Internship Program Allows Grade 10s to See the Future

(Story by Grade 10 World of Work Intern Lonneke vandenAkker. Photos by Grade 10 World of Work Interns Linus Kuehl and Ben Kwon.)

Patients at one of Beijing's top international hospitals may have found themselves speaking with a Grade 10 student this week alongside their regular doctors.

Western Academy of Beijing students took part in the World of Work program, a week-long internship opportunity designed to give them a better idea of life in the working world. Placed at more than 50 companies, non-profit organizations, and embassies around China and the rest of the world, the students were able to gain work experience, explore their interests as professionals, and prepare themselves to make choices about their pathways to graduation and a future career. The participants included companies like Microsoft and TrueRun Media, as well as several embassies, hotels, healthcare facilities, and restaurants.

Students find the World of Work program beneficial in different ways. Rebeca Negron worked at Beijing United Family Hospital, following cardiologist Dr. Bai Shuling. For her, the internship allowed her a glimpse into the different positions and routines of the healthcare industry, and she had the chance to learn about treatment of different medical conditions.

"I have learnt a lot about the heart, because that was my specific focus for the week. I met with many patients and got to listen to their stories," she said, noting that she felt challenged and slightly intimidated by the nature of working with heart disease and the high stakes that come with it. "I can see what I would be doing if I were in the doctor's shoes and what types of questions I would be asking. I am really interested in science, and this was a good opportunity to see what I want to do later in life."

For other students, the work experience helped filter out some potential pathways, as students realized that industries they may have had interest in were not the career path they would eventually want to take. One of those students was Martin Arranz.

"I learnt how to behave towards costumers, how to greet them and different manners, such as opening the doors and operating elevators," he said of his time at the Park Hyatt Beijing Hotel. "The hospitality business is really nice, but this week has helped me realize the work I did is not something I want to do later."

The program's benefits go beyond just helping a student identify a future course of study or career path. Employers said the World of Work program is a good opportunity to make connections with future job candidates and offers the future workforce awareness of the skills, knowledge, and characteristics they will need to contribute positively to the industry.

"I think it is very beneficial because the students can get to know what actually happens in the job," said physiotherapist Dr. Jason Tam, who hosted two WAB interns this year. "If you want to get into the medical field, you can feel what it is like, which helps you make a better decision about whether you really want to do it or not. We like to engage with the students, as these types of connections can inspire our interns to come back and work in the field."

The Grade 10 World of Work program is just one of many unique ways WAB students build connections, develop passions, and create opportunities for success in the future. To learn more about the unique learning opportunities available to WAB students, visit our Learn page.