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Summer Interns Seek To Advance their Careers

Young students in Qatar are seeking out internships to gain insight into prospective careers and advantages in their future job searches. And Qatari companies are increasingly accommodating them.

We interviewed students living in Qatar who worked in internships this summer, and two internship experts who helped them.

Umair Qazi (no relation to the author)
School: Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar
Major: Computer Science
Intern at: Qatar Computing Research Institute

During my internship at the Institute, I learned a new computer programming language, Java. That’s my biggest achievement. This internship is giving me a perspective on how the computer science industry works. It has broadened my horizons on computer research.

In the long term, I wanted to collaborate with someone so I could continue with my research. Hopefully, I’ve achieved this. My mentor at this internship has promised to help me in the future. I am planning on continuing the projects I’m currently working on even after I’m done here.

It is very important for students like me to prepare and get ahead of the game and do internships as early as possible. They need to have a general sense of what is out there and should mold themselves accordingly.

From my experience at this internship, I realized that in order to work in a team on big projects, it is very important to have basic communication skills. The sooner you get exposed to a work environment, the better the chances of developing such skills.

Ifath Sayed

Ifath Sayed
School: Northwestern University in Qatar
Major: Journalism
Intern at: Doha Heat podcast, a Ginger Camel Productions program.

At Northwestern, a career services newsletter circulates every week among students. I read about an internship opportunity at the Ginger Camel Productions, a Doha-based production house. I thought to give it a try, and I applied for it. To my surprise, I got the internship.

Once I started working at Ginger Camel, I realized how it goes hand in hand with what I’m studying.

My boss told me that I would be helping out with the production team for shoots, but then I slowly starting getting involved in the Doha Heat podcast. Soon I was offered a chance to be co-host. I officially started hosting in May. I thought I would be leaving this place in six months after my internship ends, but now I am kind of working as a part-time employee.

In the podcast, we invite ordinary people in Qatar who have an interesting story to tell us about themselves.

It’s a startup, and we are a small team, so I feel I’m playing a huge role in running this podcast. I have started loving it so much that I want to see it grow. I do not want to leave. It’s a huge responsibility. I love that.

As an intern, it is very important to communicate with your boss and ask questions. Always communicate your ideas, because it might help you improve them.

I wanted to become a print journalist. Podcasts were never my interest. But after this internship, I’ve learned that podcasts are great tools.

Students who want to take up jobs should better start an internship as soon as possible because it helps you explore and learn.

Raja Abbass Khan

Raja Abbas Khan
School: Inseec Alpes-Savoie, France
Major: Graduate studies in Hospitality, Tourism and Event Management
Intern at: St. Regis Hotel, Qatar

As part of my graduate degree, I was supposed to take an internship. I applied to the human resources internship at the hotel.

In the beginning of this internship, I was asked to just observe and learn. I did not get enough chances to do much in the beginning. It was a little frustrating.

However with time, I started getting bigger responsibilities. Payroll was restricted only to staff members, but that has come under me now.

When working as an intern, you should know that the experience you are getting is more important than money. Many students think that internships are a waste of time. But my experience here as an intern proves that they are not. You are laying a foundation for yourself. This is the first step. It’s very important to take internships very seriously.

Doing an internship can teach you to make things happen.

Fazail Ahmed

Fazail Ahmed
School: Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar
Major: Business Administration
Intern at: Siemens Qatar

I am currently interning at the risk and internal control department at Siemens Qatar.

It’s been three weeks since I started this internship, and I already feel I know a few things about working in the real professional world. You can’t learn any of this in a classroom. When you are interning somewhere, you realize you have bigger responsibilities than just earning an A in a class.

Currently, as an intern, I am planning on switching departments at Siemens so I can explore my interests and learn new things.

I think students should have an online platform to apply for internships in Qatar. The reason why many students are not interning is because they don’t know what opportunities they have.

Shakeeb Asrar

Shakeeb Asrar
School: Northwestern University in Qatar
Major: Journalism
Intern at: Al Jazeera English

My current supervisor at Al Jazeera, Mohammed El Hadaad, spoke at Northwestern’s Big Data Conference 2014. Since I am interested in big data and interactive journalism, Professor Mary Dedinsky, our journalism director, asked me to follow up with Hadaad about the internship. I contacted him last summer, but the internship didn’t work out, so I did it this summer. I did it for one month, from around mid-May to the end of June.

My main task as an intern at Al Jazeera Interactive is to design infographics to tell stories visually. There are different ways to go about it. Mostly, a story comes to our department with lots of data or numbers. We study it and try to present it visually or through interactive tools. It’s more than just making graphics for the given story. We have to sit with the reporter and discuss different angles of the story and decide the best way to narrate it.

We also get story ideas pitched from anyone at Al Jazeera, or I can pitch my own idea, too. If it is relevant and important, we do a lot of research on it, gather the information and then present it visually. You can see some of the stories I have published here.

I have learned how to use some new professional designing tools for interactive journalism. I have also realized that interactive journalism is much more than just infographics. I have always been interested in graphic design and data visualization, but through this internship I have seen how interactive journalism encompasses different skills. I am more passionate to follow it in future than before.

I think internships really help you understand the real world. You might have been learning one thing at your college, never realizing that its application in the real world can be completely different. Internships are an opportunity to see what the field you have chosen may look like in the real world. They help you decide if you want that particular kind of job in the future or not.

Eman Fituri

Eman Fituri
Director of Educational Initiatives
Qatar Computer Research Institute

In my opinion, internships help expose students to professional life. They get to explore a lot.

Students do have projects in class, but working on projects at an internship in an organization gives them a real-life work experience. It’s very important to have an internship before you graduate. It improves your chances of getting a job. You will have a reference letter that’s from someone other than your professors. Research interns end up having publications that will help boost their CVs.

An internship is a valuable asset. Even if it doesn’t have a stipend, I would still advise students to do as many internships as possible before they graduate and step into the real world.

Lakisha Tillman

LaKisha Tillman
Students and Residential life Manager
Northwestern University in Qatar.

Internships help students work in professional environments and learn different skills. They also help students learn how to work with other people and be prepared for any competitive environment.

Once a student is done with an internship, it is always advisable to keep in touch with their colleagues and to never burn bridges.

We always teach our students to learn to manage managers. This helps them develop good communication skills with their bosses during an internship, and a go-getter attitude.

If you are looking to be employed, it is very important to get internship experiences in at least three different places. You will explore your passion for a career through an internship.
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