University Student Internship Role in Ireland – What to Expect?

What does a university student intern do exactly you might be thinking? Contrary to popular belief, an internship isn’t about organising a filing cabinet or making coffees all day for your boss. The responsibilities of an intern have evolved. You’ll find yourself working on different projects.


Here is more on internship and placement in Ireland. HomeHak has shared some insights into the role of an intern below. 



What is a university student intern? 

An intern is a trainee who has signed on with an organisation for a brief period. An intern’s goal is to gain work experience, occasionally some university credit, and always an overall feel for the industry they’re interning in. Internships may be paid, partially paid, or unpaid. The work experience period may range from a handful of weeks up to 2 years. It’s also not uncommon to receive a full-time offer upon completion of your internship with a company. Studies show that employers like to hire interns and use their internships as well to source new talent for their company.


Photo by Annie Sratt on Unsplash

Where can you intern?

You can intern pretty much anywhere you would like. In most cases, you have the option of doing an internship close to home or abroad.  An international internship can help give you a competitive edge in today’s saturated job market. Even better, an international internship is a fantastic way to help you build a global career and network. 


What does an intern do?

That depends on the industry in question and the kind of internship you’ve signed up for. A university student intern is primarily a support role – at least in the beginning. When you join up, your main job will be to assist, learn, and grow. After you’ve settled in, you’ll be expected to pull your own weight. 


Assist and contribute to the team!

As an intern, don’t expect to spearhead a critical project right off the bat, at least not yet. In the beginning of your internship, you may spend your time simply trying to learn how the company works. You may shadow an employee to get an understanding of their role. After a day or a few days of learning the ins-and-outs of the company. You’ll start to assist and contribute more to the team. Some duties to be performed include clerical duties, managing social media and emails, event handling and research. 


Learn and gain experience 

This is an opportunity to learn as much as you possibly can while you work, regardless of the kind of internship you’ve signed up for. It can be broken down into two main areas: hard skills are the technical skills you need to carry out your intern responsibilities, and eventually job duties, and soft skills are all about your ability to relate to people and building mutually-beneficial relationships.


Job shadow

Job shadowing has become the norm recently. As the name suggests, the practice involves “shadowing” someone as they perform their daily duties, observing their activities, and learning what the role entails via indirect experience. 




Take on an increasing amount of responsibility 

As time goes by, expect to shoulder an increasing amount of responsibility. Initially, they’ll gauge your current skill set and reliability with your initial workload. 



This involves building relationships with your bosses, colleagues, and customers and clients. You’ll need the backing and support of people in places to build a successful career. Also, building good relationships with customers is always good for the organisation. Here are some tips on how to network while on placement. 


Make a career call 

Finally, usually at the tail-end of your internship, you have to make a career-defining decision. Do you continue in the field you interned in or try your hand at something else entirely. You got a taste of what working in your industry full-time would be like. Did you love the experience and can’t wait to dive back in again? Or do you feel you’d be happier doing something else? That’s the beauty of an internship, you can always go into another field you would like.



You should have the goal to secure a solid employer reference at the end of your internship. This will help you throughout the rest of your professional career. Check out this article to see how to ask someone to be a reference




To summarise

It’s important you enter your internship with the right mindset. Also, carrying out your intern responsibilities successfully will assist you in building up a potent skill set that will shine in your next role. 


For more information on internships in Ireland, check out our other articles:

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