From Classroom to Career: My Journey to Securing an Internship as a Postgraduate Student

by | Jun 20, 2024 | Geography and Global Development, Postgraduate | 0 comments

As a taught postgraduate student studying at SEED, I recently embarked on an exciting internship journey. Here, I’d like to share my experience on how I prepared for it, and how it’s been shaping my career and personal growth.

Discovering the Internship Opportunity

On our course field trip, we had the opportunity to visit various organizations, particularly in the development and humanitarian sectors, where we were able to gain valuable insights into their missions and operations through engaging presentations. The trip also opened doors for potential employment opportunities and connections. Shortly after, our program advisor informed us about an incredible internship opportunity that was a perfect fit for our studies.

Securing an internship as a master’s degree student, especially as an international student, can be challenging due to work-hour restrictions and the language barrier. This made the opportunity even more valuable to me. With invaluable support from Career Services, I refined my CV and cover letter to showcase my strengths and passion for the role. I used the Career Connect pathway to prepare for potential interview questions and attended events especially for international students to boost my confidence during interviews. The abundant resources on our career website were incredibly helpful, given my limited familiarity with the humanities sector, allowing me to present myself as a strong candidate.

Adapting to a New Sector

With a background in IT, I initially found the transition to the humanities sector challenging. There were many new terms and abbreviations to learn, and the sector had its own unique processes. However, I discovered that my skills were in demand for tasks such as data management and database setup. My line manager, who also served as my work tutor, played a crucial role in this transition. He was incredibly supportive, assigning me tasks that not only leveraged my existing skills but also pushed me to learn and grow within the organization.

Having been working since May, one of the most valuable aspects of this internship has been getting familiar with organizational processes and criteria. I learned how to set up various documents and ensure they meet specific standards, which is strongly related to what I was learning in my course. It has allowed me to apply the theoretical knowledge from my courses in practice, such as during meetings and project setups. Additionally, as an international student, this role has provided an excellent opportunity to practice business English and enhance my communication skills in a professional setting.

Looking Ahead

Managing my internship, a weekend part-time job, exams, and my dissertation has been demanding, but also incredibly fulfilling. Each day is packed with activities that advance my academic and professional skills, keeping me optimistic about the future. Working in this internship has been an incredibly enriching experience. I feel more confident that the skills and knowledge I have gained will be invaluable as I move forward in my career. I am grateful for this opportunity and experience for it has not only given me a clearer vision of my professional goals, but also the steps I need to take to achieve them.

Written by Xinyue, current MSc Organisational Change and Development at The University of Manchester