04 October 2008

Holidays at the Internship Site

Interns are sometimes surprised at how holidays are handled at their practicum sites. Whether celebrated or ignored, a holiday reflects a conscious choice by the site and it may not match your opinion or choice.

If you have strong convictions about how holidays are acknowledged, consult your campus instructor about how comfortable you can be in certain settings. Your own self-knowledge is the most important input for deciding about your participation in those settings.

Sometimes interns are reluctant to raise questions about holiday matters with their site supervisors, which is why the campus instructor is the best place to begin the discussion. Some phrases to get the conversation going:
  • My personal convictions about Halloween conflict with my site's plans for a party. How can I handle this situation?
  • I don't understand my mentor's reluctance for Halloween decorations. Should I ask about it?
  • I don't celebrate Christmas but I'm surrounded at the site by people who expect participation in their holiday. What should I say?
  • My faith includes observances that are not on the typical workplace calendar. How do I approach my site supervisor about my need to be away from the internship?
  • Some of my site's clients talk about church, and some of them talk about temple, and some of them don't talk about their faith at all. Should I tell them about mine?
Your campus instructor can help sort out options with you especially if you plan ahead. If your semester of internship will include typical holidays on the calendar, address sensitive issues at the start—even before you apply to a site. If you are already in an internship and now recognize a conflict of values as the fall holidays approach, act quickly to begin a conversation that honors everyone involved.

The content on this blog is not offered as legal advice or guidance. Consult your college, advisor, or internship supervisor for help with issues surrounding internships. © 2008 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. Dr. Bold is a co-author of the book Reflections: Preparing for your Practicum or Internship, geared to college interns in the child, education, and family fields. More about Dr. Bold can be learned at www.marybold.com

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