Choosing my International Internship
In April 2018, I received an email from the Go Abroad team about internships in Asia for LJMU students. You can imagine my excitement, right? I immediately sprang into application mode, and began planning the perfect application for this opportunity. It came to submission and I felt confident in how I had presented myself and succinctly evidenced what I could offer LJMU in allowing me to represent the University in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.
I refreshed my emails for weeks on end, waiting for the congratulatory subject line. However, all that I read was; ‘Thank you for your application, unfortunately…’ and my heart completely sank. I went into a state of feeling that I had completely failed. However, was determined to undertake an internship, so I contacted the Go Abroad team and told them my predicament. I didn’t want to spend my second year summer in my part-time job, waiting for someone to come to me with an internship or an idea. It wasn’t going to happen.
Applying for an Erasmus+ Internship
After a few hours of deliberation, I had decided my route. The LJMU Go Abroad team told me of an agency in Malta that the University was in partnership with; ‘Stage Malta’. The team gave me their contact details and told me to apply straight away if I was completely determined to go forward in pursuing an internship. By this point, other students travelling to Malta had already had their places secured by Stage Malta and were pretty much ready for their departure. In essence, I had just over a month to secure a placement, get all my documentation prepared, apply for the Erasmus+ grant, save up enough money to fund my trip, and prepare for the trip of a lifetime. About a week after sending in my application, I had my Skype interview.
Stage Malta were probably the most warm and helpful company I could have imagined to be in partnership with. They guided me through the incredibly swift application process and gave me all the information I needed, including my accommodation options in Malta. When interning in Malta, you can live in a shared house, with a host family, or in a residence, all of which differ in price range. I opted to live in a shared house with my own private bedroom, and used my wages from my part-time job to fund this.
After the interview, I began to research media companies across Malta who I would like to be placed with. However, never in my wildest dreams did I believe that I would be placed with the company that I was; I was given an internship at Malta’s national newspaper, The Times of Malta. As you can imagine, I called every single family member I could think of, sharing my excitement. I secured my departure date of the 18th of June with an arrival date back home of the 20th of August. My departure date could not fly around quickly enough. The time in between my placement acceptance and my departure was filled with departure meetings with the Go Abroad team sorting the necessary paperwork to secure my Erasmus+ grant. Finally, my Erasmus+ funding was secured, my documentation was finally completed and it was time for me to jet off on a completely new adventure.
Tips for Erasmus+ Internships
The LJMU Go Abroad team are very helpful in guiding students through their internship applications, but here are a few tips I have learned;
- During my interview, I said that I wanted to pursue journalism or media and communications. However, it is important when having your interview that you give at least two industry preferences, as agencies sometimes cannot secure your number one choice.
- Research the country you are visiting prior to your interview, especially how your desired industry has developed and generated a presence in the country. This will show that you have made a fully informed decision as to why your desired country will give you the experience and opportunities related to your field.
- Since working an 8-5 job, I am now fully aware of how much this time away from a workspace can help your creativity flow and help to wind down after a long week. The best way to do this, I found, was to spend time with my housemates and socialise as often as I could. There are lots of travel ideas on the LJMU Go Abroad Instagram!
- During my Erasmus+ internship, me and my housemates would look for affordable adventures to do as a group every weekend. It’s still possible to travel on a budget!
What I did for my Internship in Malta
The morning I left for my Erasmus+ internship, I experienced every emotion you could think of. It’s a very daunting prospect thinking of being away from home for over two months, with new faces, in a completely new environment, being independent and working in a new industry. Nevertheless, I could not have been more excited.
During my internship at the Times of Malta newspaper, I worked within the editorial department; researching, constructing, and editing pieces for the following day’s newspaper. Our department edited around 16 pages worth of news every day, which meant that I had to work to very strict time constraints. While challenging, the team were wonderful, and gave me help and advice wherever necessary and answered any questions I had.
Not only was trusted with editing, but I was also given the opportunity to provide content for the newspaper. I was published four times in The Times, with my articles ranging from new contemporary art spaces in Malta, to the LGBT community. I was trusted with conducting interviews myself, leaving the office space to retrieve quotes from the locals, and to visit the wonderful spaces I was writing about. You can find links to my articles on the Times of Malta website.
My Monday-Friday routine consisted of me waking up at 6:30am, going to work for an amazing newspaper, and then ending the day at 5pm. My weekends were filled with a new adventure every time Friday evening came around. We had decided as a household to visit somewhere new every Saturday or Sunday, as really, we only had nine sets of weekends to travel around this beautiful island. We visited places such as Valletta, Mellieha, Gozo, St Julian’s, St Paul’s Bay, Mriehel, Mdina, Sliema and many more.
What I Learned from Interning Abroad
The summer I spent interning in Europe was simply life changing. I was given opportunities beyond my wildest dreams, not only in terms of my internship at The Times but also in terms of the chance to see some incredible sights. When working, studying or volunteering abroad, you begin to learn a lot more about yourself than you originally knew. The experience I had shaped and moulded me as not only a human being, but also as an LJMU student. I am now more driven than ever to give more back to this wonderful community and support system, all thanks to the Go Abroad team who were there every step of the way.
The work (and life) during my Erasmus+ internship I will carry with me for life. If I had not had the initial knock back of being unsuccessful for one internship, it would not have driven me to fight for another. Therefore, the best advice I can give to anyone wishing to work abroad is, to never give up – there is always something on the horizon. Just see the Go Abroad Twitter account for a list of the never ending international opportunities for LJMU students.