[Letters]High schoolers need internships too

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[Letters]High schoolers need internships too



The Ministry of Education is promoting a new college admissions policy through an admissions officer system. Admissions officers from different fields will evaluate students’ capabilities and potential through their records and interviews. Spurred on by the new system, many teenagers are focusing on extracurricular activities that can highlight their interests and academic abilities. Among these activities, internships are in the spotlight for high school students. Not only do internships look good on resumes; they also provide an opportunity for teenagers to gain real workplace experience.

However, finding internships is not always easy, because opportunities for high school students are extremely limited, and often are not publicly offered. Most students find internships through acquaintances, such as their parents’ friends. Thus, opportunities are better for the well connected; they are hard to come by for students lacking contacts.

It is understandable that companies do not provide enough internships. Generally, companies are not prepared to have interns, lacking, for example, staff who can supervise or mentor interns. Moreover, a major problem is that they usually do not have enough tasks they can entrust to high school students. And after all, students must go to school and take extra classes, so their time is very limited. For these reasons, there is little gain for companies to take in high school students as interns. Regardless of such difficulties, companies should offer more internship programs for students to allow teenagers to experience the workplace and see how people work, and help them set reality-based plans for their future.

I participated in a one-week internship at the JoongAng Daily during my winter vacation in February 2008 on the recommendation of my teacher. Since I wanted to major in journalism and mass communication in college, getting an internship at a major newspaper company was a great opportunity.

During my one week at JoongAng Daily, I was impressed by the work and the people writing and editing news reports. Every worker looks busy but professional and confident. Among them, I was most impressed by the boss of my team who showed outstanding professionalism. I didn’t have many tasks that I worked on during the internship. I just listened in at the daily meetings and watched people working. But this short [exposure] gave me valuable lessons and experiences; it helped give shape to my vague wish to be a journalist. I believe that many other teenagers can also learn valuable lessons through internships.

Nowadays, the government is promoting the expedient hiring of interns since youth unemployment has grown rapidly. Unlike young job seekers in their 20s, teenagers have limited abilities. However, society has a duty to develop teenagers’ potential. Providing short internships for teenagers will definitely help them to set and reach for their future goals.

Kwon Dasom,

student at an international academy

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