AskDefine | Define intern

Dictionary Definition

intern n : an advanced student or graduate in medicine gaining supervised practical experience (`houseman' is a British term) [syn: interne, houseman, medical intern]


1 deprive of freedom; "During WWII, Japanese were interned in camps in the West"
2 work as an intern; "The toung doctor is interning at the Medical Center this year"

User Contributed Dictionary



  • (US) IPA: /ˈɪnˌtərn/
  • (US) IPA: /ɪnˈtərn/


  1. a student who works (often without pay) in order to gain experience in their chosen field
  2. a recently graduated medical student working in a hospital as a final part of their medical training


a student who works in order to gain experience in their chosen field
medical student working in a hospital

Derived terms

Related terms


  1. to work as an intern
    • I'll be interning at Universal Studios this summer!
  1. to imprison somebody, usually without trial
    • The government interned thousands of Japanese-Americans during World War II.


to work as an intern (intransitive)
to imprison (transitive)

Derived terms



lang=fr, lang=la



  1. internal





  1. internal, something of no relevance for outsiders





Related terms

Extensive Definition

An intern or stagiaire is one who works in a temporary position with an emphasis on on-the-job training rather than merely employment, making it similar to an apprenticeship. Interns are usually college or university students, but they can also be high school students or post graduate adults seeking skills for a new career. Student internships provide opportunities for students to gain experience in their field, determine if they have an interest in a particular career, create a network of contacts, or gain school credit. Internships provide the employers with cheap or free labour for (typically) low-level tasks, and also the prospect of interns returning to the company after completing their education and requiring little or no training.
An internship may be either paid, unpaid or partially paid (in the form of a stipend). Paid internships are most common in the medical, science, engineering, law, business (especially accounting and finance), technology and advertising fields. Internships in not-for-profit organizations such as charities and think tanks are often unpaid, volunteer positions. Internships may be part-time or full-time; typically they are part-time during the university year and full-time in the summer, and they typically last 6-12 weeks, but can be shorter or longer. The act of job shadowing may also constitute as interning.
Internship positions are available from businesses, government departments, non-profit groups and organizations. Due to strict labor laws, European internships, though mostly unpaid, are popular among non-Europeans to gain international exposure on one's resume and for foreign language improvement.

Types of internships

An intern type means doing internship in an organization or in specific subject of study. Internships exist in various industries and settings. Here are two primary types of internships that exist in the United States.
  1. Work experience internship: Most often this will be in the second or third year of the school period. The placement can be from 2 months to sometimes even one full school year. During this period the student is supposed to use the things he/she has learned in school and put it in practice. This way the student gets work experience in their field of study. The gained experience will be helpful to finish up the last year of the study.
  2. Research internship (graduation) or dissertation internship: This is mostly done by students that are in their last year. With this kind of internship a student does research for a particular company. The company can have something that they feel like they need to improve, or the student can choose a topic within the company themselves. The results of the research study will be put in a report and often will have to be presented.

Fee-based internship programs

An intern type can be an internship in a organization or in specific subject of study. Some companies will find and place students in internships for a fee. What is included in fee-based programs vary by company. Overall, the advantages are that they provide internship placement at a reputable company, provide controlled housing in a new city, mentorship and support throughout the summer, networking, weekend activities in some programs, academic credit and other benefits. Disadvantages to fee-based programs include the restriction of internship opportunities to wealthy students who can afford paying thousands of dollars to work for little or no wages, while at the same time improving their chances of professional work after graduation.

International student internships

Many students do internships in a different country to get international experience and learn an extra language. The meaning of an internship can be different around the globe.


At Spanish universities it is not common to do an internship during the education period. The real working experiment for them starts when they are done with their study. However, Spanish companies are getting more used to having students doing an internship at their company nowadays. Mostly these are international students from other European countries. Spain is a popular country for students to go to for a short period of time to do an internship. A lot of times students want to learn Spanish, and this is a perfect opportunity for them to do so. Another reason to go to Spain for an internship could be the opportunity to increase their cultural awareness or to experience working in an international setting. Students found that it is hard to get in contact with most Spanish Businesses. The best way to find a good company to work at will be with the help of a placement organization. Internships in Spain are almost never paid. This because companies have to put time and effort in training the student, and it will always only be for a short period of time.

