x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

UAE interns catch a glimpse of the real working world

While internships in the UAE are few and far between, the fortunate few who were given the opportunity testify to the value of work placement schemes.

Clarice Mendonca, 19, is one of the lucky few who can plan for their future career while studying.
Clarice Mendonca, 19, is one of the lucky few who can plan for their future career while studying.

DUBAI // Clarice Mendonca, 19, is one of the lucky few who can plan for their future career while studying for their bachelor's degree.

The final-year psychology student at Middlesex University has landed an internship at Lighthouse Arabia, a community mental health centre in Umm Suqeim, where she spent 20 hours a week for four months in the summer and now 10 hours a week during her studies.

Unlike most psychology students around the world, who cannot get such experience until qualified, she is also receiving training in areas such as intelligence assessment and play therapy, working with children and adults. It is unpaid but invaluable.

"Psychology itself is very new here," Ms Mendonca said, as only a handful of institutions offer the bachelor's degree.

"Not many undergraduates would have such an opportunity and especially not the training I'm getting. It's so interesting."

Safia Wazed, 18, has also been working as an intern since the summer.

She is copywriting for the student employment website, Bab Al Shabab.

Ms Wazed is in her second year of a degree in accounting and finance, and says although the job is not directly linked to her degree it gives her important workplace experience.

"We have deadlines so it's taught me so much; things like time management and communication skills, which are invaluable for every area of life," she said.

mswan@thenational.ae