doing something you are passionate about — become a credited photographer, try your hand at travel vlogging, craft puns all day.
The travel app Trell offers a contest-based internship every two months. Applicants must upload video logs of past travels to compete; winners get sent on trips paid for partially by Trell, where they must generate video content — mainly trip accounts and reviews — for the app.
Prateek Chandramouli, 22, a law student from Bengaluru, went on one such four-day internship trip to Manali. “Travel, accommodation and breakfast were paid for. I stayed at a hostel. It was a solo trip and I met people from all over — Spain, Germany and Nagpur — and vlogged my experiences for the app.”
At the NGO Muskurahat Foundation, an unpaid photography internship offers to give you credit for images you take of the foundation’s events and project work. You can sign up any time, for a period of three months, and get a certificate at the end of that period.
Raj Gupta, 19, a management student from Mumbai, is currently a photography intern at Muskurahat. “It’s been a great experience, and I’ve learnt to coordinate and work with others, through this internship,” he says. “Because I am something of an introvert, this has helped me a lot.”
ARE YOU KIDDING?
At e-commerce services company Frying Pun, you can finally make something of the hours spent on social media. A two-month Social Media Pun(s)ter internship (April and May) comes with a stipend and complementary merchandise and allows you to work from home with flexible hours. It will end with a letter of recommendation from the company (assuming you were actually funny).
Navamita Chandra, 24, a final year student in Film Studies from Jadavpur University, Kolkata, is currently interning at Frying Pun. “You have to be creative, think on your feet. A big plus is that I can work from home, a minus is that working from home means I do not get the office experience. Also, I have to coordinate on things like the designs over the phone, which is challenging and tricky. As a student, I am learning more about social media analytics, and the importance of good communication. There are no fixed working hours, so I devote an hour or two a day, and I’m having fun.”
At youth community-building platform Eat My News (EMN), youngsters like Anubhav Wadhwa, 20, a medical student from Delhi, intern in fields such as community expansion, content writing and social media marketing. The platform offers internships for a minimum of two months, which can be extended.
Wadhwa has been interning with EMN for 18 months. “The people are very friendly and work timings are flexible. As a medical student, my social group is limited. Eat My News sees me visit other colleges, connect with new people, make contacts and socialise,” he says.
DO OR DON’T?
“Such internships can add great value to a resume. Unfortunately our education in India does not allow us as much exposure as counterparts in Europe and the US do. These internships give you an opportunity to experience the world outside your chosen specialisation,” says Fatima Agarkar, co-founder of KA EduAssociates.
But don’t do too many offbeat internships, and try not to work from home each time, is Richa Saklani’s advice. “These internships sound like great opportunities to learn, but this kind of off-beat internship should be balanced out by doing traditional internships in the field you plan to specialise in,” says the founder of Inomi Learning. “After all, students have three to four opportunities to intern, so they must use each one well.”
A work-from-home internship has significant downsides, she adds. “It’s tough even for seasoned professionals to work from home. It’s tough to structure your own time, work efficiently and deliver good results in isolation. Colleagues and an office environment help everyone, so too many work-from-home internships would not, in my opinion, be advisable.”