Graduate case study – Michèle Schmitz – La vie est belle!

Why did you decide to do an internship at the University of Kent?

I knew that a student from the previous UKP cohort had worked part time for the Paris programme, and I quite liked the idea of doing the same. I really enjoyed the UKP MA programme and the thought of leaving everything behind me after I had submitted my dissertation just made me really sad! I absolutely wanted to share my experience with the next cohort by giving them useful advice, about academic matters but also (and especially) personal matters like finding accommodation, organising visas, life in Paris, etc. Doing this internship seemed to be an excellent way of embarking into the job market and to start working straight after my MA programme. It was important to me to get some work experience before planning the next big step.

Michele Schmitz

Can you describe what your job involved?

Many different things! In fact, it was never boring because there was always something to do. I was in close contact with the students, which I really enjoyed (answering email queries but also one-to-one meetings), I organised meetings and events, helped deal with incoming applications for 2014/15, made travel and accommodation arrangements for staff members, and organised some of the spring term trips in Paris. I travelled to Paris twice during the Spring term and worked in the Paris-based office at Reid Hall where I helped with operations for the Induction week, and later in the term I covered the office manager’s role when she went on annual leave.

I also sometimes had to do some online research (helping with finding accommodation, checking the costs of the different visits etc.) and I had to update the content of our summer school brochures and the Paris Getting Started booklet. Then there was the social media aspect, which means that I had to update and monitor the Facebook and Twitter pages. I learnt a lot about Marketing and Recruitment by taking part in the European Marketing meetings and I represented UKP during the Open Day at the University. I also helped to advertise our new MA programmes in Rome… and much more!

There are so many skills you apply on an everyday basis and this will look great on your CV. It has been a fantastic time and I absolutely enjoyed the working environment. My colleagues were really nice and that is already half the battle.

What did you like best?

I was responsible for carrying out a high volume of tasks, so that I was never doing the same thing. It was great to look “behind the scenes” of the University and to get an insight into how the University works with all its regulations, the different Departments and Schools, etc. You are contacting different staff members on an everyday basis and I found it really interesting to learn so much within a short period of time. Also, it was quite nice to make use of my language skills (French and English), written and verbally.

Would you recommend this internship opportunity to prospective students?

Absolutely! It is a great way of entering the job market straight after my MA and I’m quite pleased to continue to be part of the University. There are so many job possibilities on campus, so even if you wanted to continue it is quite easy to apply for different positions within the University. I was quite surprised to see how many different jobs there are available here (that’s not something you think about as a student!). On a more personal note: to me it was important to stay attached to the European programmes Kent has to offer because I think that they are absolutely fantastic and give you an experience that you wouldn’t get by doing an MA solely in the UK. I can only recommend the UKP MA programmes and the internship UKP has to offer.

Any plans for the future?

I am now moving to Brussels to work for the Brussels School of International Studies and I am already really excited to start my new job! I am going to continue to work in an English speaking work environment while living in a city where I will be surrounded by an international community, speaking German, French, and English on an everyday basis. I couldn’t ask for more at the moment!

Originally from Luxembourg, Michèle Schmitz was a University of Kent, Paris MA student from 2012-2013 and studied English and American Literature. After completing her MA, Michèle was employed on a 6-month fully paid internship as Administrative Assistant for European Programmes.

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