So What Did YOU Do This Summer?

Following Deputy Editor Ellie Pithers’ diatribe on the unpaid internship, JENNA CORDEROY offers her pick of some of the best internships of the summer and how to get them.

Amy Green bbc Disney Google Graduate Market internship Jenna Corderoy Karl Pilkington Law firm OSCA Oxbridge Teaching English Abroad The Stig Zoo Magazine

Feeling that rush of guilt that you didn’t do anything productive over the summer?  That’s called bile. And now you’re back, summer has drifted to a distant memory, Part II is beginning, and fecklessness is taking a different form. However, some students passed their summers as model graduates-to-be, and to avoid missing out next time, The Tab has a few recommendations for where to direct your CV. Planning is essential. Read about current students’ recent summer experiences and allow the bile to subside and aspiration to swell. Or something.

The Serious

Everyone’s heard of Google right?  PhD student Charlie Reams certainly has, and was lucky enough to work for the company at their sunny Silicon Valley headquarters.  Spending much of his time programming, he was still able to enjoy the seventeen on-site cafes free to all Google employees, massages, trips to sports events, and having fun with Google’s secret future projects.  Charlie warns: ‘don’t expect to come her for a holiday, interns and everyone else here is expected to work hard to earn the perks’. Ignoring his facetiousness, if you fancy it get yourself onto for more details.

Trips to the US seem a la mode; third year medic Andrew Munro, worked in a Seattle lab extracting DNA (whatever that involves). Not only did he get to explore Seattle, but he was also entitled to free coffee and donuts: a fattening perk. Munro’s tips for fellow medics looking for valuable work experience? Use fellows to find contacts in exotic places; contact labs directly because if you apply to a scheme you’re just another name on the list; and ask your college for money to help out with funding.

Lawyers enjoy all the perks at their summer placements at city law firms: trips abroad, exclusive London restaurants, free gym membership, rooftop cocktails, and a wage of up to £300 per week, although spare a thought for them – they have to actually get a placement after all those cocktails. Third year lawyers Emma Garner and Georgia Clements explain: “In regards to the summer placement application form, make sure the form is accurate and not rushed – really take time to think about whether you would like to work for the firm.  Fill up the application form with good results, extracurricular activities and legal experience, and don’t lose heart if you receive a rejection: in the law world, it’s the norm, sadly.  But if you do receive an interview, know the law firm inside out and roughly plan your answers to possible questions that may arise.”  After several placements and interviews, you ca eventually get a training contract with a city law firm plus a starting salary of £35,000 +, and then on qualification, a wage hitting £60,000 +.  Sounds nice, doesn’t it?

Get Paid to Play

If DNA has no place in your life other than being its essence, and you’re not an aspiring barrister, try something a little more personable. Wis Wang-Koh, a King’s medic, did not work in a dingy lab.  Instead she worked at Disneyworld in Florida. Walt Disney World runs an International College Program, and according to Wis, they have recruiting agencies around the world to recruit college students to work for 10 weeks in the summer.  She applied through the UK agency Yummy Jobs and after several interviews, she was awarded a placement at Disney’s Hollywood Studies.  Perks included free entry into theme parks, discounts on food and souvenirs, and listening to the High School Musical soundtrack all day.  It was certainly ‘a summer full of magic that I will always remember.’ Straight out of a Disney film.

If you reckon you could wear a rictus grin all summer, perhaps a Disney internship is for you


The BBC work experience website is worth checking out, especially those who want to go into production post-university.  Or you can take the Patrick Kane route; Kane, a King’s second year, constantly pestered the staff at Across The Line on BBC Radio Ulster for experience. ‘The work is brilliant: you go to a gig for free (and with a friend), you watch a talented band, you write a short article about them and often you’ll be asked to go live on air and discuss the gig. There’s a lovely little adrenaline rush that you get before going on air, as unlike on university radio, there are thousands of people listening to you.’

Face for radio?

Lads with a passion for journalism may consider applying to Zoo magazine for work experience, following in the footsteps of the great Armchair Critic Robert Smith. By simply sending in his CV, he was given a week-long placement, and helped the publication trawl through newspapers to find quirky fun stories that could be included in the issue.  The job description included transcribing interviews with Karl Pilkington and The Stig, and buying 150 rashers of bacon for a Page 3 girl.  Mr Smith was quick to add: ‘no, this isn’t some wry joke about the glamour industry treating women like meat; Zoo decided to replicate Lady GaGa’s infamous ‘meat-dress’ with blonde bombshell Amy Green.’  All in a day’s work for the fresh faced work experience boy.

Vocational Work

For thespians that want to bulk up their CV whilst seeking an exotic adventure, then they may want to know about Queens’ very own Adam Sullivan who spent the summer in India with Backpact, a tour based from the Cambridge Actor’s list.  With fellow undergraduates, they travelled to Delhi, Lucknow, Varanasi and then to Kathmandu, where they performed a 20 minute play followed by 2 hour workshops in various schools: ‘it was really worthwhile and rewarding as it allowed us to help children in an original way while allowing us to put drama into a new context, and also immersing ourselves in a different culture’.

And if teaching plus backpacking takes your fancy, then you may want to check out the Oxbridge Summer Camps Abroad.  The organisation runs English teaching summer camps around Asia, and each placement lasts around 6 weeks.  An amazing summer according to Catz’s Alice Robinson, who taught English and organised mini Olympics, led a class on S Club 7 dance moves, did the hokey kokey with over 80 children, and was wrapped in cellophane for a fashion show in 37 degree heat.  Once her placement finished, Miss Robinson backpacked around western China, taking in all the sights and sounds the country has to offer.

Someone that might tip you over the jealousy edge is Lewis Walmesley-Browne who worked for the Foreign Office in Manila.  Through speaking to alumni and writing to as many embassies as possible, the PPS student secured a four-week internship in the Philippines to report on the human rights situation in the south of the country.  Meeting representatives of the EU and Amnesty International, he was ‘driven around by a chauffeur in a big car with blacked out windows and diplomatic licence plates – I drooled in my own importance.’