Life as an intern in the communications team: a student's perspective

E-newsletters from the Uni have been arriving in my inbox since I received my offer back in January of 2019. Not that I paid much attention to them – I was studying for exams before I got here, and then busy making friends after. It wasn’t until 2020 when COVID broke out that I began desperately looking out for updates, and the moment a remote term was announced I booked my plane tickets and headed off home. My friends and I all got that news from the Student News in our inboxes, which we’d never read so intently as we did in those times. Obviously, throughout the pandemic, I’ve learnt to look for updates in my emails.

As a lost Uni student trying to figure out her career path, communications has always been a field that interested me, and taking part in the micro-internship programme at the University offices for a week really allowed me to understand more about the intricacies of the job. I got to work with both the student and staff communications teams. Meeting the people behind the scenes of those COVID newsletters felt a bit surreal – ‘those emails are written by real people!’. All jokes aside, I have now realised it’s not easy coming up with thoughtfully worded emails containing inherently bad news.

My work that week mainly focused on the health campaign, which relates directly to the student body so much as we are all concerned about COVID in one way or another. One thing I’ve learnt is that attention to detail is fundamental at all stages, from phrasing in an email to graphics for social media. Articles would have to go through multiple revisions before being put out, and content conveyed in a way that caters to all audience members who might read a certain text – these are considerations that had never crossed my mind, as there is only so much you can see from one perspective.

Midway through my internship a change in regulations was announced by the British government, and everyone immediately jumped to adapt to it – generating a response as soon as possible and rearranging what had been planned. Even though I wasn’t part of what felt like the ‘rescue team’, it really gave me insight into how the comms staff worked their way through altering plans to accommodate an unexpected news announcement.

The internship was such an invaluable experience to me as I got to meet so many different people in the office and chat with them, about careers in communications and life directions. I gained not only an extra entry on my CV, but also many mentors who gave me insightful life and career advice.

The micro-internship programme is offered in Weeks 9 and 10 of every term to students by the Careers Service. Programmes include 2–5-days of voluntary work in various sectors. Sign up to offer internships.