Have you actually learned anything up to now? I was asked these or similar questions many times. Quite a few people advised me against completing a work placement during the first semester: “You can’t really do anything yet, you won’t benefit from it at all.”
In spite of these concerns, I decided to undertake a four-week internship at a Dortmund-based PR agency and was positively surprised. From day one, I was taken by the hand and gradually introduced to daily practices at the agency. I soon realised that I could do a lot more than people thought I could and settled into working life pretty quickly. Public relations is all about reading up on topics, carrying out research and ultimately creating texts. For any issues which had not yet been covered in lectures, I became a specialist in experiential learning – in other words learning by doing!
I was given the opportunity to try my hand at preparing press releases, creating customer mailing lists, researching media data, writing short articles, calling customers and formulating my own ideas for major projects.
The longer the internship went on, the more I became acquainted with the routines and structures. The practical experience complemented the theoretical knowledge gained in the lectures and suddenly made it more real and applicable. Without even having to think about it much, classroom theory became clearer after being applied in practical, real-life situations.
It goes without saying that as a “rookie” I was not able to do everything straight away, but practice and persistence helped me develop new skills that will be hugely useful in my B.A. Communications & Marketing course.
My conclusion: I believe that if you approach a work placement with a positive and open-minded attitude and are lucky enough to work with a motivated team, an internship in the first semester is highly recommendable.
Author: Hannah Dierkes