In recent years there has been a marked fall in the number of students engaging with India via summer and semester programmes. What we see is a greater interest among students in internship programmes. Internship programmes are a useful way for students to experience a different work environment and culture leading to academic, personal and professional growth. Finding internship opportunities in India can be quite stressful given the diversity of experiences, quality of the same and goals of various stakeholders involved. In this kind of situation, NCI would be a useful resource for member university students looking for opportunities that have been quality checked by a neutral institution. NCI would therefore better serve the students at the member universities by providing and informing them about internship opportunities in India. This will increase our portfolio of offerings for students not only as support to students of South Asia Studies but with successive expansions of all students at member universities. The idea is also to bring India to the forefront when students think of good opportunities abroad.
Our aim is to make the NCI website a one-stop solution for students looking for various kinds of internships in India. At the moment we have looked into opportunities in teacher training and the NGO sector, but we are also looking at options in healthcare, IT and business management.
1. The website will be the repository of opportunities for internships in India. The aim is to have two kinds of internships in place: NCI curated internships: these opportunities will be fewer in number but there will be greater involvement from NCI in terms of standardising the experience and ensuring the quality of the experience and support to the student and the company involved. The idea here is to identify specific companies interested in working with NCI to provide a fully structured internship programme. We could consider thematic foci so as to be more relevant to Nordic member university students. Themes that can be considered include business management, public health, school education, social service, environment, NGO sector etc.
2. General internships: The NCI website can be used to advertise general internship opportunities within Nordic companies operating in India or Indian companies operating in the Nordic region. Companies can submit their announcements and students can search for an internship. NCI will not have a larger role to play here other than that of a matchmaker and provider of basic support as per the need of the student. The understanding here will be between the company concerned and the student, and NCI will have no role here.
The internships will vary from 4 weeks to 18 weeks depending on member university requirements and host company acquiescence. The internships will be unpaid so as to make things easy for the visa. The host company can choose to pay for international travel, boarding and lodging of the student or not. NCI is actively trying to negotiate forms of financial support from the companies being considered. In addition, the students also typically can receive some support for the internship from their home university.
At the moment our biggest success has been in establishing cooperation with Infosys on their InStep Programme. The InStep programme is InStep is a year-round program, that allows students to commence their internship based on the schedule of their academic calendar. InStep interns get to work on dynamic projects ranging from application development to business consulting in practices that include Corporate Planning, Education and Research, Enterprise Solutions, Software Engineering, and Technology Labs. Internship openings are available throughout the year and students can look for opportunities via https://www.infosys.com/instep/internship/projects/Pages/index.aspx. The application process is online but this process can be bypassed by member university students through NCI that can get their applications directly sent to the programme coordinator for Europe. The programme covers the student's complete transport costs including visa fees along with boarding and lodging.
Biome Environmental Solutions is a Bangalore-based design firm focused on ecology, architecture and water. The office’s diverse team includes designers, architects, civil and mechanical engineers and urban planners from various parts of India and abroad. They design and implement real estate developments – residences, institutions and resorts – guided by ecological principles, integrating sound water, energy and land-use thinking into the design along with providing expertise in knowledge services in water management and rainwater harvesting, ecological wastewater treatment and sanitation practices. Biome’s unique capability lies in thinking through the key ecological and social issues in each project. They have extensive working relationships with specialized knowledge experts in bio-diversity, tourism, hydrogeology, and material science, whose contributions we synthesize into a coherent design strategy and plan of action. They can accommodate one intern who has a background in either architecture, engineering or sustainability.
Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy seeks to bring about positive changes in the lives of all people with cerebral palsy through a range of policies and service provisions designed to enhance their individual skills and knowledge and give them opportunities to exercise their constitutional rights and fully participate and contribute to the community and country. This mission reflects adherence to a social model of disability and to international and national rights-based initiatives. This is a very active and vibrant institution which would be ideal for a student training to be a special needs teacher or student of social work.
The Naz Foundation is a Delhi-based organization that has been at the forefront of the battle against Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which discriminates against individuals based on their sexual orientation. The organization was established in 1994 with the primary aim of serving various communities by responding to the issue of HIV/AIDS, raising awareness about prevention, providing care and support to children and people with HIV, and removing stigma and discrimination against them. The Naz foundation is interested in interns who can assist them in advocacy or with caring for and teaching HIV-positive children. They are looking for one intern per year who will stay for a minimum of 4 months.
Kriti Social Initiatives (Kriti) is a not-for-profit organization that started in 2009 and works in the Film Nagar slums in Hyderabad. The Film Nagar slum is a large sum of over 4000 households in the heart of the city. Kriti believes that working with women will help improve the well-being of the entire family, so they work mainly on issues related to livelihoods for women and the education of children. Kriti supports government schools in urban slums with teachers and with infrastructure support. Alongside this Kriti also runs an eCommerce platform for selling items made by the women they train in securing livelihoods. Kriti can accommodate 4 interns per annum as per the student's flexibility. The intern can be part of their ongoing projects in primary education, women empowerment, or making urban slums environmentally sustainable.
International Institute for Housing and Settlements, Bengaluru, works on issues of urbanisation and sustainability. They aim to transform the current nature of urban education as one of the most important drivers for India’s national development and sustainable global future. They do so in two key ways: (a) through undertaking interdisciplinary research and practice to help build new global knowledge; and (b) by training a new generation of urban professionals through the delivery of a set of transformative new degrees in Urban Practice. They can accommodate 2 interns per year to work on their capacity-building projects. This initiative has not yet got final approval on IIHS’s side.
Considered to be the best playschool in Kolkata, Mongrace is an old and well-established school that embodies the teachings of Maria Montessori. Here children receive preschool training in the form of them being in a prepared environment, where the child could perform activities with interest, joy and self-achievement under the guidance of a trained Helper. This is a vibrant space for teacher training students interested in pre-primary students. They have two branches in Kolkata and one in Delhi where they would be open to accommodate interns.
Silver Oaks High School is one of the oldest-run IB schools in India. They have a long association with Linkoping University in terms of hosting their teacher training students for their practice placements and have schools in Hyderabad, Vishakapatnam and Bangalore. Students have had a good experience with the school and the administration is helpful in terms of assisting students with practical things like housing and local transport.
Sri Venkateswara College Delhi has a project with the Ministry of Environment and Forest of the Government of India wherein they work to preserve the villages’ built heritage at Almora, a town nestled near the Himalayas. The Project invites applications for volunteering and internships. Volunteers can be of any age group and vocation and will work from one to three months in areas such as the restoration of village houses, creating means of harvesting water, helping villagers make the town a tourist destination, etc.
We also will work with the Nordic Embassies and the Danish Cultural Institute to include their internship programmes in our portal.
The aim is to continue to build more internship opportunities both curated and non-curated in line with the member universities' interests. That means that we will begin work on identifying the specific needs of each member university vis-a-vis internships in India. We hope that we would be able to tie up with specific departments to meet their student's internship needs so that this initiative stays active. This will also help us in terms of increasing visibility and relevance to our member universities.
We also continue to run our own internship programme.