An internship is defined as a learning experience in which traditional classroom learning is applied through practical hands-on job experiences. The internship represents an opportunity to help students develop personal, professional, and academic goals. Internship experiences link the classroom to the real world of work, therefore solidifying academic competencies.

It also gives students the opportunity to explore various possibilities while still in school. For the participating business, agency, or institution, there is the added benefit of using highly motivated and, in most cases, unpaid labor, with fresh approaches and different outlooks.

Internships are designed to relate to a student's field of study. The internship assignment is intended to augment classroom work by enabling the student to observe actual events in a job context, and to participate in the process of applying theoretical principles to real-life situations.

Although students are generally paying tuition for the privilege of working as unpaid interns, the program can yield important pay-offs for the participants. For instance, the internship can give a student the chance to test the strength of a particular career interest and to establish contacts with individuals in a given field of study. During an internship, a student is free to make mistakes, a luxury not often available in the real world of work.