So, you want to do an internship, but don’t know where to start? Well, hey, hola, hello, it is I, Sam, ready to bless you with another blog. This time it’s about internships! Internships are awesome and can be done in two different ways, the first is your programme offers you internships you can follow through them or, the second way, is finding your own internship, be it in Sweden or another country. To provide you with the best information possible, I’ve done both! Let’s start with internships through your programme.
At the start of my academic year at UU, I got an entire week filled with information. The first day, especially, I got to learn about the different learning platforms, how to apply for courses, and how my programme schedule could look like. On this very first day, they told us that we could do an internship for credits if we wished to. So, from the very first day the university was great in giving me an overview of when I could do an internship within my 2-year schedule. But what do I do? Where do I apply? Well, the very first chance my programme coordinator hears about internship options for us, she would send us an email with the differing internships offered by the programme. I study Sociology of Education, so all my internships were related to education in some type of way. She would send us the internship descriptions and how to apply as well as the deadline to apply. For my programme, I had to write a motivation letter as to why I believe the internship fits with my background but also what I could learn from it. In my year, I applied for two internships. One about student mobility and the other, I honestly don’t remember… oops. BUT, I sent a motivation letter for both, it didn’t need to be long (half a page max), and also told my programme coordinator which I would prefer of the two. After some time, the internship supervisor contacted me to let me know I got accepted for my first choice, hooray! Most internships in my department look for a group of students, so I got accepted with a group of other students and we got to work on a project together.
But what can a university offer you? Well for me, it was mostly research. Professors, PhD students or companies would like to research a specific topic and students could apply to help with their research and choose one that interested them. I could also choose how long I wanted to do the internship for and for how many credits. I could choose to do it for 7,5EC or 15EC, for a few weeks or stretch it out for an entire semester. It was up to me how I wanted to use my time and credits. This is communicated with my internship supervisor and my programme coordinator.
For my internship, my group worked on finding previous research in Sweden about international student mobility We located trends and presented our results to a group of PhD students and professors. It was very valuable research experience, and our work felt appreciated by the researchers. At the end, we had a nice dinner with the professors provided by the university. But after this, I also wanted some experience in the work field. So, I went to look for another internship, this time without the universities’ help.
Finding your own internship
So, you want to do an internship but your programme coordinator sent you a list of internships and you don’t like them. What do you do? Give up? NO, you look for your own internship! Finding an internship on your own can be difficult. What are you looking for? Where do you go? Who do you contact? How do you contact them? All very valid and scary questions.
Now, to start with. You need to kind of know what you’re looking for, so you know where to look. I knew I had to find something related to education, so I went to the most obvious place: a university. I contacted them through their main contact information on the website and asked to arrange a meeting with whoever is in charge with interns at the university. In this case, it was the dean. I got a meeting, spoke to her and explained everything I had to offer in terms of my educational knowledge and background. She then told me they’re looking for an educational researcher assistant and voila, I have an internship.
It sounds very easy, but honestly it took a lot of emails and lots of asking who to talk to, where to go and especially, what can, and will I do? But after lots of emails I finally got in touch with my internship supervisor. He sent me an overview of what I can do for the University and a schedule of how many hours this would take in total. This was VERY important because I had to send the University of Uppsala an overview and description of everything I’d be doing at the other University and this had to align with the amount of EC’s. After sending it, I had to wait for it to be approved by the university. Once it was approved, I could plan when to go back home for my internship. But if it was not approved, this doesn’t mean I can’t do it, but it would mean that the internship would not count for my degree and would be a separate project. So, getting the university’s approval is important to get credits and to pair it with your degree.
Now, it’s important to know I did not look for an internship in Sweden. I found one back in my own country because I am finishing my Master and was going to go home anyway, so I might as well go back home, finish my thesis and internship, and then hopefully find a job here at the university. But know that many Swedish companies prefer Swedish speaking students, so finding an internship or even a job can be very difficult. BUT I also know that in Stockholm, there are many English-speaking organizations and that finding an internship there might be easier. So, if you’re limited in traveling because of your visa or residence permit, and you would like to do an internship outside of Uppsala, you can look in Stockholm or even other parts of Sweden.
ALSO, very very important: most internships are unpaid. Especially, all internships through the university are also unpaid. So, I would suggest not to expect money when applying for an internship. It is a time to build experience in your field which can be very helpful in the future.
That was it folks! I hope you enjoyed my internship experiences, and it helps you a bit in how internships can work at Uppsala University. Thanks for reading and goodbye!!