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Monika Gopal


An image of intern Monika Gopal

Who was your internship with?

My internship was with Scottish Youth Hostels Association (SYHA) which operates a network of over 60 youth and affiliate hostels for the benefit of all those wishing to learn and experience what Scotland has to offer.

How did you find out about the internship?

I saw the internship opportunity advertised on the Career Development Centre website, as part of The Stirling Internship Programme. I got my CV and covering letter checked by a Career Development Adviser and then sent it in and got invited back for an interview with SYHA and then accepted.

What do you see as the benefits of an internship with a smaller organisation?

As SYHA is a smaller organisation, the marketing team was also quite small. This meant that I was able to see how all the areas of marketing work together which, as a marketing student, was really helpful. This also meant that each of my colleagues worked in several areas of marketing so I had the chance to try things out with my role, such as updating the website and contributing ideas to the annual magazine. I feel like this will not only help with my coursework when I head back to university, it will also help me in making career decisions later on as I have been able to see what areas of marketing I enjoy. Another benefit, is that it has also allowed me to meet colleagues across several departments. With the help of my manager, I was able to arrange informal meetings so that I could sit down with some of the managers, whose roles I found interesting, and find out more about what they do, their career path, and how their role links to marketing. 

Working in a smaller organisation has also allowed me to speak to SYHA’s CEO several times. This helped me gain a better understanding of how the organisation works as a whole and see the direction that it is moving in. 

How do you think the internship has helped towards planning your future career?

My internship has allowed me to see different areas of marketing so I now have a better idea of what area I would like to focus on in the future. This will definitely help in deciding which role I would like to go into after graduating.

What did you enjoy most about the internship?

Throughout my internship I had created a few itineraries for different themes; the television show Outlander was one of these, as was the NC500 scenic driving route around the North Highlands. Elements of my Outlander itinerary were used by the newspaper, Scotland Now, for an article and Visit Scotland are interested in working with SYHA on the NC500 route, so my work may be used for that as well. Having my work being used externally, by the media and tourism bodies, has been really rewarding, so that is what I have most enjoyed when working in the office.

Out of the office, I really enjoyed a trip to Cairngorm Lodge Youth Hostel. This SYHA youth hostel is situated in the heart of Cairngorm National Park so the views were stunning.  I had gone up, with a colleague, to gather information for a marketing project and to achieve this we went on a four hour hill walk in Cairngorm National Park. My internship with SYHA has allowed me to develop a new appreciation for Scotland’s outdoors that I did not expect and I was really surprised that I was given the chance to go out and see some of it for myself.

What skills do you feel you gained from the internship experience?

My research skills have definitely improved because of this internship. Research has been the focus of many of the projects I worked on so I now feel more confident identifying relevant information and using this to create marketing material or a report. I feel like I have also gained skills in social media and website management, particularly when it comes to writing content in a tone appropriate for certain customers. This is a skill that is expected for a marketing role so I am glad I have had the chance to learn and develop it during my internship.

What advice would you give students considering applying for an internship through this programme next year?

For anyone considering applying for an internship like this next year, my advice is to go for it. If you know that you want to do an internship in the summer then start thinking about it early so that you are in with a good shot.

You need to have skills and experience that you can draw on during your application and interview, you might already have these or there might be some gaps; my advice is that you start thinking about how you can demonstrate you’re the best candidate. Even if vacancies are not available yet, I have found the Career Development Centre great for application and interview advice.

Summer internships can be competitive to secure, hard work when you do, but mine has been totally worth it.

Please summarise your experience as an intern.

I have been working in the marketing team at National Office. As the team is quite small I have been able to see how all the areas of marketing work together which, as a marketing student, has been really helpful. 

My role has covered a lot of remit; I’ve been working on market research projects and writing reports, and I’ve also had the chance to update social media, website and contribute ideas to the annual magazine.

I’ve also been lucky to visit several of SYHA’s youth hostels, write three blog posts for the website and go on a trip to Cairngorm National Park.

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