Internship experiences provide valuable lessons

Neil Thomas is a great example of a student who voluntarily took a gap year before starting college to pursue his passion for mechanics. Motivated by a desire to gain practical knowledge and experience related to his undergraduate degree he completed two, month-long internships after his grade 12.

The first was at American Axle & Manufacturing (AAM), which assembles truck axles for Daimler Benz, and the second at Superior Drinks, the local bottling partner for Coca-Cola in India. These internships helped Neil reaffirm his interest in mechanics and were invaluable in teaching him about the role of an engineer and the importance of developing a strong work ethic.

The gap year also gave Neil the opportunity to devote time to his other interests – he took his Trinity Grade piano exams, played soccer and volunteered at the Mouth & Foot Painting Artists, an organisation which supports artists without hands.

Neil’s now on his way to Virginia Tech. If he had to do it all over again, he wouldn’t change the path he took to get there, happy to have had the opportunity to explore his field of study before committing to four years of studying it.

– Neil Thomas, Virginia Tech

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