Do internships prepare Architects for practices?
The general idea behind an internship is to give you an insight into the business side of Architecture, but oftentimes it is far from it.
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In reality, you repeat the exact type of work you did at school: mainly CAD drawing and rendering.
The idea of an internship is to give you practical experience. A diverse set of skills you cannot get from an educational institution. It is not to use you as a drafter and to box you and your creativity into a cad monkey role. So, you are not actually getting that side of the experience that you lack and hope to get.
In most cases, as an intern you will never meet the client, you will not be invited into client meetings, might not be sent on-site and certainly not manage nor even monitor design or construction budgets. Basically, being completely cut out of the actual business is the side of things.
Of course in the times we live in it is a dream of many to work for celebrity firms. And we all do seeking experience and looking to build a reputable portfolio.
Many students compete for the limited spaces available at the big firms, ready to give their all for working for free in the big firms. And even though this is not the experience they actually need, it is the experience they crave for.
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