Centered on my course, I learned a lot of things during my internship as a material engineer at a business in the United Kingdom (Mechanical engineering). During the internship, I had the chance to highlight and display everything I had learned at university as part of my course. As an intern in material engineering, a branch of mechanical engineering, I was able to apply the technological skills I learned in the classroom to real-world work in the business. My work requires a wide range of analytical and empirical knowledge and experience. Firstly, I was able to apply scientific practical skills in handling all concepts in the job that required use of practical knowledge in design, discovery, and construction of solids and new materials. This skill was coupled with manipulation which played a key role in ensuring am updated with all designs and metallurgy. Secondly, I was able to exercise problem solving skills especially when confronted with a number of challenges in my job as an engineer. I applied such skills in analysis of materials or when my seniors were unable to come up with an engineering solution for a number of cases in material science. This involved solving problems in other related fields such chemical engineering, aerospace, electrical, and civil. Also, the technical skills that I learnt in university more so scientific research helped in keep updated with the new designs, study of materials at atomic level, and the use of computers to replicate and analyze characteristics of materials and their components (Laguador 10). While in university I was taught how to integrate, study, and analyze traditional, modern, and 3D materials. As a result this concept helped me in my job to be able to cope up with the dynamics in material engineering. Finally, the technical skills that I learnt boosted my critical thinking potentialities during my internship. I was able to link up all that was required of me as a material engineer and give efficient output as per the objectives of the company.
However, I noticed a number of difference on what is like being a student and a working engineer. To begin with, I noticed that being a student I was not exposed to more practical and real life skills on mechanical engineering. So when in internship, I was able to diversify my knowledge beyond mechanical engineering to fields such material, chemical, and aerospace engineering. This was the greatest achievement since I was fully on the practical skills and application. This was contrary to when I was a student since I could take more of the time in theoretical approaches in class and less in the field. Furthermore, in a working environment I was able to meet many people who exchanged with me concepts and skill in vast fields that I was limited at. This involved current theories and recent technological edge that is in job market globally. Hence, I was able to develop competitive advantage over those who do not practice cooperative training. In schools, the only people I could interact with were my colleagues and the instructors. As a result, schools was not giving me chance to grow fully as per the current dynamics in the market. This is because concepts such as engineering undergo scientific revolution and innovations all the time. In this regard, internship helped unravel and add more of the skills that I needed in my profession than at school. Working as an engineering was also different from being a student in that it entails more of self-discipline and working in line with the set rules and objectives of the company as universally expected while in school, there were issues such as ethics and code of conduct. Tasks were to be assigned and completed based on my job description as an engineer, while as a student I was studying based on the course outline. As a result, working as an engineer was the best exposure I got than being a student.
Being an international student, I noted a number of changes or intercultural difference with the colleagues I were with in internship. These intercultural differences helped me grow up and it also expanded my professional network. These differences included the nature of food they ate, the Americans and the Chines had completely varied tastes and preferences. The cultural gap was also seen in the language they spoke which varied depending on the nationality of the students. Most of the students I encountered were from China who spoke Chines, Japan who spoke Japanese, and Africans. All these group of students exhibited diverse cultures that at one point was hard to understand others especially those students who were not good in English. Another difference was on the way they dressed, most of the students dressed depending on their cultural dimension and origin. This was also different from one student to the other. Other changes were in terms of the religion that one subscribed to. Most of the internees were Christians, Islamic, and others Hindus. As a results, the cultural aspects was dictated by changes in other variables that was linked to the nationality of my colleagues (Laguador 16).
Internship has helped me grow professionally in a number of ways. To begin with, it has enabled me have a wide network of potential persons whom I can contact to have a job in within my profession. This acts as a cornerstone especially in creating a network with potential employers and explore a myriad career options. In this regard, the diverse group of colleague and my seniors from all other parts of the world is a great resource towards building my profession. Also, I have managed to earn more practical skills in my area of specialization. This includes professional growth, cooperative training, and mentorship which have expanded and enriched me. Additionally, the training helps in future recruitment of employees by reducing the cost of vetting and hiring of skilled and motivated employees. This means that, the students are shaped and initiated into the field and hence the experience attained helps them in their future employment. Furthermore, the students are able to test their classroom knowledge (theory) during work term and this has enabled me know how I will behave as an engineer when employed permanently in the future. It has further helped me equip myself with all that it needs to be an engineer in my professional duties. This involves the working ethics, challenges encountered, and modern developments in mechanical engineering. The knowledge on the challenges expected or experienced has shape my attitude and efficiency in my profession and therefore when given chance to work, I will handle it objectively. In this view, internship has also helped me develop exceptional professional skills that are vital in my field. These skills include research and analysis, which were the core competency skills that I were mandatory for me to exhibit during my internship period in material science. This emanates from the need of the modern age which requires all employees in their various professions to portray remarkable research skills. These demand aids in the bringing change, progress, and new improved skills in the industry. Another skill is that of multicultural awareness and proper communication skills which enabled me to work as a team with diverse workforce, this is what my profession entails (Laguador 15).
Finally, the internship has greatly impacted my future academics and carrier objectives in a number ways. For instance, it has enabled me learn more skills and concepts that were abstract through my training as a student in my career. This will aid in my academic performance in the course. In addition that, I have been able to create a network of people especially with my co-workers at the internship. This has improved my career objective since am able to match the practical experience with the theoretical concepts thought in class (Laguador 12). Also, I have learnt the skills needed in the modern market in my career. This is a prerequisite for progress and proper credential development in my field. Furthermore, I have gained the confidence in my course especially after being told my job description coupled with roles and engineering code of ethics. As a result, I have attained multiple benefits that will enhance my academic and career growth.
Laguador, Jake M. “Engineering Students’ Academic and on-the-Job Training Performance Appraisal Analysis.” International Journal of e-Education, e-Business, e-Management and e-Learning 3.4 (2013): 301.