Internships Boost Qatar University Students’ Skills – Education Feature

Doha, November 12 (QNA) – Internships and externships are growing in importance at Qatar University (QU) as part of the institution’s commitment to ensure students gain practical experience along with theory learned in classrooms and boost their skills.
 The aim is to give students an insight into various disciplines of the professional world and the opportunity to be mentored by experts during the training process, QU said.
 ‘Learning by doing’ is the underlining principle behind the promotion of internship and externship programmes to QU students. While internships involve students spending an intensive period of work and training at an organization, often as a summer placement, an externship allows the student to continue his/her university study and attend the mentoring organization on a regular basis for on-the-job training.
 QU Acting Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr Mazen Hasna said, “Through these placements, students also gain an invaluable opportunity to acquire and improve on skills in interacting with people from different cultures, and gaining important qualities of responsibility, self-esteem, independence, leadership and decision-making.”
 A couple of students who did internship said the experience gave them insights into the legal system of three environments that will serve to enhance their worldview and strengthen their personal and academic profiles.
 College of Law (LAWC) senior student Ameena Al Mannai and sophomore Maryam Al Kaabi spent the summer at prestigious law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) undergoing the first two weeks of expert legal training at BLP’s Abu Dhabi office and the remaining two weeks in its London office.
 “Having had this training, I am more confident of my abilities to move forward to be a successful student in preparation for entering the legal world,” said Ameena.
 “This was a unique opportunity that gave me a wide range of information and skills that will be useful in whatever career I choose,” said Maryam.
 Ruba Yousif who interned at Clyde and Co while Marwa Ali Bamatraf who experienced on-site training at a number of organizations also shared positive feedback.
 College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) student Rahma Abu Swai did her summer internship in Germany under the International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience (IAESTE) programme.
At the University of Oldenburg, Rahma worked with the Aquatic Ecology group and assisted PhD students in a research project on vector-borne diseases throughout Europe.
 “This experience added a whole new meaning to my life. It changed me into a more qualified scientist and I know it will do the same for other students,” said Rahma.
 Another CAS student Mohammed Abdul Quadir Abdul Hakim spent his summer at the University of Tokyo in the department of ocean technology, policy, and environment in the Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, where he worked on ocean modelling under the supervision of Prof Takuji Waseda Sensei.
 “I would say that this training was not only a motivation to eventually pursue a Master’s, but it also opened many unknown doors which are very essential for my career. I would like to encourage more students to attend summer internship programmes,” said Abdul Quadir.
 The College played host to two students from Austria and Poland under the annual IAESTE programme – one student at the Biological and Environmental Sciences Department; the other under a co-operative effort between the Health Sciences Department and Hamad Medical Corporation.
 CAS Dean of Student Affairs Wesam Madhoun said, “The College is currently developing two programmes to send more students broad during the midyear break and summer 2013.”
 Also participating in the IAESTE programme were five College of Engineering (CENG) students who spent the summer at companies in Germany and UK to enhance their technical development and gain ‘hands-on’ training.
 In this programme, seven international students from Germany, Turkey, UK and Belgium spent the summer in Qatar as part of a collaborative effort between CENG and QAPCO, RasGas and Qatar Mobility Innovations Center (QMIC).
 College of Pharmacy (CPH) MSc student Ms Iman Abdelaziz recently returned from a successful two-month summer research internship at the University of Alberta (UofA) in Canada. The second-year Master’s student was formally invited to work at UofA’s highly-advanced research laboratory under the mentorship of Dr Gary Lopaschuk, Dr Larry Fliegel and a research team that comprised MSc, PhD and post-doctoral fellowship students.
CPH Associate Dean of Research and  Graduate Studies Dr Mohamed Izham Ibrahim said, “We anticipate sending more MSc students to participate in these internships and externships as we are not only growing the future pharmacy leaders of Qatar but also advancing our community service efforts in preparing professionals and experts to take their place in the community and provide its members with optimum healthcare in line with the goals of the National Health Strategy.”
 QU’s annual Sponsorship and  Internship Day in October, which saw record participation of 50 leading companies across Qatar, highlights the momentum of the internship/externship programme.
 The event organized by QU Career Services Center provided the channel of communication wherein companies were able to get a better perspective on students’ interests and concerns, and students were updated on the needs and requirements of the labour market, new and emerging trends in the various sectors, and advised on the expectations of prospective employers.
 Students had the opportunity to talk to representatives from the oil and gas sector, banking and finance, academia, ICT, hospitality, security forces, healthcare, government, infrastructure and construction, aviation, and telecommunications.
 Career Services Center Director Haya Al Attiyah said, “This event gives students a good look into career possibilities in Qatar. It also makes them aware of how training and on-site placements can prepare them for the world of work as well as strengthen their skills and competencies which will add value to their resumes.
 “Employers are keen to hire students who have demonstrated a wider vision for their future than just getting a degree. They want to know that they are employing someone who is invested in his/her career and who has made the extra effort to gain more knowledge and experience.”
 Commenting on the importance of internships for students, third-year social work student Amani Al Yafei said, “They are important to gain practical skills outside of the classroom, learning what a job is really like and improving your leadership skills.”
 These internships also give students the opportunity to share information about their country, history and culture with students and faculty from the overseas hosting organizations. At the end of her internship in Germany, Rahma was invited to give a presentation on Qatar which she said opened a better understanding of the country, its accomplishments and progress. (QNA)

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