Stucomm

   

Students give their thoughts on internship opportunities in the Netherlands New Entry

In a short series, StuComm will speak to students, professors and employers in Holland alike to ascertain how educational institutions are preparing their students through internships for the challenges of tomorrow.

To better understand how many and what type of internship opportunities are available to students in the Netherlands we headed along to the UvA campus in the Amsterdam Oost.

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UvA's iconic campus in the Oost of Amsterdam - you could have been forgiven for thinking it was Mid-Summer rather than October.

We spoke with 6 students studying a variety of different degrees and at different points of their study. We would be the first to admit that this research by no means constitutes a full-blown and accurate account of the available internship opportunities open to students in the Netherlands, however, it does provide insight from which to dig deeper.


Marnix | 2nd Year | Economics and Business

How common is it for friends / course mates to complete internships?

For most you have to be enrolled with an institution of higher ed so that restricts you to mainly summer internships or prolonging your studies so you can do it after

Are they generally paid?

I'd say 50:50

Would more of your friends / course mates like to have internships if they were paid?

I think so yes. It's a big commitment to extend your degree or give up other paid work in the holiday's for it not to be paid

Could companies do more to attract students?

Pay is one! Also more challenging roles


Thijs | 3rd Year | History

How common is it for friends / course mates to complete internships?

Most of my friends will postpone their graduation by a month to be eligible for internships

Are they generally paid?

Mix of opportunities available to friends - some paid / some unpaid

Would more of your friends / course mates like to have internships if they were paid?

Definitely

Could companies do more to attract students? I think making the internships more relevant to our degree or skills would help


Daan | 2nd Year | Biomedical Science

How common is it for friends / course mates to complete internships?

Most people graduate in the form of an internship so that's really different

Are they generally paid?

A lot of the opportunities are un-paid so my friends often have to work other jobs at place like Albert Heijn or Deliveroo

Would more of your friends / course mates like to have internships if they were paid?

Absolutely

Could companies do more to attract students?

The best scenario would be being paid but also doing something that contributes to my degree with the potential for continuing it after I graduate


Zoë | Masters student | Conflict Resolution and Governance

How common is it for friends / course mates to complete internships?

I'm doing an internship with Warchild at the moment but I'm not Dutch. My Dutch friend did an internship with de Groene Amsterdammer which is a magazine

Are they generally paid?

We both get paid but very little

Would more of your friends / course mates like to have internships if they were paid?

I would definitely say so

Could companies do more to attract students?

For me and my friends I think pay is an important factor


Sarah | Masters student | Conflict Resolution and Governance

How common is it for friends / course mates to complete internships?

I've only been studying here for a couple of months as I'm originally from the UK. I can see a lot of overlap with the problems we have there though. I'm fortunate in the sense that my degree is very relevant to what I hope to continue to do after uni. For my masters, I was also required to have completed a number of internships related to my degree before applying. This isn't the case for most students though, so many of my friends end up working jobs that have little or no relevance to their degrees

Are they generally paid?

The first weren't but last couple yes

Would more of your friends / course mates like to have internships if they were paid?

Yes

Could companies do more to attract students?

Pay and relevant experience are key I think. Again we're very lucky because when we work for a company we're able to bring our learnings into action


Jess | Business | Liberal Arts and Sciences | 1st year

How common is it for friends / course mates to complete internships?

I'm still fairly new to my course but did look ahead to internship opportunities when I applied. Apparently our course is mainly theory based so I'm probably going to have to look at jobs outside of my degree

Are they generally paid?

Not sure to be honest

Would more of your friends / course mates like to have internships if they were paid?

I think it's a big motivator yes

Could companies do more to attract students?

The ones I looked at put together some good propositions. I think feeling part of a team is important


Unsurprisingly all those interviewed suggested more students would partake in internships if they were paid. Pay is hardly a surprisingly stumbling block for students and whilst degrees are far cheaper here in Holland, and other living costs lower as travel subsidised, university remains an expensive undertaking.

From these conversations there is a clear demand for internships to take greater precedence in students degrees. By and large the current degree structure fails to encourage students to seek work experience. Fewer graduates are aware of what working life is all about, and fewer companies have a chance to look at new recruits before hiring them. This puts both students and companies at a disadvantage when graduates begin in the workplace.

In the next part of the series we will speak to a lecturer at an MBO school in the Netherlands to hear their thoughts about the opportunities bestowed to students in the Netherlands.