My experience working as an intern with the Careers and Enterprise team

Seun Onalaja
Durham University Palatine Centre

I work part-time as a Durham Internships & Collaborative Enterprise Project (DICE) Marketing Intern in the Careers & Enterprise Centre. As part of my role, I help create awareness of paid vacancies in local Small Medium Enterprises (SME’s) by creating marketing content, social media posts and marketing plans.

Balancing work and academic commitments

I’ve always worked part time in the university since my first year and wanted to gain more work experience in another department. Going into my final year, I was initially worried about being able to balance my work commitments and academic commitments, but once again doing an internship in the University proved to be an amazing way to get work experience while studying and earn an income!

Having to balance my work and final year commitments really helped me enhance my time management skills, exercise my independence and become more self-aware. Using pathways to track my skills enabled me to identify the skills I wanted to develop further, and the skills I had made progress with. In addition to this, the DICE team and Careers team were really supportive and gave me feedback on each piece of work I did. I was given so much trust and respect during my role and managed my own time and workload.

What did I learn?

One of the favourite things about my role was being able to advertise and promote vacancies. It felt nice knowing that the work I did helped to connect students with job opportunities and provide small businesses with the key talent they needed. If not for the availability of work experience on campus, I would never have been able to gain as much experience and develop all the skills that I have done while at university.

While my internship experience differs from my degree, it helped me develop a lot of soft skills, particularly working independently, being flexible and organised. Working in a role that involved a lot of creativity and autonomy helped me realise how important being able to express myself and having control over my development is to me, and that is something I will take to my future career.

The recruitment process was really straightforward, and I liked that the Careers & Enterprise team got back to me quickly with a decision! I also really enjoyed the interview process because I felt like the interviewers really wanted to get to know me and what I had to bring to the table, and I got to know them as well. I also felt very valued during my internship and was given feedback in an informal and honest way.

A great way to gain experience

Having completed a DU internship, I cannot recommend it enough. The University is one of the best employers because they understand academic commitments and prioritise mental health. Because I was already familiar with the university system, I felt right at home and felt like I could be like myself. I also didn’t have to worry about commuting for work and could fit it around my studies quite easily. I felt supported every step of the way and the amount of responsibility I was given from the start was amazing.

As an international student, I was initially worried about gaining work experience while at university, so working for the university has been great because they understand my visa requirements and so have been able to ensure that my work did not exceed my weekly hourly limit. I also never felt at a disadvantage because of my status as an international student and was able to gain the same valuable experience as any other student.

Discover more

The University provides internships across the University, exclusively available to Durham students to support their development of key employability skills.  All opportunities are advertised through the Student services portal and via Careers & Enterprise newsletters

Seun Onalaja

I’m Seun, I'm an international student and have graduated with a BA in Accounting and Finance with a Placement Year.  I completed a DU internship in my final year working as a DICE Marketing intern within the Careers & Enterprise team. I have also written other blogs for the uni about my experiences as an international student at Durham.

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