Part 3 of my psychology thread is not so much for newcomers of psychology but for current psychology students. Of course, if you’re interested in knowing the internship opportunities available to psychology students, feel free to read on.
Or if you’re interested, feel free to check out [part 1 about the basics of psychology], as well as [part 2 for the career opportunities available for psychology]. Enjoy! ^^
If you are studying a degree in Malaysia (or anywhere else), chances are at some part of your degree you’ll be required to go for an internship. An internship allows students to gain experience on what it’s like to work in their related field, as well as serves as an opportunity to learn from the experts. Furthermore, it also helps increase the employ-ability of students as they graduate, due to employers increasingly want to see experience in fresh graduates that they hire.
With that said, if you’re a psychology student, what would be your choices for internship? Here are some of my personal opinions, depending on which field you’d like to venture into in the future.
1) I would like to be a clinical psychologist in the future!
Lucky for you, while the field of psychology is still relatively small - but growing - in Malaysia, clinical psychology is one of the more recognized areas of psychology here. There are quite a few certified clinical psychologists in Malaysia, so if you have the contacts, you may consider asking one of them to take you in as an intern. Alternate options include conducting your internship under the wings of a psychiatrist. Although there are differences between the work of psychiatrists and clinical psychologists, both professions are involved in the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. Although you won’t be able to diagnose patients, you’ll still gain valuable experience by observing how experts approach and communicate with their patients.
2) I would like to become a counselor
For students wishing to become counselors, an obvious choice for internships would be at non-governmental organizations (NGO). Such organizations include Mercy Malaysia, Lighthouse Children Welfare Home and many more, all with the goal of providing aid to people of a particular population. Other options include conducting your internship at special education schools, or under school counselors/ the counseling unit, as you’ll gain exposure to tend to the needs to children and/ or students. Like the interns of clinical psychologists, it is unlikely for counseling interns to be able to conduct counseling sessions of their own. However you’ll still have the opportunity to interact and care for the clients, and if they permit, to sit in one of the counseling sessions as well.
3) I would like to be a I/O psychologist
Depending on what you want to experience during your internship, students looking to join the I/O side of psychology may arguably have the most choices when it comes to internship locations. The most common internship position for such students are the HR department of various companies, where they are exposed to recruitment, talent and employee management. Another option is to conduct your internship under leadership training centers, where you’ll have direct contact with the inner workings of the field, as well as exposure to professionally conducted training sessions.
Of course, these are just my own personal opinions.
All in all, the most important part of any internship is to understand what you wish to learn from the internship period. Understand that, and don’t be afraid to ask and take risks, and make the best use of your internship experience.
As a friend once told me,