Internships are something I feel most students expect to have nowadays. I know I personally have made a plan to get one or more internships throughout my college career. This is due to the ever increasing difficulty of finding and securing a real person job in today's world and the knowledge that the more experience you can get before you get out into the real world, the better.
The expectations of an intern can vary from being a personal assistant (i.e. making appointments, fetching coffee) to getting actual job experience in your chosen field. While the latter is the preferred, the former isn't that bad of an option because you are still in the industry you want to be in (hopefully). While on the outside you may seem like a coffee fetching guru, you are in the office/work space watching other employees do what they do and learning from it. And, obviously the biggest perk of any internship is being able to use it to bulk up your resume and get future references from that company.
There are different kinds of internships, the paid and the unpaid. As an English major who wants to work in publishing, finding a paid internship in the area in which I live was something I honestly didn't even consider. I knew whatever I found would be unpaid and I was perfectly alright with that because it is the experience that matters the most. At least it is to me. The thing is, in fields beside my own (and my field but in a bigger city like New York), there is this magical world in which interns get paid. For those who want to be engineers or accountants or do other jobs that will make you money but to me honestly sound so entirely boring, you can get paid for the experience and that's good for you.
However, I don't need that. A lot of people don't need that. I currently have an internship at a literary magazine and I am loving it. The people are kind and the work is real. While I am doing things like organizing shelves of books and office supplies and addressing envelopes (two tasks that I honestly love because that's just me), I am also getting to read submissions and write letters of thanks to people and businesses who donate to help us do what we do.
The word "unpaid" in unpaid internship means nothing in comparison to the experience I am getting. (Plus, many unpaid internships provide college credit in the place of an actual check). I am loving what I am doing and I am loving what I am leaning. I have only just entered into a portion of the world I want to spend my life in and the feeling is amazing.
I say, if you have the opportunity to take an internship, whether you are or are not getting money for your services, take it. You won't regret it.