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About the Summer Internship Programme | The Careers Service About the Summer Internship Programme – Oxford University Careers Service
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Overview

The Summer Internship Programme provides access to hundreds of internship opportunities during the long (summer) vacation. They are offered by our international alumni, by multi-national corporations, by world-leading NGOs, by cutting-edge research institutions and many other organisations, and all are exclusively available to Oxford University students. Since the programme’s inception, students have undertaken internships in over 40 countries and have gained valuable work experience while travelling to exciting and exotic locations. The Summer Internship Programme also gives you the chance to explore work experience options in a variety of sectors in the UK. The programme is open to all current, matriculated Oxford University students, undergraduates and postgraduates, including those in their final year of study. Visiting students are not eligible to apply.

The internships are advertised from the beginning of Hilary term each year.

What do the internships offer?

Although every internship is unique, we try to ensure that they provide the following common elements:

  • Full-time work for 4-12 weeks during the summer vacation
  • A defined project, which creates real value for the host organisation and a valuable learning experience for the student
  • Interaction with an assigned supervisor or mentor within the host organisation
  • A stipend, or some assistance with travel or accommodation
  • Payment at the national minimal wage or above, if the internship is in the UK and in the for-profit sector
  • An international experience or access to an internship placement in the UK that is not readily available through alternative internship programmes

From first year undergraduates to DPhil researchers, students in all areas and at all levels of study enjoy the benefits of undertaking an internship.

Taking part in the programme can help you…

Gain an in-depth insight into your sector of choice

“Coming here was absolutely the best way to spend my summer. I’ve learned a lot and confirmed my suspicions that curating is the best job in the world! It’s been an incredible experience and I’m so thankful for the opportunity”

– Gemma Sykes, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-Upon-Avon

“The internship at Tradewind Books has helped me understand the publishing industry and gave me the necessary experience to be confident I could get a job in publishing in the future. I liked working in the field and am seriously considering it as my career path. I cannot stress enough how important it is to be exposed to an industry before one decides to pursue a career in it, and how much it helps to clear one’s mind about such a decision”

– Olga Lenczewska, Tradewind Books, Vancouver, Canada

Try out a new location

I had an amazing time on my internship and was very sorry to leave. I loved China, it’s a spectacular country with so much to see and do. I’ll always remember Nanjian county’s breath taking natural beauty and the friendliness of its inhabitants. I would love to go and work in China again”

– Martin Edwards, Tsinghua University Rural Programme, Beijing, China

Develop your career goals

“It’s hard not to be over-enthusiastic in describing how incredible an experience this has been thus far, and how sad I will be for it to end. I spent a lot of my childhood living in Zimbabwe, and coming to Uganda has been like coming home but with the added satisfaction of being able to use skills that are hopefully making a difference. My desire to apply my legal education in a development related context are certainly confirmed, as is my desire to apply for postgraduate study that looks into human rights law”

– Rose Worster, African Prisons Project, Uganda

Get a job

“This internship has been a very useful experience for me, as it was my first attempt working in a laboratory that specialised in DNA synthesis. Being a very small company, I was able to work closely with all members of the company and everyone was very welcoming from the beginning. I enjoyed the laboratory work very much, and I was very pleased to be offered a full-time role after a few weeks”

– Haewon Song, ATDBio, Oxford

Meet new people and visit new places

I thought that the internship was incredible. It enabled me to learn and develop my knowledge of climate science, as well as providing a rich cultural experience in a country I had not previously travelled to. I would love to return to visit the people I have met and to practise my Portuguese!”

– Charlotte Dormon, National Institute for Space Research, Brazil

Make a meaningful contribution

“My time at Muktangan has been incredible: I couldn’t have asked for a better internship. I was able to carry out projects that mattered to me, whilst making a contribution to the organisation, and I was supported on each and every step of the way whilst doing it. Before I went to Muktangan, I thought that I would like to work within the education sector, with a particular focus on international education. My time in Mumbai has further strengthened my resolve to realise this ambition, as well as making me think that I might like to return to India for work in the future”

– Jack Noble, Muktangan (Paragon Charitable Trust), India

Past interns' experiences

The Summer Internship Programme experience

Our new interactive map lets you explore all the internships from the last three years, and read about our interns’ experiences. It gives you a great idea of what you might be doing on the programme, and many of the internships will be offered by the same organisations next year.

