Are you thinking about doing an internship in the third year of your bachelor? But you don’t really know yet how this exactly works? Then you should definitely read further! Maarten Siepel, a third year Media Studies student, shares his experiences of doing an internship at OOG (Omroep Organisatie Groningen).
Why did you choose to do an internship in your minor?
“I think that an internship can be very interesting for people who already have a kind of idea about what they want to do after this study. I want to do the master Journalism after this bachelor. So it was a great opportunity to already get a bit of experience, or to experience if I actually like what I want to do. I did an internship at OOG, which is like the local news organization here in Groningen. When I look at how the time at OOG was, I have a great feeling about it because I really learned a lot, also of the practical sides of journalism in this extend. Especially because here in Media Studies you really get a lot of theory and not a lot of practical things, of course, practical things like doing research and stuff, but not in other types of fields. So for me it was a great opportunity to do that.”
“For me it was like making a news item for television. So, what it was like every day, we would all get together in the sort of newsroom and we would discuss potential topics that we could make a television item of. It could be about a political thing or a sports thing. It could be all types of things, if it was relevant to the city of Groningen and the couple of villagers near the city. So then I would pick a news topic and just call the people I wanted to interview and set up a meeting to do an interview. And afterwards when the interview was done I would edit the video myself, and then post it on YouTube and then eventually it would also get on television. In the beginning it was quite hard, especially because in Media Studies you don’t get courses in audiovisual content in the sense that you learn how to edit, how to film, or such kind of things. Because of this internship, I could get a little bit of the basics of it. There were also other people who did an internship, but they were from the Hanze for example, and they already had experience in these kinds of things, so in the beginning it was quite hard for me, but finally it was a great experience. So yeah, it was a bit like that in the daily basis.”
What did your internship entail, what were your activities within OOG?
So you learned the editing skills more through practice during your internship?
“Yes, and that is also why I think for some people an internship can be really interesting, because these types of things you wouldn’t learn in a minor or in this bachelor I guess.”
“Just like I said that you really get to learn more practical kinds of skills, which you wouldn’t learn in the University. And step a bit out of your comfort zone, and to meet new people and have new experiences, and that you do not only learn things for your Media Studies in that sense, or Journalism skills in my case. But also that you grow as a person more, that was for me the case I guess.”
What were your positive experiences?
Did you have any negative experiences?
“A big difference is that when you are following some courses you have like 6 or 8 hours a week in which you do courses, and of course you have assignments which you need to do. But when you do an internship, in my case, it was just like four days from 8 o’clock till 17 o’clock. So it can be a long couple of days sometimes, especially if you do not have a nice day or something, but I think that is the negative thing. But for the most it was mainly positive things that I experienced.”
“Yes, you have a lot of time I guess as a student, most of the weeks. Now you really have to be already in the work field and make long hours.”
So it’s more like getting used to the different time schedule?
Did you also have to do things outside of those work hours?
“No. There were some cases, because I already knew some people who work there, that I could also do outside activities or something, but mostly not. It is just those hours in the day and then when you are done at 5 o’clock or half past 5 or something then you are just free. You don’t have to do essays in the weekends and stuff, so that maybe is an advantage of it.”
“I guess from my experience, we get from Media Studies information about it and of course you have to look up things yourself. Especially I guess when you want to do a minor, because you have to choose what minor you want to do. For me, personally, it was already clear that I wanted to do an internship because I was already doing some little things for OOG that I could do my internship there. So for me it was much easier. So I cannot speak for other people, but I guess that the study helps you with quite the introduction to it. In the end, if you want to do a minor, you have to choose it yourself. And I think that can be hard sometimes, especially if you do not know what you want to do.”
How did the procedure of choosing your minor go? Was there enough information provided by the faculty of arts on career minor or did you had to look much information up yourself?
Did you get help with finding a place for an internship, with the connections for instance, like how did you get in?
“For me it was quite easy, because I just asked and they already said yes. So I didn’t need to do like a job interview. But I can imagine that for a lot of people that can be quite a stressful thing to do, and I also think that you need to findan internship yourself. So, in that way I don’t think that the studies provide you with a couple of companies where you can do that. So you really have to look up for yourself what you want to do. In the end, for me personally it was not quite hard to do, but I can imagine that for some it could be really hard. And especially maybe also for international students, if they want to do an internship near Groningen, because I do not know if many companies want people who don’t speak Dutch. I am not sure about that, but that could be the case.”