UK, Canada and Australia

In these countries they have split the types of internship in unpaid or paid. The unpaid internship are mostly the ones that are chosen by students who are either still in school and doing an internship as part of the requirements of school or who have just left school. The purpose of this internships are to get understanding about how work is conducted in the English-speaking world and to improve one's English. Another plus is to learn about work ethic and to experience cultural diversity. The paid internship is mostly for people that want to come to these countries to improve their English. The job for them is not something that they are specialized in, but see it as something that will give them enough money to support their living in these countries.


In Germany there are different kinds of internships as well. As in most other countries, most students take their internship during the third or fourth year of their degree. One of the biggest difference to other countries is that most internships are paid. The average pay is 400€ a month. In some fields of study it is common to write the final thesis in a company. Another type of internship has emerged, the post graduation internship. The high unemployment in Germany during the last years, has made it hard for people to find the right job, especially for people that have just graduated and lack work experience. Because of this, many offer to do an internship in their favorite company and earn very little, in the hope of scoring a good contract in the future.


At the French universities it is also most common to do an internship, in France called stage, during the third or fourth year of your studies. The duration of the internships varies from 2 to 6 months, but very seldom longer than that. In France it is also becoming more popular to do an internship after one is finished studying. Mostly for student that did not get the chance to do an internship during their study career, and try to gain some working experience this way. Most times with the thought of getting hired after the internship period. An internship in France is also popular for international students. The number one reason to do an internship in France is to learn the language. A lot of French companies seem to be open to students from different countries. It is a big plus for companies to have employees who speak multiple languages.


In the Netherlands it is also common to do an internship during college. Just like in France it is called stage. Students will go intern for approximately 5 months. Companies are not obligated to pay the student, so sometimes small companies won't pay anything. The normal stage compensation rate is €200.


It is not seen as appropriate to work without pay unless it is done as part of a work-trial were a person is tested by the authorities as part of plan to get the individual back into the workspace. The company is then compensated and the intern gets welfare during this period normally lasting about three months. The Trade Unions monitor this area very thorough so an intern cannot result in the lost of a paid job.
High school students can choose to participate in a one day working experience called "Operation Dagsvaerk" (Day’s Work)About Operation Dagsvaerk - in Englishstarted 1985 where they work for free for a firm, for welfare organizations or as babysitters or stay in school and receive normal education. The pay then goes to a - sometime controversial - chosen project in a third world country. It is only a minor fraction of Danish students which are participating in this event because it is not accepted to support third world countries because most people see this as something the population has already paid for over the taxes. Most students stay in school. Due to a recent agreement with the Danish ministry of education the student are no longer considered to be truant during this day.
A new system for qualifying for higher education imposed by the department of education do punish those students who takes a period off to work for charity Nyt kvote 2 system fjerner motivation fra unge frivillige (New system removes motivation from youth volunteers), by Morten Münster, Metroxpress, May 13 2008.

See also


Further reading

  • The Successful Internship: Transformation and Empowerment in Experiential Learning by H. Frederick Sweitzer, Mary A. King
  • Internship Success, Marianne Ehrlich Green

External links

intern in German: Praktikum
intern in French: Stage
intern in Italian: Stage
intern in Hebrew: מתמחה
intern in Dutch: Stage
intern in Japanese: インターンシップ
intern in Portuguese: Estágio (treinamento profissional)
intern in Russian: Производственная практика
intern in Swedish: Laboration
intern in Turkish: Staj

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Doctor of Medicine, GP, MD, addressee, allopath, allopathist, apprentice teacher, artist-in-residence, attending physician, bastille, bolt in, bosom, cast in prison, center, clap in jail, clap up, confine, constrain, core, coroner, country doctor, croaker, deepest recesses, denizen, doc, doctor, dweller, family doctor, gaol, general practitioner, graduate assistant, habitant, heart, heart of hearts, hold captive, hold in captivity, hold prisoner, house detective, house physician, immure, imprison, incarcerate, incumbent, inhabitant, inhabiter, inmate, inner, inner landscape, inner life, inner man, inner nature, inner recess, inner self, inpatient, inside, interior, interior man, internal, intrados, inward, jail, jug, leech, live-in maid, lock in, lock up, locum tenens, medical attendant, medical examiner, medical man, medical practitioner, medico, monitor, occupant, occupier, paraprofessional, penetralia, physician, physician in ordinary, practice teacher, praepostor, prefect, prison, proctor, pupil teacher, quod, recesses, residencer, resident, resident physician, residentiary, resider, sawbones, secret place, secret places, sojourner, soul, student assistant, teaching assistant, teaching fellow, teaching intern, tenant, throw into jail, treat, vital center, vitals
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