You can filter the results to see what’s been available in different sectors; zoom in to read about interns’ experiences of different countries; or search the map for keywords – like your college, to see what people you know have done…

Video of students’ experiences

This video, made by a Moritz-Heyman scholar, gives a great quick introduction of what you might do on the programme.

See the internships through our interns’ eyes…

Each year we run a competition for The Summer Internship Programme interns’ photographs of what they saw and experienced during their placements. Here’s a selection of our favourites!

  • Hannah Lovell, Intern at St Hugh’s College Burma Summer School, Yangon, Burma

 

Past yearbooks

The interactive map, mentioned above, replaces our annual yearbooks and includes all the content of our 2016 and 2015 yearbooks – as well as students’ experiences in 2017. If you want to look further back, however, they are archived below!

Find out more

More information about applying for opportunities on the Summer Internship Programme is available on our webpages:

Audio intro

If you’d rather learn about the Summer Internship Programme through an MP3, you can listen to the recording of our talk at International Careers Day in January 2017, where we introduce the programme.

Get Summer Internship Programme email alerts

Like and follow our Facebook page to keep updated with deadlines and new internship opportunities. To sign up to our email alert list, fill in the form below.

  • Please enter a value between 2015 and 2025.

Contact us

internships@careers.ox.ac.uk
01865 274 646

The Internship Office

The Careers Service
University of Oxford
56 Banbury Road
Oxford
OX2 6PA

This information was last updated on 09 March 2018.
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Recent blogs about About the Summer Internship Programme

Trinity micro-internships have now launched!

Blogged by Rosanna Mills on April 18, 2018.

It’s the time of year to be thinking about work experience, and to help you on your way our Trinity term Micro-Internship Programme has now launched! If you have a busy academic schedule but you are still looking for work experience, or want to gain some professional skills and extra points for your CV, then look no further. This programme is open to both undergraduates and postgraduates, and here are some of the placements on offer in weeks 9 and 10:

  • Conduct research with the University’s Heritage Partnerships Office for the Hidden Objects Project
  • Gain insight into an independent consultancy and the world of politics with BlondeMoney
  • Hands-on scientific research and analysis with Adapt Immune
  • Assist with the pre-production stage of a film with Daria Martin – Fine Art Films
  • And much more!

Keep an eye out for our sector lists over the coming days!

In brief… What are micro-internships?

2-5 day work experience placements each term during weeks 9 and 10, exclusive to Oxford students (matriculated students are eligible to apply). Although voluntary, host organisations must reimburse local travel and lunch expenses on production of receipts. Full programme information can be found on our Micro-Internship Programme webpage.

How do I apply?

You can view and apply to all micro-internships on CareerConnect, submitting a one-page CV and 300-word personal statement. The deadline this term is midday, Thursday 3 May (please note that this is earlier than usual due to the bank holiday).

Can I get help with my application?

Absolutely! Please see our Internship Office Application Support Document and Employer Feedback on Student Micro-Internship Applications. Up until the deadline, we will be running Application Support Sessions for CV and personal statement advice – view and book on CareerConnect.

Any questions? Get in touch by emailing micro-internships@careers.ox.ac.uk

NEW Summer Internships now available!

Blogged by Rachel Ruscombe-King on April 11, 2018.

The second ‘late batch’ of internships available through the Summer Internship Programme is now available on CareerConnect. As ever, we have a fantastic array of opportunities on offer exclusively to Oxford students. So if you haven’t worked out plans for summer yet, it’s not too late. Search and apply on CareerConnect before the new deadline of 30 April  2018.

Here’s a little taster of the many opportunities on offer:

Students may apply for an unlimited number of internships with a 30th April deadline. For more information and even more internships, head over to CareerConnect. For help with your application, please see our handy guidance document.

Browse New ‘late batch’ Summer Internships by Sector!

Blogged by Rachel Ruscombe-King on March 20, 2018.

The momentum of the Summer Internship Programme continues apace, with more than 70 internships currently being advertised exclusively to Oxford students in our first ‘late batch’ of internship applications. Students may apply to an unlimited number of ‘late’ internships with a deadline of April 9 2018.