“Yes, I don’t think that OOG would like use international students for those vacancies in internships I guess.”
Because in OOG there are only Dutch people?
I understood that instead of following courses for 15 ECTS in the first block and doing the actual internship in the second block, you did your internship for half a year. Could you explain this a bit more?
“Of course, that is the choice that I made. A disadvantage of that, is that I need to collect those 15 points now from next September. So I’m now writing my BA thesis, and normally I would be done with the bachelor in June, but yeah I still need to get those 15 points. That could be a disadvantage. But one block is like 7 weeks or something, and I thought personally that an internship for 7 weeks would be a little bit too short to really get to know the field. Because you always need like three weeks of sort of introduction to start of your internship and then you get I think comfortable where you work. And maybe 7 weeks can be too short then, because after 3 weeks you feel comfortable and then you only have 4 weeks left to really learn and experience everything. So that is why I choose half a year to do the internship.”
“Yeah, I guess so. One person provided me with a couple of documents that OOG needed to sign or something, and also I think I needed approval from the University. But I don’t think that it was quite hard, because the University and the people at Media Studies knew OOG already. So I think that they thought that it would be fine. But yes, I needed approval I guess.”
How did this work with the University, did you have to get approval first?
Looking back at your internship, what is the main thing you gained from it?
“I concluded afterwards that I really want to do the master in Journalism. So, for me it was like okay I’m trying to look if this is interesting and if I like this, and when I was done, it was like a conclusion, a closed book, like yeah okay I want to do the master. And I think for people who have like the same idea, that it can be very interesting to do the internship, because you really get to know the field and you really can conclude for yourself if you like it or not. Because that is I think the most important thing that you actually enjoy what you’re doing. So, yeah that is the most positive thing that I gained from the internship. And of course what I already mentioned a lot like the more practical sides of it.”
“I am not entirely sure. I know that you can choose the Journalism Master in English or Dutch, and I think I am going to do it in Dutch, so I do not know the differences between the two. But I think they actually like it when you have followed the Journalism stream in the second year of the study. Because they expect that you have completed a sort of minor in Journalism already. That is for people from the Hanze, but also people from Media Studies who haven’t followed the course. Because in the third year you could do the minor in Journalism then I guess. But I am not completely sure.”
Because for the Journalism Master do you need some experience within a company?
No me neither, but I heard that you need at least some experience in Journalism before you could do the master.
“Yes, because there are only a limited amount of people who can follow the study. So I guess, if you have a little bit of experience or especially if you have followed the courses like Introduction to Journalism and other journalistic courses from Media Studies, I think that you already have an advantage or a head start in relation to the other people.”
“Yeah, definitely. If you’re Dutch and you want to do something in Journalism now and you also want to stay in Groningen, I guess that OOG is really a great place. Because there are also the couple of bigger news organizations like RTV Noord, but at OOG you really get to learn and they really give you a lot of freedom and also time to grow. And just like I said, if you really have a kind of idea which thing you want to do after this bachelor, I think then it is a great thing to do and you really can learn more than if you just choose a minor.”
Would you recommend doing an internship?
What advice would you give to people interested in doing an internship or career minor in general?
“Just do it. If you have the thing that you want to do it and you think it is a great opportunity to do it, then you can do it now. Of course, you can also do internships in your master, but for some masters it could be interesting to already have a little bit of experience in the field. Especially now when you’re young. When you do the internship when you’re 19 or 20 years old, if you already have a little bit of experience, I think that may help you a lot in your master.”
“It depends, of course, on if you want to do an internship in Groningen or in another country. If you do not know a lot of companies, just google first and see where you can get. Maybe it’s more difficult for international students, but just look it up and show some interest in the company. Maybe you could also ask people from the study, like Erika for example, ask if she knows places, because they already have experience of course with students in the past who wanted to do an internship, so maybe you could ask them.”
Do you have any tips in finding a place to do an internship?