Tuesday, 12 July 2016

SIP Profile

Faculty of Science has talked to some students about their internship experience. Here is Ashley’s internship experience

Name: Ashley
Program: Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
Duration: 8 months
Internship Company: Shell
Location: Calgary

Why the Science Internship Program?
Ashley attended numerous employer events organized by the Geology group to get in contact with employers and to learn more about the different companies. One advice she received from each employer over and over again, was that an internship is beneficial for the development of your personal competitive advantage. Simply put, an internship will put you ahead of the students without an internship. From a time perspective the internship was a great addition to Ashley’s studies, as she had anyways planned to complete her studies in five years. When Ashley heard friends talking about the Science Internship Program, she knew this will be her next step.

Transition from university to work placement
Of course Ashley had her concerns before starting the internship. Her focus is on Environmental Studies, whereas the internship’s focus was on Geology. Very soon she figured out that nobody expected her to already know everything. The purpose of an internship is to learn! Her team and supervisor were very supportive and she could always ask questions which turned her internship into a very enjoyable and fun experience. The fact that she had to move to Calgary was exciting and intimidating one. Not only had she to get used to an open office structure but also to a new city. It turned out to be easier than she thought. At Shell each term numerous interns start at the same time. She immediately established contacts and her colleagues were very friendly, provided her with lots of reading material in the beginning to familiarize herself with new topics, and helped her to get comfortable in this new situation.

Biggest learning effect
Ashley had the chance to learn a lot on a technical and a personal side. She was able to work with two programs that are important in her field of interest. These skills among others helped her landing a great summer job. On a personal side Ashley improved her public speaking skills as well as her ability to prioritize. Giving presentation used to be something she would avoid, whereas now she is able to overcome this threshold a lot easier.


Try to not put too much pressure on yourself and stay open. When starting an internship neither your supervisor nor your colleagues expect you to know everything, you will learn enough during the internship. As it is supposed to be a program that teaches you new skills and knowledge. Your colleagues will be happy to help you and enjoy answering your questions. There are three aspects’ you should keep in mind, as they will help you to have a great experience. Ask valuable questions, show interest and take initiative, by approaching your colleagues and sharing your ideas. Don’t worry about moving to a different city, there will always be people with a similar situation.