There are some fabulous opportunities available such as banking in Laos, employability research at the University of Pretoria, and computer gaming design for an art installation in the Czech Republic. Please browse our sector lists to help you find your summer of a lifetime!

Arts and Heritage

Computing

Education

Energy and the Environment

Entrepreneurship, Finance and Consulting

Science

As ever, please email internships@careers.ox.ac.uk with any questions, and don’t forget to like and follow our facebook page to keep updated.

How can I make the most of my internship?

Blogged by Rosanna Mills on March 8, 2018.

If you’ll be embarking on a micro-internship in the next couple of weeks or another placement soon (or if you just want some food for thought), in this blog you’ll find some tips and advice on how you can get the most from your experience: before, during and after, and in the context of your wider career ideas.

First thing’s first: why do an internship?

There’s no one right or wrong answer to this question. If you have already applied for or secured an internship, then you most likely have an idea as to why you are embarking on one. However, there may be other reasons that you haven’t considered, and realising these could help you to maximise your opportunities. In brief, here are some of the main reasons:

  • Direct focus on or pursuit of a particular role
  • Insight into an organisation or sector
  • Add experience to your CV
  • Make contacts within the industry
  • Develop professional/employability or personal skills
  • Pursue an interest (this doesn’t have to be career related)
  • Gain commercial awareness
  • Complement your academic work
  • Explore and try something new

Before the internship

Your internship doesn’t just begin on your first day: there is plenty you can be doing beforehand. It’s a good idea to be prepared – Michaelmas 2017 micro-interns reported this sentiment in their feedback – but this doesn’t necessarily mean devoting hours to prepare, particularly with a busy academic life. Grab a piece of paper and write a quick to-do list depending on your upcoming project and what you already know. It’s a good idea to think about the following:

  • Research the sector and organisation – what can you find out online or from previous interns?
  • Do you need to brush up on any skills?
  • Do you know details such as hours of work, location, the dress code?
  • If interning abroad, do you know what the working culture is like?
  • Do you have any questions? Don’t be afraid to contact your supervisor. Often, they are willing to help and this also shows how proactive you are.
  • What goals do you want to achieve? It’s worth discussing these with your supervisor before, and you can evaluate your development in a debrief at the end of the internship.

Commercial awareness (and other jargon)

Terms such as ‘transferable skills’, ‘employability’ and ‘commercial awareness’ are often bandied around – but what are they and how do they impact you? We recommend our Octane: Develop Your Employability Skills webpage, which gives a wider understanding and can help you with the next steps. During our recent ‘Making the Most of Your Internship’ workshop, commercial awareness was explored at length. Employers consider this skill as needing significant development among Oxford students – therefore, it’s worth emphasising as something to think about when doing your research. Commercial awareness is understanding the context in which an organisation works, and how this affects its daily activities and decision making. There are various short and long-term activities you can be doing to build this up over time (see Octane for ideas); but don’t worry if you think that you aren’t very commercially aware in advance of your micro-internship, as this in itself is part of building the skill.

Accommodation: check. Travel: check

Practicalities are important, so make sure you begin organising these as soon as possible. This may include logistics such as accommodation or flights, and the finer details such as research into country culture and picking up a bit of the language if interning abroad. Funding is a major aspect to consider – do you know where you can source it if you need it? For visa advice, you can go to the Student Information and Advisory Service. The Internship Office has information on our webpages about practical arrangements and funding through our own programmes and some external sources.

During the internship

Placements go by quickly, so it’s beneficial to have in mind the goals you want to achieve. During your placement, make notes (perhaps keep a diary) of what you are doing, what you are learning, and how you can develop for next time. This diary can also be used for other snippets of information – perhaps that conversation you had with a colleague about the industry – to boost your awareness and knowledge.

Ask questions! Working in a new environment can be daunting, particularly if it’s your first internship. However, it’s important to remember that generally, employers are welcoming, willing to share their experiences and answer your questions. Showing an interest demonstrates your proactivity – remember, employers are looking for interns who are genuinely interested in the role and organisation, and who demonstrate enthusiasm. An internship isn’t just about getting the work done, but getting to know your colleagues and any fellow interns, even if you aren’t directly working with them. Many people love talking about their jobs, and it’s a great way for you to gain some commercial awareness, too.

