The Value of Internships

Aug 27, 2018 | Posted by the IEW Blog Team


Note: This past summer our Oklahoma office had the pleasure of hosting three college interns who traveled from all over the country to join our team. One of them, Jacob Mauser, reflected on his experiences working as an intern, both abroad and in Oklahoma. We hope you enjoy his thoughts on his experiences. If you know any high school or college students, share this piece with them. It may inspire them to find their own internships next summer.

At the beginning of July two years ago, I loosened the straps on my backpack and, letting it slip to the floor, collapsed into a new bed. It was only three in the afternoon in Pluderhausen, Germany, but I’d been carrying a fair chunk of my life on my back for the better part of two days, and jetlag had hit hard around lunchtime. I closed my eyes and fell into a slumber so deep that I missed dinner that evening and breakfast the next day as well. It was an inauspicious start to my first true solo travel experience, to say the least. In a few days I would begin working at my employer’s factory, helping with small tasks and picking up some German. I had no idea what the future would hold.

Two years later, I now sit in the conference room of IEW’s Bixby office, focusing on product photography and various writing projects. The blinds are open to let in the mid-afternoon sun. Through the open front door, a cool breeze blows, carrying the scent of the fields next door. If I were to remove my headphones, the sounds of nature would fill my ears. A cool day in late July is a rare thing, and even while we work, we take full advantage of this momentous occasion.

In my mind now, that summer so long ago and this summer seem so far apart. Two years, five thousand miles, and a host of life-changing experiences separate these two summers, yet I know that they are linked together more intimately than I can possibly imagine. My experience working in a factory has little bearing on my work today, but it taught me how to adapt quickly to new tasks, a skill that has been vital. Pluderhausen is an ocean away from Bixby, but living out of a suitcase for a month in Germany taught me how to pack my life away into only a few bags, to carry the comforts of home with me where I go, and to avoid splurging on unnecessary souvenirs.

Most important of all, however, have been the connections I have formed. I’ve never directly used the skills I acquired in Germany, but being able to relate to other travelers and put the experience on my resume has helped me in so many more ways than knowing the ins and outs of industrial equipment ever could. Knowing I could live on my own in a new place and make connections there was a deciding factor in my choice to work in Oklahoma over the summer.

From here, who knows where the road will take me? Wherever I end up, though, I am confident that with my past experience I will be able to thrive anywhere. And, if I may, a word of advice? If you’re young and looking for something to do over the summer, find an internship and take it. Don’t go into debt working for someone who isn’t paying you, but never underestimate the value of experience. You cannot know what the future holds, and the value of a good internship is immeasurable and applicable to any field.


Note from IEW: Although we certainly cherished the opportunities to work with these young adults this past summer, we are not able to offer internships every summer. Thanks for understanding. 

Homeschooled through high school, Jacob Mauser currently attends Stetson University and is double majoring in English and Philosophy. In addition to reading literature and writing, he enjoys craft coffee and photography. He hopes to someday earn his Ph.D. and encourage a new generation of learners to reason, think, reflect, and write.

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