Written by Charlotte Smith, Student Experience Intern, BA History and Sociology
I am currently a Final Year History and Sociology student and during my second-year summer break (2020) I was able to complete a Student Experience Internship (SEI) with the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures as an Administrative Assistant Intern for Flexible Honours.
During the internship, I gained invaluable professional skills which have been extremely useful enhancing my work experience and developing my career aspirations for when I graduate this summer.
I wanted to share with you 5 things I learnt from the SEI experience and why it’s worth applying, even if you don’t really know what you want to do yet!
- Flexibility working from home
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was about to start my new internship. I was really worried that it would be cancelled due to not being able to go into the office. However, I was lucky enough that it was adapted, and I ended up doing the internship working remotely, from home. This was a massive challenge to learn a completely new role and meet my new team via Zoom, but it allowed me to adapt and become much more flexible with where and how I work.
Some tips for working from home:
- Try to get out for a walk / air at least once a day! It really helps with focus and productivity.
- Set up a working area where you work such as a desk or table so you can really focus and use other spaces to relax after.
- Time Management and Organisational skills
During my internship I was given a variety of responsibility in the administration process of the Flexible Honours scheme. This was completely new to me, so I had to ensure I managed my time effectively to learn about the scheme so that I could respond to queries effectively.
- Communication Skills
Having worked in customer service within the retail sector before this role, I had good communication skills but mainly face-to-face. The internship allowed me to develop professional written and verbal communication skills through using software such as Microsoft Outlook and Zoom.
- Software skills / Knowledge
Before my internship I used to avoid Excel and other software technology like the plague! (or Covid). Studying a History degree, I much prefer writing and words and I always found using them so difficult. However, during my internship I was responsible for managing an Excel spreadsheet and updating it regularly, using formulas for large groups of data. I learnt to use timetabling software and how to create and develop surveys for student feedback. The skills and knowledge I gained will be useful for future jobs and it increased my confidence in using Excel and made other software seem less daunting!
- Relationship Building via Zoom
Completing the internship remotely was a challenge as it can be difficult to connect with the team compared to being in an office together. However, I met regularly with the team over Zoom and got to know people online which was really nice. I really felt involved and part of the team!
I would definitely recommend the SEI to any student even if you don’t really know what you want to do yet because it’s a really useful opportunity to gain some transferable skills that can be used in any industry or job role!
For more information on SEI’s visit our webpage.