'Don't be afraid to reach a little bit.'
Major: Journalism, Public Relations emphasis
Minor: Business Administration, French
Internship: Writer and editorial assistant at the ReykjavŪk Grapevine, an English-language magazine in Iceland, from September through December of 2012.
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What did you do on your internship?
I pitched, researched and wrote articles ranging from news briefs to a full-length feature story about the formation of a new political party called the Pirate Party. I updated the Grapevineís website with new stories, copy edited and fact checked stories and drank lots of beer at the local pubs!
How did you find your internship?
I found this internship through Jennifer Karchmer, a faculty member in the Communications department who has studied freedom of the press in Iceland. When she told me about her travels and mentioned she had some of her work published in the Grapevine, I became interested and started researching the publication.
Why did you want this internship?
Working at weeklies/news magazines has always been my passion. During my senior year I was the editor in chief of the AS Review, and I loved the experience so much I knew it was a field I could see myself working in for a very long time. The Grapevine is the largest English language magazine in Iceland, and it covers arts, life, music, entertainment and news. It seemed like a perfect fit.
How can students get the most out of an internship experience?
When looking for an internship, donít be afraid to reach a little bit. Internships at their core are learning experiences. I think itís good to take some chances. Understand that you donít know everything (thatís why youíre an intern), but make it clear that you are enthusiastic and you want to learn and grow. Skills can be taught, unlike passion and excitement. Treat your internship like a job, and take it seriously! Internships (good ones, at least) are designed to give you real world, applicable job experience, and you should treat them as if they were your job!
How does this internship relate to your studies?
This internship is essentially what I went to school for. Although my track was in public relations, I am fortunate that Westernís PR program has a heavy emphasis on writing. It was fantastic to get an internship in a career path I want to pursue.
Whatís been the most important thing you learned?
I think the most important thing is to realize itís okay to say, ďI donít know.Ē In an internship, no one expects you to be an expert, and asking questions and admitting your own shortcomings will open you up to learning all kinds of new things. Working at the Grapevine was truly one of the most valuable experiences Iíve had so far. Be curious, be kind, and allow yourself to be open to new experiences. Not knowing exactly what youíre getting yourself into can be exactly what you need sometimes!
Has the internship changed anything for you?
As for me personally, the experience has changed me immensely. Going to a foreign country to do what I loved has shown me that there are amazing people all over the world who are doing exciting things, and itís okay (and even fun!) to throw yourself into a completely new environment. The memories I made and the people I met in Iceland will stay with me for the rest of my life.
Was your internship paid?
The number one question I get from people is if the internship was paid. No, it was not paid, and in fact, they werenít even allowed to legally pay non-Icelandic citizens. They compensated us with meal vouchers to an Icelandic home cooking restaurant, and so I like to tell people I worked for food for three months! I knew this when I went into it, and although cost is a very real, very difficult burden to bear, if there is even a tiny possibility you could scrape by, absolutely make it happen.
How has Western prepared you for your internship?
Almost everything I did at Western prepared me for this internship. The journalism department faculty and the entire set-up of the program is fantastic, and I was lucky to come into the internship with so much publication experience already. Working for the AS Review was one of the best experiences I had in my entire college career, and prepared me immensely for working at the Grapevine. The classes I took at Western Ėnews writing, editing, Klipsun, Western FrontĖmore than prepared me for writing at the Grapevine, and I had numerous articles published in print and online. Jennifer Kellerís PR sequence and my publication design experience from the AS Review gave me design and layout skills, which came in handy when I was given the opportunity with several other interns to lay out an entire section of the paper. I do not think I would have interned at the Grapevine if it werenít for the experiences I gained at Western.-- Interview by Branden Griffith