Dubai: To choose a career path is often a daunting task for students and in a changing world it is important for them to keep up-to-date with current trends.
It is often said a university education is not complete without a practical element, which is only achieved through immersion into the real world of work.
In a region currently at the centre of world affairs, Gulf News speaks to media students from across the globe that chose our leading daily newspaper for their work placement experience.
Cecilie Maria Kallestrup studies at the Danish School of Journalism and left the comfort of familiar surroundings to immerse herself in the media world of the Middle East. For her first internship she chose to gain international exposure in what is perceived to be one of the world's most turbulent regions.
"I chose my work placement in the UAE because I wanted to experience the journalistic environment in the Middle East," she said. "An internship is a chance to challenge yourself and still be in a relatively safe environment with experienced people helping you out."
She joined Gulf News earlier this year for six months and spent her time split between the Reader's Desk and Gulf News TV.
"My interns hip was extremely wide ranging, I covered midnight hunts for wild dogs, environment campaigns and controversial democratic debates," she said. "And that is just mentioning a tiny bit of what I did."
Noor Al Khatib came from Jordan to study mass communications at the American University of Sharjah (AUS). Upon graduation in June, Al Khatib was not ready to bid farewell to the UAE. She is now currently on a six month internship at Gulf News, after having completed a six week internship last summer.
"The media field in the UAE is quickly developing and emerging into a major hub for the entire region and I wanted to be a part of it," she said. "There are also a lot of journalism related opportunities in the UAE."
She applied to Gulf News however, through a recommendation by her professors at AUS.
"Former AUS students described their experiences with Gulf News as educational and extremely useful so it always seemed like a good option to me," she said.
For Isha Parida, the newspaper's regional leading status is what attracted her to Gulf News in July for a two week internship from Manipal University in India.
"I chose Gulf News because it's one of the UAE's most widely read newspapers and I was really impressed by the choice of content it offers readers," she said. "In India we mostly don't get to see such newspapers." Parida worked with the higher education section of the newspaper — Campus Notes. She found the experience of her first internship gave her a better idea on potential career options on offer to her in the media profession.
"My internship definitely gave me a better perspective of how my future career path could be shaped in the print media," she said. "I now understand the skills required to excel in this field and have been able to evaluate my own aspirations and competencies against the job expectations."
Kallestrup's unique international internship experience not only broadened her culture horizons but also taught her many priceless lessons. "It's very valuable just to get abroad and experience a different culture especially in journalism where it is important to understand how fellow journalists work across the world," she said. "I have learnt not all journalists are as privileged as I am in Denmark when it comes to freedom of expression."
For her to take a brave step outside of her comfort zone and travel far away from home, Kallestrup found in just six months, she grew tremendously.
"Having to figure out how to live and work in a part of the world I have never seen before matured me both professionally and personally," she said.
"It taught me I want to gain expertise in the world of international news; because Dubai is extremely international and I have met people from every unthinkable corner of the globe."
She has also managed to land a second internship with Denmark's leading media company, Dansmarks Radio, because of her international experience with Gulf News.
"They wanted a person with knowledge of international news for their foreign desk."