Networking

Networking is seen as another daunting prospect, but it isn’t always formal receptions with CEOs in suits. It can be as simple as an informal chat over coffee – sometimes you don’t even realise that you’re ‘networking’. Remember, though, that networking = building AND maintaining contacts. We recommend that before you embark on your placement, you read our insightful networking briefing, written by one of our Careers Advisers.

Remote working

Previous micro-interns have commented on the self-discipline required for remote working. You are often responsible for your own work structure, which isn’t always as easy as it sounds. However, you can use the skills you already have in organising your academic work. It might be helpful to set personal deadlines – as long as you stick to them. Make sure you have a clear separation between your academic and internship work, and organise other activities carefully around it. And don’t forget the importance of having a break!

After the internship

Just as the internship begins before your first day, the experience continues after your final day. So you wrote that diary during the week, but now what? Read your notes after the internship and write a list of everything that you could add to your CV, before narrowing it down and tailoring the evidence depending on what the CV is for. Keep hold of your list – you never know when it might come in handy. Updating your CV straight away means that everything is still fresh in your mind.

A few tips:

  • What were your responsibilities? Be specific – CVs aren’t job descriptions.
  • What did you achieve? Don’t sell yourself short. Achievements, for example, can be represented by numbers. An employer will see the difference between ‘organised a conference’ and ‘organised a conference attended by 300 researchers’.
  • What were the outcomes of your work? If you wrote a report, how was it used? If you’re not sure, contact your host to find out (maintaining that connection!)

Tailoring CVs and cover letters for each application is vital. You can find advice on the Careers Service website on CVs, cover letters, demonstrating that you fit the job criteria, and more.

Networking (again) and job prospects

So we talked about maintaining that network. At our workshop, ‘Making the Most of Your Internship’, our guest speaker completed a micro-internship which then translated into a full-time position. How did she achieve this? In part, by constantly demonstrating her enthusiasm, initiative (some of her ideas were implemented at the company), and work ethic throughout the week, but also due to maintaining contact afterwards. The speaker talked of how she was proactive in updating the host organisation on her academic projects that related to the company’s work, and openly discussed with her host that she would like to work for them. It’s important to pick your moments and perhaps get advice on how best to go about this (one of our Careers Advisers would be happy to help), and you may wish to firstly consult our briefing on making speculative approaches.

If you take away one thing, it’s to enjoy the experience

It might feel that there is so much to remember and pressure to have a ‘perfect’ internship, but if you remember one thing, it’s to enjoy yourself! Yes, it is a time to develop and learn, but also to go for it and have fun with the experience. If your internship isn’t quite what you expected or not the role for you, then you will have still gained something along the way. If you’d like any more pointers, our handout from the ‘Making the Most of Your Internship’ workshop collates key advice from Michaelmas 2017 micro-interns. There is also plenty of helpful advice on the Careers Service website (including our essential internship guidance), and our Careers Advisers are happy to discuss with you your careers ideas and any upcoming internships.

Good luck with your placements!

Next week: Making the Most of Your Internship workshop

Blogged by Rosanna Mills on February 28, 2018.
  • When: Wednesday 7 March, 12:30
  • Where: The Careers Service, 56 Banbury Road

How can I maximise my opportunities during an internship? What can I do to impress my employer? How can I develop my skills?

Next week, the Internship Office is hosting ‘Making the Most of Your Internship’ to answer these questions. During this workshop, you will have the chance to discuss what you can be doing before, during, and after an internship; what employers are looking for; why doing an internship is beneficial; transferrable skills; and more.

You’ll also hear from one of our Careers Advisers on commercial awareness – what this is, why it’s important, and how it relates to you – and a past micro-intern will be joining us to share their experience and top tips. Finally, what better chance to ask your internship questions and meet fellow students embarking on a placement?

Please logon to CareerConnect to book (places are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis) and email any queries to Rosanna Mills at micro-internships@careers.ox.ac.uk. Whilst this event is particularly suitable for those undertaking a micro-internship, all students are welcome to attend.

We look forward to meeting you next week!

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