My summer internship with the Institute for Politics and Society was, in short, an invaluable experience which has equipped me with skills that I believe aren’t so commonly acquired as an undergraduate. After spending 2.5 months in the office, and a further month working at a distance while continuing my studies, I’ve managed to build upon my research and project-realisation capabilities- skills of which have complimented my university duties and added value to my employability.
Throughout the internship, the institute’s team were open and supportive with the tasks that were assigned to me, but equally so with my research pursuits. Being an Economics undergraduate with an interest in research, I was grateful to be able to contribute to an article written by the executive director, Šárka, and to work on my own paper on the topic of UK skilled migration. These assignments were the focal point of my internship, and I consider them to be my greatest achievements, being that there are few opportunities to be guided in conducting and publishing research at the undergraduate level.
Outside my research engagements, my commitments were balanced across project-related and administrative duties including funding applications, sending formal invitations to speakers and writing reports, all of which allowed me to better understand the projects at the institute. From such assignments interns can learn, as I did from completing tasks for Miroslava, the effective ways to plan and execute professional panel discussions, as well as create and maintain new connections. Fittingly these skills have been very useful with my university roles where I also organise conferences and debates.
Being involved in the conferences and business breakfasts can also be a networking opportunity; the events I had the chance to attend were filled with political figures and academic experts who were ready to discuss the hot topics in European and global politics. The internship is, therefore, an great position for those who are interested in the most prevalent issues. I would advise future trainees to make the most out of their time by engaging with the guests and, if interested, immersing themselves in a research project.
Melissa Thu Bui, University of Nottingham 17/07/17-31/10/17