How can I translate the French expression “travailler en alternance” to English?

I am looking to translate the expression

travailler en alternance

into English.

I have found several answers on the internet but none seems to match my use case.

I am still at school and I am working part time on school project to learn and part time for a company. The French phrase expresses this arrangement of part-time work and part-time study. I am looking for a professional word that can be used in formal text.

edit: Sorry, my English is far from good so the question was not clear. I will try to clarify it a little. I think there is some kind of misunderstanding for the meaning of the expression “formation en alternance”.

In the French school system there is a type of course that need you to find a company and work but you still go to school from time to time.

Exemple: One week at the company followed by one week at school.

This is why I dont think internship would fit here because we can translate it with the French word “Stage” which mean

A long period during which the student will work for a company frequently during vacations time or at the end of his course.

opposed to a course en alternance in which the student will really spend half of his time at the company and the other half at school.

Sample text: I have been (travailler en alternance) throughout my course. It has given me an appreciation for the profession beyond the purely academic.


Though cultures don’t always match perfectly well (and words don’t), it turns out that the match is most likely (in American English):

travailler en alternance – ‘has an internship’ or ‘has a co-op position’

In French it seems to be literally ‘to work in alternation’ (presumably alternating between work for a few months and study for a few months, as opposed to working and studying in the same day or week). For example,

"What are you doing this summer?"

"I got a co-op position (or "I have an internship…") at Raytheon but it lasts through fall semester, so I’ll be back at school next spring."

‘Co-op’ is much more informal; ‘internship’ is how you’d refer to it on a CV or resume or cover letter.

In American higher education/work culture, it is often the case that a student will work for a company over the summer or take a semester off in their field of study, either for a practical university credit or for pay (it’s real world practical experience good for your resume, often considered a ‘foot in the door’ for later permanent employment) once you graduate.

The word ‘co-op’, very familiar in engineering situations, comes from cooperative education which frankly is a mouthful that I had never known until I just looked for it. It’s always been ‘co-op’ to me. ‘Internship’ is the more common term outside of engineering and is a little looser, it may not be so closely connected with your field of study. An "internship" is also the term used for when you have graduated and get a deliberately temporary position (and are no longer going back to school). There may be a hope that it’ll turn into something permanent, but it is definitely considered temporary.

One might also call the corresponding situation a

temporary position

as opposed to a permanent position, but those terms apply to a much much wider set of situations than just the student getting a little bit of work experience in their field.

Something that might be parallel to the French meaning of the phrase is:

work-study program

which means that you’re working and studying at the same time usually for financial reasons (the American system is to pay for the university education), and ‘work-study’ is usually a program officially through a university where they place you in jobs around campus. But this situation might be a bit foreign. Sure one might work during one’s undergraduate university education but not as part of financial aid.

Source : Link , Question Author : Louis GHANNAD-REZAI , Answer Author : Mitch

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