Internships enhance ESL learning for Dublin students
SEDA, an English language school based in Dublin, Ireland, has started its own internship programme as an additional service to its students. The programme, which was launched in November last year, allows international students to get work experience in Irish companies within various sectors of the economy – from information technology to the hotel industry. Some 40 learners have signed up to take part in the programme so far, with the majority of them already working. Already 27 students have been placed with Irish IT, logistics, distribution, marketing, hospitality and catering companies.
One of the successful candidates is Andre Gonzaga, an IT expert from Brazil, who has recently completed his internship in a Dublin-based company called E-Celtic where he was employed in setting up Linux servers. “I like working here very much because I am doing something in my area and learning English at the same time,” he said. “The job is easy because I did the same thing at home. But the work culture here is different and it is good to get to know it. I also learned some new techniques which I have never used before. It’s been a great experience!”
E-Celtic employs about 10 people in its Dublin office. It also has a development centre in India and a sales operation in London. The company’s main business is in search engine optimisation, digital marketing and application development. Its director Brian Martin said E-Celtic regularly took on interns: “We’re a rapidly growing company so we always need people to come on board. Internships are good because they give people a training period and then they can get a full-time role with the company. We’ve had a couple of people like that just recently. They started out as interns for a few months, but we were very impressed with them and offered them full time positions”.
Speaking of the SEDA student Andre Gonzaga, Martin said: “Andre’s got great expertise and so he can do things quite quickly. He’s been a really good help to us since he joined. So far he’s doing really well and we’ve got more projects for him. He’s a great guy!”
He added that since joining E-Celtic Andre’s English improved as he got more confidence: “I think it’s the main thing about learning any language: you need to be confident to speak it. Andre is working in a real environment and none of us here speak Portuguese, so he has no choice but to speak English”.
Another student, Elicio Pereira, was able to get an internship in the Dublin offices of global logistics company Kuehne + Nagel and said the placement was “like a dream come true”.
Work placements through SEDA’s internship programme are unpaid and generally last for 4 to 6 weeks. Students can apply for opportunities in IT, business administration, marketing, advertising, customer service and catering, tourism, architecture and others. Most positions are for learners with intermediate or higher levels of English, though some opportunities are also available for beginners.
Viktor Posudnevsky is a freelance journalist based in Dublin, Ireland. He edits SEDA News, Ireland’s first newspaper for international students. He also has a blog: http://thethreedots.wordpress.com/