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I've been trying to think of a good British English term for a summer job, the equivalent of American English Internship.

I'm sure that when I've worked with students my company had hired over the summer holidays, we used to the the term studentship, but researching a little further this seems to more correctly apply to a PhD scholarship in British English parlance.

I'm not specifically looking for a term which has connotations of either paid or unpaid work, but if the term has one of those connotations it would be useful for it to be mentioned.

Incidentally, it was my understanding that in American English, internship implied unpaid, but could nevertheless be qualified with either paid or unpaid. As @Martha points out however, it seems that limited duration is a more appropriate qualifier for the word.

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Do you mean..Exploitation? –  osknows Jul 5 '11 at 0:49
    
I don't think internship implies unpaid. See english.stackexchange.com/q/21102/1547 –  Marthaª Jul 5 '11 at 19:26
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6 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

We seem to have adopted the term "intern". Certainly that's what my (small) British company is using to refer to both the student we have with us for a week's work experience and the older students in for summer jobs.

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@Mark There are many unpaid internships in the UK. –  z7sg Ѫ Jul 5 '11 at 14:24
    
@Mark Charities often use them. If you wanted a career, say at Oxfam, it's a common first step, but it is said to disadvantage poorer graduates who cannot afford to take unpaid work. Some adverts here are for unpaid internships: graduatetalentpoolsearch.direct.gov.uk/casa/servlet/… –  z7sg Ѫ Jul 5 '11 at 20:29
    
+1 Since I'm going to just have to accept that intern is more widely used in the UK than I had assumed. –  Mark Booth Jul 5 '11 at 21:48
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An alternative term in British English is work placement.

Many larger organisations advertise formal placements or ‘internships’ at different times of the year. These tend to involve working full-time for a fixed period, usually six to twelve weeks - but they’re often timed to fit in with university and college holidays.

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Work experience is probably more common - possibly only in industrial type jobs rather than IT –  mgb Jul 5 '11 at 3:30
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Work experience usually applies to school-leavers; at undergraduate / graduate level, work placement seems more appropriate. –  njd Jul 5 '11 at 10:25
    
We commonly have schoolchildren (not school-leavers) with us for (usually one week's) work experience - there are two sitting near me right now. I would say work placement for the question. –  Colin Fine Jul 5 '11 at 14:45
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Intern seems to be accepted here to refer to paid summer work, especially in international organisations (for example, I was an intern at Lehman Brothers in London).

In IT, "summer student" used to be a common job title.

In law, where placements are usually for two weeks, "vac student" seems to be the norm.

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There isn't really an English equivalent (slavery having been abolished rather earlier) - so where it has been introduced the US term is generally used.

The nearest terms are probably "Work Experience" (although as pointed out that's more high school type work) and "Sandwich Course" - where you college degree includes terms or years working in industry interleaved with the time at college. These are normally paid though and are (or were in my day) common in engineering courses.

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Not all interns in the U.S. are unpaid; back when I was young, they were nearly all paid, although, naturally, at low wages. –  Peter Shor Dec 8 '12 at 14:00
    
"Sandwich Course" = "Co-op Program" in Canada. –  martin f Jan 16 at 6:34
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In terms of summer job, I think there are several:

Seasonal work
Seasonal job

But I still think that the best would be:

Summer Job

Nothing wrong with summer job I think.

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"summer Job" is just fine. I think "Internship" was used to obfuscate "Working For Free" and make it sound somehow respectable. –  James Anderson Jul 5 '11 at 6:52
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Most of the British and German fellows around our shop refer to it as their apprenticeship. Which seems to imply a period of work which is as much about learning for the employee as it is about cheap labor for the employer. Sounds like an internship to me.

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The term apprenticeship has connotations of much longer term to me. I wouldn't expect any apprenticeship to be completed within a few months over the summer holidays. –  Mark Booth Jul 5 '11 at 20:23
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