While all other London ‘O’ Level and ‘A’ Level students were either holidaying or focused on their studies, some of the students of Colombo School of Arts and Sciences (CSA) were working as interns at various offices in Colombo. This was part of the CSA Internship Programme which is offered by CSA for their students. This August three students worked as interns at a legal firm, global hotel chain and at a prestigious private sector organisation. When students leave CSA they will know what to expect in a working environment. This is through the unique internships given by CSA to equip students to face the demands and challenges of today’s work environment. Most of the students at CSA have already got the taste of the corporate world. Some who have opted for an internship involving community work are mentally and emotionally prepared for careers in clinical psychology and sociology. A few students who wish to pursue hospitality, travel and tourism have got opportunities to intern at five star hotels in Colombo. For a student who had taken up Business Studies for four years and decided on a Business Management degree, an internship at a factory was the perfect opportunity to experience firsthand the workings of the different functional departments and view the internal controls and procedures required to manage the business from a practical point of view. This student plans to climb the corporate ladder high and cannot wait any longer to place his foot on the bottom rung of this long ladder before he leaves school. CSA Principal Shaleeka Jayalath explained about the CSA Internship Programme of the school, stating that all three students received a great opportunity and exposure at these three organisations. Jayalath showed the two sides to the internship programme by stating the following: “The students received a realistic picture of what the industry is actually like during their internship and got an opportunity to review the careers they wish to pursue. It took away any false notions or romantic views about the jobs and more importantly it prepared them for employment. Internships give a student the opportunity to apply what they have learnt. This really brings the lesson home.” CSA Internships will allow students to see whether or not a career fits with their passion and interest. Sometimes the internship will foster the conclusion that the chosen career path is not what they had expected. However, in many cases, it can lead to a greater understanding of the field and assist with the development of skills marketable for their chosen career path. “We have seen this in the case of more than one student,” Jayalath added. “A student who thought that aviation might be his chosen career path opted against it after spending time with Wing Commanders and other industry professionals. On the other hand, a student who was unsure of the suitability of a legal career for her was sufficiently convinced to undertake an LLB after interning with a legal firm in Colombo. This student in particular has been passionate about doing law and becoming a lawyer one day. So when the school arranged her internship programme at one of the most prestigious law firms of the country, she took the opportunity with both hands. She experienced firsthand what takes place in legal consulting rooms and added on to the knowledge acquired at the class room.” According to the school, yet another student has a dream of becoming a chef, and perhaps travelling the world, experiencing new cultures and gaining a rich exposure to life. CSA will be arranging an internship at an international hotel chain in Colombo for this student. Preparing for an internship at CSA also helps students in many ways. Students have to learn how to prepare a resume and face an interview. They learn the discipline of reporting to a job on time and learn to take responsibility for and follow through on tasks assigned to them. In other words, the CSA Internship helps them mature. They learn while still at CSA what is expected of them when they finally complete their studies and have to find their own way in the world. Feedback from employers at the end of the internship also adds to the learning so that by the time students at CSA leave school, they are more confident and more ready to face challenges. The school is already in discussions with several organisations to arrange for internships during the next term.