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Is it worth doing an unpaid internship?

Understand how this modality works and if it can (or not) help your career. Many students who are eager to start their professional life at some point consider the possibility of an internship, even if it is an unpaid internship . The big question is: is it worth it? After all, although it is a voluntary internship, the student will need to dedicate a few hours of his day and a lot of energy to gain confidence and not damage his image.

We know that each case is a case, however, if you are facing this question right now, here we have some information that can clarify some questions and help you make the best decision. Come on?

Is unpaid internship allowed by law?

The unpaid internship is permitted by law when it is part of the course curriculum. In other words, in order to graduate, the student must prove that he has completed certain hours of internship during graduation.

That is, if you are studying an undergraduate degree that does not require you to complete internship hours, the law does not allow you to do an unpaid internship.

In this situation, what you can look for is some kind of volunteer work, which is not defined as an internship, where you can put into practice what you learn in the classroom.

In which areas is unpaid internship most common?

Several courses require an internship to deliver the diploma to the student. Among them, it is common that there is unpaid internship in these areas:

  • degree (in several areas such as letters, mathematics, physics, etc.);
  • management;
  • right;
  • drugstore;
  • nutrition;
  • physiotherapy;
  • nursing.

How it works?

The unpaid internship or mandatory internship must be done in your area of ​​training and your activities must be related to your area of ​​study and be carried out under the supervision of a teacher or professionals in the area.

In general, the unpaid internship basically follows the same rules as the paid internship. That is, the internship contract must not exceed 6 hours per day or 30 hours per week of work and must have a maximum duration of 2 years.

At the end of the contract or every six months, your performance must be evaluated in a report that details your performance in the proposed functions. This report must be signed by the contracting company or institution and by the educational institution.

Is it worth doing?

The answer is yes, it is worth doing an internship, even if it is mandatory and unpaid. And the answer is also yes for those who are not required to complete internship hours to graduate and consider the possibility of doing voluntary work in their area of ​​training.

That’s because, even if you don’t receive anything financially, professional experience offers many gains for your career. Check out the main ones below.

Practice experience

You must already know that getting a job in your field without having experience is quite a challenge, right? Here is one of the biggest benefits of unpaid internship or volunteer work. You start working in your area, in a practical way, and starting your career and professional experience.

Upgrade to the curriculum

The fact that you carry out an internship and are well evaluated for the functions performed during this period counts points for the resume and is an excellent topic to open your “ professional experience ”. The same goes for volunteer work, which can also be detailed on the resume.

professional supervision

In the unpaid internship, your duties are obligatorily supervised by professionals in the area. That is, it is the best of all worlds for your practical learning. You have the opportunity to work and learn from those who already have experience and possibly have been through what you are going through right now.

Behavioral skills

Another clear advantage of the internship or volunteer work is that it offers the opportunity for you to develop behavioral skills that are rarely developed in the educational institution. Focus on results, flexibility, ability to adapt, work under pressure and communicate with professionals from different areas are some of them.


In professional life, your network of contacts is as important as a good resume and a good education. The internship is an excellent opportunity to start building your professional network, meeting people in your field, showing that you are competent and reliable and keeping in touch with them even after you leave the company.

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