In the run up to the opening of the 2021 Employ.ed internship programme (for current 2nd, 3rd and penultimate year undergraduate students), we have asked a couple of previous interns to share their experiences in an Insights mini-series. This post is by Ana.
How did you find out about the Employ.ed internship scheme? And what made you apply for it?
I found out about Employ.Ed around October of my second year. A friend and I were discussing plans for the summer and she mentioned this internship scheme. I thought it was a great opportunity as it is usually hard for second year students to get an internship and it is even harder to find a paid one! When the positions were advertised, I was attracted to the internship I ended up doing, as it combined data analysis, learning and writing blog posts. I was also excited about getting to know what goes on behind the scenes, specially at the Institute of Academic Development, which is dedicated to improving student experience and study skills.
What did you enjoy most about your internship?
I really enjoyed the experience of feeling part of a team, with the support and engagement it involves, while also being able to make my own choices and work independently. I came up with my project plan (which has changed a lot as the situations evolved–) and I asked my own research questions. Feeling free to decide and supported in that sense is an empowering experience!
Something I really liked as well was the fact that I was constantly learning. I learnt how to use analysis tools more efficiently, how to move around my online workplace… but I was also learning about study skills and how our learning experiences are designed, which will be really useful for me in the future.
What was most challenging about your internship?
The most challenging aspect of my internship was related to working remotely. Although it brought many benefits (such as me being able to work from Valencia rather than not doing my internship at all), I found working from home meant the border between work and leisure becomes blurry as I was always in the same physical space and, in my case, using the same device for both aspects of my life. However, I think setting fixed timetables and working in a fixed space made it easier to get away from work for the day and enjoy my free time.
Looking back, what has stayed with you from your internship?
There are three main things I am taking from my internship: first, I found the space and the resources to consciously develop my skills through the Edinburgh Award.
Secondly, I now have a new attitude towards learning. I had the chance to attend conference sessions, workshops and informal discussions and now I would say I see learning as an active and complex process which requires constant innovation and change. I had the chance to see what students struggle with (which partly is what I also struggle with) and how to improve that, which will make me a better student.
Finally, I got to know a group of people from diverse backgrounds and with different working styles that made me feel comfortable and at ease and made my transition into the team really easy. And I say got to know, but we have never met in person!
What advice would you give anyone thinking of applying for an Employ.ed internship?
I would say: Do it! This scheme provides both a space to develop your skills and the tools to do it more efficiently. There is a broad range of opportunities and you can work in your own school or in a school or department you had never heard of before. Whatever you chose, you will be able to see how our university works behind the scenes and contribute to making it a better place for all!
2021 summer internships are planned to be advertised between 8th and the 28th February 2021. All internships will be advertised on the Universities new student portal, where you can complete an application and upload your CV. There will be an online session with a Careers Consultant to support you with your application (date and time to be confirmed). For more information, please see Employ.ed on Campus.
Ana is a student of Sustainable Development at Edinburgh University. She is in the third year of her degree. She is from Valencia, Spain. In her free time, she enjoys reading, running and playing basketball.