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International Internships

Opinion
07 Sep 2015
By : Lead8

University of Toronto undergraduate, Kate Lyne, chose to broaden her horizons and search for an international summer internship programme. After making a successful application to “The Intern Group”, a business specialising in selecting appropriately qualified interns for placement with international firms, Kate was put in touch with Lead8 in Hong Kong.

Kate says, “I realised after putting so much effort into the application for placement, that I still had the challenge of convincing my parents why I should travel to Hong Kong and base myself there for six weeks. I compiled a 20 minute power point presentation for them and it worked, so here I am”.

Kate extols the virtues of internships abroad and sums it up as an amazing opportunity to learn. This doesn’t take place just in the workplace but also from social, cultural and personal interaction. According to Kate, experiencing completely different points of view, gaining independence in a foreign country, adapting to different cultures within the architectural design industry, and establishing a future career network, all contribute to significant personal and professional growth. She feels that being able to feed these experiences back into her University studies will only enhance the work she is able to produce and submit for assessment.

Over to Kate to describe the experience in her own words…

Before joining Lead8 for the summer, I had just recently finished the second year of my undergraduate degree in Architecture Design and Theory at the University of Toronto. I can surely say that as I come to the conclusion of my 6 week internship here with Lead8, I have learned and obtained skills that I would never have been able to achieve at my university level education. Not only have I been able to grow as an architect I have also been able to grow as an individual and learn what it takes to work within a well-oiled architectural team.

This includes learning all of the different skills it takes to complete a project for a client. Each and every skillset is equally crucial in the studio, which is important to remember when creating high-end projects for clients. Not only does each skillset allow the project to grow, it allows the project to evolve through the work of many individuals and their input and creativity.

Also, not only have I learned to grow my skillset, but I have also been forced to grow in new ways that I would never had pushed myself to do in my university environment. This is one of the reasons why these internships have so much value to any individual at a university level. They provide an insightful and ‘out of the ordinary’ experience, forcing one to push oneself to new creative and professional heights, as well as allowing a new level of comfort and confidence to emerge in one’s own work and future ideas.

These real-world projects show you what tasks and concepts must be taken into consideration when building large scale projects. What sets these projects apart from university level projects is the reality of what these buildings’ functions actually achieve. The opportunity to see the process up close and what it takes to achieve the final product allows any university level student to grow and strive for more when creating their own work.

When it comes to future employment opportunities and career paths, these work place internships are very valuable as they provide you with the high-end and real-world projects to add to your own portfolio and CV, showing any future employer your previous experience in the field. Even more so when you travel abroad to experience new cultures, geographies, work typologies, etc.

This internship will stand me in good stead for post-university job opportunities. I believe it will give me an edge on experience that employers look for today. Programs like this allow for new opportunities to grow whether it be in your remaining years at university or any future entry level candidacy with companies.

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