09/05/2009 10:57 PM | By Amelia Naidoo, Notes Editor
While students abroad are struggling to find paid internships, and even pay for the privilege of working in certain companies, students in the UAE have found that paid work is still to be found.
Most university counsellors said their students made up to Dh4,000 per month this summer, though a handful were willing to forego payment for a chance to work in a prestigious company.
American University in Dubai (AUD) career services manager Sue Hunter said salaries varied from zero to Dh4,000. She said about one quarter of AUD internship seekers opted for unpaid internships at first-rate companies.
"From our experience students earn on average Dh2,500 a month," said Dr UmmeSalma Mujtaba, educational development officer at Heriot-Watt's Dubai campus. She said unpaid internships are always available, with many students opting for them this year. "Whether paid or unpaid, we encourage students to undertake internships as we believe they add value to their learning experience, provide them with a networking opportunity and expose them to a real working environment."
Interns who were part of the SS Lootah Group's Mustakbali (Arabic for 'my future') Emiratisation programme earned between Dh2,000 and Dh4,000 as a stipend said community programme manager Fatima Saeed Lootah.
Lootah, who oversaw and mentored the interns, said students mainly applied to gain work experience. "They don't expect to get paid and we've never heard any comments about payment."
Among those students who see more value in pursuing internships with well-known companies is American University of Sharjah mass communication major Nadia Al Samsam. This summer Nadia worked for six weeks at BMW Group Middle East.
"Money doesn't really matter because the things I'm learning here I'm going to take to the outside world with me and just having the name BMW on my CV is worth more than any money I could get," she said.
"There is no stipend as we feel the experience for the student is invaluable. It's an opportunity for them to learn before they earn," said BMW Group Middle East corporate communications manager Leanne Blanckenberg.
Zayed University student Hawra Ghanim secured an internship with the SS Lootah Group.