Internship Service Learning: A Reflection by a TEG Intern
As we all know, the purpose of an internship programme is to allow students to experience what is the real working environment and to put academic knowledge into practice. However, Taylor’s Education Group Internship Programme is definitely different from other internship programmes, but what makes it stand out from others? The answer lies in the structure of the programme. Apart from gaining real working world experiences, interns at Taylor’s Education Group (TEG) will also learn to be responsible citizens through service learning, which makes internship at TEG a more holistic learning experience. The service learning is a community service that is so important for students to acquire life skills and knowledge, as well as to provide a service to those who need it most.
8 interns from different departments are required work together in pairs to propose activities that induce a sense of belonging to the refugee children aged between 4 to 16 years old at Chin Student Organisation (CSO) Puchong. The interns also had to come out with their own roles and responsibilities in running the whole session, whereby every intern was given opportunity to lead each activity during the 4-hour service learning that was held on 26th January 2018.
After an ice-breaking session with the refugee children, the service learning started with the science experiment as the first activity of the day. The children decorated the mung bean containers, planted their own mung beans and placed them where sunlight was exposed. As the children never had the opportunity to do a science experiment, this activity definitely induced a sense of belonging to them as they were able to see the end results of their own plant and also because the beansprout is a familiar part of their daily lives. One of the children, Shaima even shared her excitement on this activity: “I can’t wait to see the mung bean grow and show it to my parents”.
Then, the second activity for the children is to create their own key mark. The children were free to use their creativity to decorate the ice cream sticks using colourful marker pens and various stickers. Through this activity, the children were fascinated as they learnt that the items they use in their daily lives can be reused as a different purpose.
The third activity continued with decorating book after the lunch break. The idea behind this activity was to give the children something to bring back where they can write or draw, which made this activity sustainable. By teaching the children to express themselves using the book as a diary, the children then showed their feelings by pasting the emoticon stickers into the book.
The last activity for service learning was the photo session, whereby every child was allowed to take a photo along with the products they had made on that day. As the children never had the opportunity to take photos, so whenever they see a camera flashing, they will be so excited to smile at the camera and will be so happy to see their own faces in the photo, thus, this activity was done to induce a sense of belonging to them as they will be able to keep a photo of themselves.
The children and the interns were seen enjoying the day full of fun and meaningful activities. The service learning has definitely helped the interns in developing civic and social responsibility skills, and also become more aware of what their community needs. Besides that, all the interns have agreed that it was because of this service learning component that the interns become so close and they realise that teamwork is so important in making the service learning a success as “coming together is a beginning, keeping together is a progress, and working together is a success”. Indeed, by looking at how the interns benefitted and grow from this service learning component, it is undeniable that the Taylor’s Education Group Internship Programme is unique and since participating in community service not only makes a difference to the organisation and people being served, but also makes a difference to every student’s career prospects, thus, this conforms to the slogan of Taylor’s Education Group in providing a “career with a purpose” as all the intern managed to take away some learnings through this community service learning component.
Written by: Wun Kim Yen, Group Communications & Corporate Social Responsibility Intern