The term “internship” sounds pretty familiar to everyone here in the U.S., however, this isn’t the case for the students in Syria. In fact, students there don’t have any on-campus career fairs, at least not as far as I know.
I remember when I was studying at the University of Aleppo, a bunch of my friends and myself tried for many years so hard to get an internship at any of the local companies, and sure enough, we told them that we are willing to work for free, we are just trying to figure out how the work environment looks like, and invest the huge amount of energy and enthusiasm that we have; unfortunately, all what we heard back was just negative! Only a few lucky students, that I was among, were able to intern at a company called Syriatel, which perhaps was the only one doing that in the entire city of Aleppo, the second largest city in Syria, absolutely non-paid.
Unsurprisingly, when students graduate, and start looking for jobs, they will be shocked when they see the minimum experience required by companies that are hiring! Jobs need experience, and experience needs jobs; this infinite loop never ends! That’s why internships and Co-Ops are crucial.
Now that I am doing a Co-Op with Motorola Solutions, I can definitely emphasize on how important this experience is, not only for the students, but for the hiring company as well. Because I am not just sitting there doing nothing, in fact, I am making a real important contribution to the company. Moreover, the excitement and enthusiasm that the new interns bring to the company are priceless; in addition, companies can easily find their future champion candidates through programs like that.
We should try hard to make this notion more pervasive in Syria, and maybe as students and interns at large companies here in the U.S, we could find out how those companies are handling those programs, and perhaps they can support us activating them in Syria.