The Internship Programme makes it possible for European students to do work experience in London or Dublin as part of their studies. As part of the Erasmus+ funded initiative, ADC College will organise work placements within your industry and hook you up with contacts that can make all the difference in your future career. One of the aspects of the Internship Programme is that you will have a supervisor introducing you to your new workplace, teaching you the ropes and managing your development. Depending on the organisation, you might work closely with your supervisor or they will give you a lot of freedom, trusting you to do the job independently. However the setup, you should make the most of the opportunity and get off on the right foot with your supervisor.
We always go on about the importance of preparing ahead and this applies to meeting your supervisor as well. You don’t have to be an expert on what they do for a living, but they will expect you to have done some research about the company and not be completely clueless during the introduction. For example, you could have a look around the website and understand the structure and general purpose of the organisation. Having an idea about what you will be doing for the coming weeks will also make you less nervous and give you a bit more confidence upon your first meeting.
2. First impressions
A firm handshake is always a good way to start. Look your supervisor in the eye, smile, shake their hand and introduce yourself. Simple, right? Oh, and remember that British and Irish people love a bit of small talk. It doesn't hurt to ask how their day has been going or if they had a nice weekend.
The British and Irish are known for their friendliness and fondness for the how-do-you-do’s, please and thank-you’s. If you want to ask your supervisor a question, start out with "excuse me, could I please ask you about something?", rather than going straight to the point. If you didn’t catch the answer, don't blurt out "What?" as it is considered rude. Instead use “Pardon?”, “What’s that?” or "Could you repeat that, please?". If you feel lost and generally confused by the social codes, smiling and being open about the fact that you have just arrived in the country will put people at ease.
4. Show interest and ambition
Showing that you are keen and have the ambition to learn and develop is often more important than having talent or being intelligent. Listen closely to what your supervisor has to say and don’t get ahead of yourself, thinking you know all the answers already. The truth is that you are at the start of your career and have a lot to learn. Your supervisor will respect you for showing humility and taking their opinion and knowledge to heart. Who knows? Maybe your supervisor will become a mentor of sorts - someone whose advice you will remember for the rest of your working life.
5. Working independently
Your supervisor is undoubtedly busy with their own work, as well as the responsibility of looking after you, and might not always have time to help you. Instead of thinking that they are not giving you the time of day, try to find a solution to the problem yourself, for example by doing some research or asking someone else who seems to have more time on their hands. You can also be proactive and put forward suggestions, for example organising a messy cupboard or come up with a twitter campaign. Just remember to run it by your supervisor first.
Your supervisor expects you to be polite, but don’t be afraid to be honest if they ask for your opinion, even if it goes against their own. They might not agree with you or take your advice, but they will respect you for being open with them and know that they can trust you to tell your honest opinion on future matters.
7. Go the extra mile
When you have been at work for a few days, you might notice routines or certain patterns to the way people work. Does your supervisor have an overwhelming workload? Is he or she fond of a cup of tea with their morning report? Is there a schedule that always needs to be printed before the morning meeting? Go ahead and do it! People always appreciate a helping hand, especially when they don’t have to ask you for it.
8. Ask for a reference
Don’t forget to ask your supervisor for a reference at the end of your internship! They are not obliged to give you one, but if you have followed these steps and worked hard during your placement, there is no reason for them to turn you down. Good luck! And remember, your supervisor is a person, just like you.
ADC College organises Internship and Teacher Development Programmes in London and Dublin, eligible for funding from Erasmus+. Don't hesitate to contact us if you would like more information about what we do and how to get funding. Call a Country Manager today on +44 2084249424 or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.