Personal Development Internship
The personal development internship is compulsory for all first year students for a period of six moths, either in the armed forces or a civilian organization.
During this specific internship which has no equivalent in other engineering schools, each student learns the importance of the human factor in the world of work and develops their interpersonal skills within the group.
An integral part of the academic training provided at the École Polytechnique, this internship is an experience designed to increase students' maturity by moving them away geographically, sociologically and intellectually from the world of classes préparatoires and university.
This concrete and practical field-based civic commitment is graded and promoted in the Engineering Program curriculum. During this experience, each student offers their time and skills in return for a very high level of community investment for their training.
This internship aims to promote open-mindedness and enhance knowledge of social realities among students who will in the future be entrusted with engineers' and managers' responsibilities. Students develop their interpersonal skills by discovering new social or cultural environments.
Three quarters of students complete their internship at the Ministry of Defense.
> The armed forces: Internship at the Brigade des Sapeurs-Pompiers de Paris (Paris Fire Brigade) in a fire fighter incident command capacity. Internship in the Unité d’Instruction et d’Intervention de la Sécurité Civile n°1 (Civil Protection Instruction and Intervention Unit) which deals with large-scale incidents (earthquakes, nuclear plant explosions, storms). Internship within the adapted overseas military service, in a supervisory role to young people completing a vocational apprenticeship.
> The air force: Internship at the Escadron de Formation des Commandos de l’Air (Air Commando Training Squadron) as an assistant to the head of a training division.
> The marines: Internship in the Marine Commandos at the Electronic Warfare Unit supporting troops operating on and under the sea, on land and in the air during their exercises. Onboard internship as an assistant deck watch officer.
> The National Gendarmerie: Internship at the Compagnie de Gendarmerie des Transports Aériens de Toulouse (Toulouse Air Transport Gendarmerie Company) monitoring the rolling out of investigations following air incidents and the construction of the first Airbus A350 prototypes.
> The Délégation Générale pour l’Armement (French defense procurement agency): Internship at the Centre d’Analyse Technico-opérationnelle de Défense (Defense technical-operational analysis center) to take part in Franco-British expeditionary force deployment meetings.
A quarter of students complete their internship in a civilian organization.
-An introductory internship to the teaching profession within the Fondation d’Auteuil in Paris which supports young people with family or social problems.
-Internship in general education public schools in Cotonou in Benin, having the task of preparing the best students for the baccalauréat and higher education.
-Internship at the Fleury-Mérogis Prison giving lessons to detainees.
-Internship within the association "L’enfant à l’hôpital" supporting hospitalized or disabled children, adolescents and young adults throughout the whole of France.
-Internship at the Fédération Etudiante pour une Dynamique Etudes et Emploi avec un Handicap carrying out awareness-raising actions in schools and colleges for better integration of disabled young people.
-Internship at the ATD Fourth World's center for family, social and cultural promotion in Noisy-le-Grand, supporting families that have been taken in with settlement or rehousing assistance.
Domitille, internship with the Paris Fire Brigade
"I completed my internship with the Paris Fire Brigade in Gennevilliers (northern suburbs). After a few months of training, I was able to take command of over 300 firefighting interventions. It was a very demanding experience, but a truly exciting one too. They very quickly expect complete professionalism from us in terms of first aid, an ability to be in command in an emergency, great physiological strength (the nights are very short), and real psychological strength (you are constantly faced with Parisian misery as you enter people's private lives), a taste for human contact with the non-commissioned officers, an ability to quickly integrate yourself within a community".
Victor, internship with the Escadron de Formation des Commandos de l’Air
"As assistant to the head of a training division, I helped with the organization and on-the-ground execution of numerous combat and crossing exercises for commando interns. The transfer to the unit following a training internship gave me the opportunity to be in a command situation and enter the environment of combat aviation. It was also an opportunity to carry out multiple shooting campaigns, allowing me to test all the weapons available in the air force, from the handgun and sniper rifle to the anti-vehicle machine gun and grenades. Thanks to my unit, I was also able to do many military parachute jumps and free falls".
Claire, internship with the Apprentis d’Auteuil, at Château des Vaux (Eure-et-Loir)
"The internship involved two missions: the first consisted in providing hours of support on various matters to a small group of up to eight students. The young people in question are often teenagers experiencing great difficulties, who have sometimes even dropped out of school. It is important to encourage them and help restore their self-confidence. The second mission focused on the educational aspect through integration into a shelter's educational team. Being a regular presence in the evenings helps you build more links with young people, listen to them and offer them advice. This internship helped me to develop many skills such as conflict management, an understanding of other people, public speaking and self-assertion".
Ileana, internship at the Fleury-Mérogis prison
"This internship taught me about an exceptional and sometimes difficult universe. I gave the prisoners English, French, maths and IT lessons and took part in several projects (prison journal, communication). Psychologically, it wasn't as hard as I was expecting. I really liked the contact with the highly motivated women there, it was a real pleasure to see them making progress in the French lessons. We established a certain closeness. I also learned to look at a person without prejudice. We didn't have access to the prisoners' files and the way we look at them is different. Our aim is simply to provide them with an education and improve their daily lives".