There is an eternal landscape, a geography of the soul; we search for its outlines all our lives.
Internship or graduate work opportunities are a great way for students to gain real-world work experience.
It's also a great way to make personal contacts in your field of interest before graduating as an undergraduate student or before securing one's first real job for graduate students. Internship programs are encouraged and compulsory in most universities in Nigeria. It is part of the undergraduate curriculum in almost every geography department.
The internship programs are often carried out in the 4th year of the students’ academic year since the course is mostly a five years course. At this level, the student is expected to have a solid background in geography coursework.
But why is it that most graduates of geography end up looking for employment in other fields of studies?
Recent research conducted by Jobberman shows that most graduates of geography end up working in the banks, general management, estate managers, and oil and gas.
This does beg the question, "why one will need to study for a degree in geography and ends up working in other fields"?
Quite alright, employers in this dispensation are not just looking for a good degree but the skills you have and can offer! But remember that this can only be possible in some course as you won’t expect to see a computer scientist working as a surgeon.
The truth remains that employers are now looking for skilful people of which geographers are always good candidates for this. The good thing about most graduates from geography is that they have great experience in many different skills and training that prospective employers would love. These skills range from field trips where you are expected to work as a team, planning for the trips, calculating latitudes and longitudes, and drawing skills. All this can come in handy in a real work environment.
Many undergraduate students find their internship opportunities through internship schemes and clubs, others are found through private businesses or governmental agencies. A few internship programs are prestigious, selective, and only seeks for applicant annually but most aren't.
Some companies and agencies in Nigeria offer student interns stipends while others don’t pay.
Whether an internship program is paid or not, students are offered valuable learning experience and an opportunity to earn the internship credit hour for most undergraduates' internship year. For more information about internship program opportunities for you as a student, you can contact your course adviser or any other faculty or departmental member in the geography department.
Internship Choices for a Geography Student
A wide range of choices is available for geography students to hone and develop their skills on what they learned in the classroom.
In this article, Superprof will be showing you some routes to follow for your internship and graduate work opportunities. With this information, you can begin your search for an intern program or graduate scheme in the following areas
- Cartographer: This is the major and most popular area for every geographer to look towards internship. Cartography is seen as the art of making and designing maps. So many organizations such as those developing GPS and other Apps developing companies in relation to direction and map will be needing a detailed analysis of the different features in their application. This can be a great place to start from
- Estate Planners: In estate and town planning, construction companies, estate companies, and architects may need to consult an individual with a geography degree about the planning, viability, and safety of the building and designs. Local government councils, contractors, and other public services organizations would be interested in your skill making it a great place for an internship program.
- Transportation Companies: Transportation companies such as Uber and other taxi-hailing companies are now becoming more rampant and popular in Nigeria. These transport companies are always looking for newer ways to effectively move people and goods from one location to the other. Solid knowledge of the landscapes and the limitations become necessary and vital on how we operate private and public transport system in Nigeria.
- Education Sector: There is always an opportunity in the classroom for you to teach primary and secondary school students the basics of geography. You can take advantage of the holidays to conduct private lessons and tutorials.
Other direct Internship opportunities include
- Environmental consultant
- Geographical information systems officer
- Planning and development surveyor
- Town planner
Remember that employees now employ or take students for internship base on your skill-set and what you can offer to the organization. So don’t restrict yourself to your direct course opportunities
You can therefore look for more internship jobs or scheme in other related areas such as
- International aid/development worker
- Landscape architect
- Sustainability consultant
- Tourism officer
- Logistics and distribution manager
- Market researcher
- Political risk analyst
Importance of Internship to Work Experience for Geography Students
“Everywhere's been where it is ever since it was first put there. It's called geography.”
― Terry Pratchett
The direction your life and career is expected to follow is dependent on your interest in human or physical geography.
This is the major reason why you need to secure an internship work experience in your chosen field to help you get an insight into the different job descriptions and work available in the different areas of geography.
Fieldwork is a very useful way of developing practical skills and gaining hands-on experience which is highly valued by most employers in the labour market.
Most Universities in Nigeria place a placement year which is another great way to get useful insights into working practicalities. The skills that one develops during the internship years are expected to equip you for the different ranges of works available to you.
An internship is also a good way of work shadowing if you are not yet sure of which geography career path you which to pursue.
Typical Organizations and Employers of Interns
Here are some of the examples of places and organizations where one can look for practical intern opportunities in Nigeria.
These employers include
- The Civil Service
- Local Government
- Private Companies
- Environmental Protection Agencies
- Ministry of Defense
- The Armed Forces
- Police Service
- Utility Companies.
- Information Systems Organizations
- Environmental Consultancies
You can also find internship opportunities in environment and agriculture, energy and utilities, and other job sectors in Nigeria.
Importance of Internship Skills to your CV
By studying geography as a course, you'll be expected to gain valuable insight into a wide range of practical, economic, social, and environmental issues.
Geography offers one the chance to tackle some of the most important challenges facing our modern life and society.
These issues range from climate change, overpopulation, natural disasters such as erosion, tsunamis, flooding, and urban expansion.
In addition to those core geography skills that one is expected to develop while studying the course such as the use of specialist equipment, fieldwork, preparing diagrams and maps, and making use of social survey and interpretative methods, you are also opportune to develop other skill-sets that would embellish your Curriculum Vitae (CV) and that will be relevant to many job opening and sectors.
These skills include
- Skills in research and data collection, analysis and evaluation
- IT skills such as computer cartography and the use of spreadsheet and databases
- Mathematical and computational skills
- Planning and problem-solving skills
- Written and oral communications skills, which includes report writing and data presentation
- The ability to understand abstract concepts and articulate these to a range of audiences
- The ability to work independently and also in a team, taking on board ideas and coming to a consensus
- Self-motivation and self-reliance
- Creative thinking ability and recognition of the moral and ethical issues involved in debates
- Time management and the ability to meet deadlines.
Further Study as a Geography Student
Most students that studied geography opt to specialize in other areas different from their undergraduate studies by doing postgraduate studies after an internship program.
Some closely related areas that you are expected to specialize in includes remote sensing, geography and information systems, oceanography, environmental management, environmental conservation, meteorology, coastal and marine management, or water resources.
Other popular areas for postgraduate studies for geography students include urban and regional planning, surveying, and landscape architecture.
For more information on further study and courses that might interest you, visit some Nigeria Universities Websites to learn more about this.
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