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28 / 05 / 2007

WORK EXPERIENCE vs. INTERNSHIP: meaning and examples

Good morning. I hope you had a nice weekend.

Last Saturday at the Ziggurat Breakfast Club, the topic of Internships (US English) or Work Experience (UK English) came up. 

Today's expression is: Work Experience

Meaning: a period of time that a young person, especially a student, spends working in a company as a form of training. Sometimes is it paid, and sometimes it is not.

The most logical translation for this expression into Spanish would be prácticas

In standard US English, speakers generally use the word Internship. In the US, work experience refers to the experience and skills that you gain from working (whether it be a real job, or an internship). This subtle difference can sometimes cause confusion.

Example 1:
Before getting his first job, he did work experience in a major multinational company. They didn't pay him much, but he got a lot of experience from it, which allowed him to get his first real job.

Example 2:
George: Tony. I was wonderin' if you could offer my oldest daughter an internship at Downing Street before you leave office. I want her to run for senator, but she has no experience.
Tony: problem. I will talk to my men and make sure they organise a work experience programme for her this summer. 
George: No, Tony...she doesn't have any experience. That's why I want her to do an internship  
Tony: Yes...I know George...but in England we call an intern-...oh forget it. Fine. I'll set up the internship
George: Thanks Tony. You're a swell guy.

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Have a good day.