What does internship mean
Voluntary internship - a chance for your career
The classic among internships is the so-called voluntary internship. If your decision to get a little practical experience is based entirely on your own motivation and you are not bound by certain requirements by study and examination regulations, your activity will be legally classified as voluntary.
In contrast to the compulsory internship, in this case you are a normal employee and not primarily a student. This results in certain rights and obligations for you, which we would like to introduce to you below.
He who seeks finds
The big advantage of the voluntary internship is that you are not bound by specific times and guidelines at your university. You can choose when you want to start your internship yourself and you are not under pressure if the companies take their time to respond to your application.
That means you can do enough research and find out about future employers. Do not stress yourself, but rather invest more energy in the individualization of the individual applications.
On the other hand, no deadline also means that you also have to create space yourself for your future internship. Make sure you know beforehand what you can put aside for the internship: Can you do homework and seminar work on the weekend when you can otherwise be found at work during the semester break? Another option is of course that you take a whole semester for an internship and register a semester on leave at the university. Often, however, this is not necessary, many companies are now flexible enough and allow you to work hours during which you do not miss important lectures.
Less regulations - more thinking ahead
As already mentioned, as a voluntary intern you are legally an employee or trainee. This means that, in contrast to the compulsory internship, you have certain labor rights, such as a certain number of paid vacation days. In the end, your internship contract determines remuneration, vacation and the like, this should definitely be available to you in writing and negotiated individually with the company. You are also entitled to an internship certificate.
Be careful with well-paid internships: If you earn more than 400 euros per month and thus exceed the mini-job limit, you are obliged to pay into the pension insurance. In general, you are exempt from health, unemployment and long-term care insurance as long as you have not exceeded the 25-year limit as a student and you do the internship, e.g. during the semester break.
When and how you do the voluntary internship also affects financing such as student loans. An internship during the semester break does not affect your entitlement to student loans, but during the lecture period you are not eligible for funding for the duration of the internship. You shouldn't ignore this when planning.
Even if no internship report awaits you at the end, you should take the time to review what you have experienced. Not only your résumé needs an update, but also your self-assessment. Have certain strengths emerged? What did you find particularly difficult and what can you continue to use for your studies? If you start thinking about such things after your internship, your next job search will be much easier.
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