I enjoyed working in partnership with academics, educational developers, and other key stakeholders. This was a great opportunity to better understand the wider University context and improve academic support for current and future students. It was very gratifying to be given so much responsibility in the internship and I’m very satisfied with the results the other interns and I have produced. I was able to attend a conference on student transitions on behalf of the CTL. It was interesting to consider how the research of other institutions presented in this webinar might be applied at Oxford to make staff-student partnerships more effective. At the beginning of the project, it was my goal to comprehensively understand how data analysis is carried out, and to feel competent in doing it myself. I now feel extremely confident in this, thanks to the hands-on experience I’ve gained. Overall, I was so encouraged by this internship that I now hope to pursue a career in education policy.
Zahra Grieve, 2022 student intern
Before going into the internship, I imagined that this would be “work”, during which I would just need to do whatever my line manager told me, like finding relative resources and doing paperwork. However, I surprisingly found that this was more like a research project rather than “internship work”. We, the interns, could and needed to decide what we wanted to look at, research, and produce under the guidance of the general aims of this project. Therefore, from the very beginning, I needed to embrace the uncertainty of this project, with independent and critical thinking. I am proud of what we designed, the data we collected, the recommendations we made, and the final outputs we produced.
Moreover, the skill I improved the most was professional communication with others. This was the first time I worked in an English-speaking working environment. Brainstorming, attending regular meetings, sitting in the Project Advisory Group, and even making jokes as we worked helped me to improve my communication skills and teamwork ability with my colleagues. During the process of data collection, I also conducted several interviews, which I enjoyed and learned a lot from. In my previous research, I mostly dealt with written works and collected data from historical documents. Therefore, this internship provided me with precious experience in collecting empirical data from living human beings and interacting with others during the research. It has definitely strengthened my skills to do qualitative research and improve my ability to effectively communicate with research participants in a professional way and with a professional aim.
Zihao He, 2022 student intern
Before I started the internship, I was expecting to take a supporting role in an on-going project. But it actually turned out to be a project with the interns as the leading roles, where we needed to build it up from 0 to 1. Here are the two most important aspects that I learned from this 10-week internship:
✓ Communicating: Communication here involves many aspects. Firstly, I improved my skills in exchanging ideas with the teammates and in persuading them when we have different opinions. Secondly, communication also involves communicating with the interviewees. Especially, I grasped how to drag the topics back while not making the interviewees feel uncomfortable.
✓ Scheduling: Before this internship, I thought scheduling only means arranging the work well. But it turns out that embracing the changes of the original schedule is also important. Speaking more specifically, do take it easy when the original schedule is delayed due to some unexpected changes!
Daotong Hu, 2022 student intern
The internship helped me develop crucial skills to succeed in areas such as teamwork, research, organisation, self-management, and public speaking. Additionally, I learnt to adopt a more flexible and inclusive approach to my work.
The nature of the internship is such that one must be able to work well in a team as well as by oneself. I had not had much experience with team-working during my studies at Oxford, so this was a new and valuable learning experience for me. I learnt to listen to others carefully, keep pace with the progress of other team members, choose tasks that suited my strengths as a team member the best, and delegate to others. Our strong rapport as a team ensured that our final report was the best that it could be. By working independently on tasks, my self-management skills developed further, helping me to transition from university to employment.
The internship duties rested almost entirely on conducting high-quality qualitative and quantitative research. While I had conducted some surveys and interviews before, the mentoring of the experienced CTL team taught me much more about data collection methods and designing a robust survey/interview. It was my first time analysing data from surveys and interviews on a large scale (upwards of 150 responses). To manage the high volume of data, information and literature that our research generated, it was also necessary to show strong organisation and analysis skills. With the assistance of my line manager, I was able to pick up and improve these abilities on the job.
During the internship, our team presented findings to the Project Advisory Group (PAG) Committee, which was made up of key stakeholders and representatives from across the university. This was a great opportunity for me to develop confidence and public speaking skills. When our ideas were debated by the members of the committee, I was also able to practise showing the courage to put forward my perspective, even as one of the most junior members present in the room. It was empowering and illuminating to discuss our findings as former students directly with those in positions of authority; PAG meetings were definitely a highlight of the internship.
Shreya Manna, 2022 student intern
When I first got the internship with the CTL, I could not have expected how much responsibility we would be given or the skills that I have been able to develop. On this internship, I was able to gain research experience and listen to students' academic journeys through conducting interviews - an experience I enjoyed hugely! The interviews asserted to me the importance of improving academic skill support for students at Oxford and whilst our meetings with senior university stakeholders could be nerve-wracking, I was delighted to have the opportunity to work with them to ensure our project had the reach and impact to improve the academic support provided to students. Lastly, the staff at the CTL were incredible in supporting us throughout the internship and I am delighted that my first job since graduating was such a positive one.
Joanna Williams, 2022 student intern
This internship has been a valuable journey for me where I developed my skills in teamwork and using resources effectively. We worked together with university staff over ten weeks to study and propose recommendations on supporting students academic transitions. Working with people from different backgrounds can really broaden your horizons, help you analyse problems more holistically and find better solutions. As an international student at Oxford, I am keen to bring my understanding of international students’ and postgraduate students’ experience to the project, and I am also excited to see the recommendations made by our team will have a positive impact on all Oxford students, including myself.
Runyi Yao, 2022 student intern