Internship with digital communications – Sara Fay

Sara Fay completed a four-week internship with the digital communications team. You can read about her experience in her own words below. 


Sara Fay, the intern, in St Andrews

“Okay now let’s group the post it notes together by category,” Steve says as we all face the colorfully covered white board.

I watch everyone surge forward and move with them knowing they mean for me to do the same. I may just be the intern but they want my opinion on what problems with the website should be addressed and how quickly we should address them too. I grab a bright pink post it note and step back to decide what category it should be placed under.

Flashback about two weeks.

Clammy hands, a nervous knee bouncing, a clutched half empty cup of coffee are the staples of a new intern. I was in possession of all of these when I first arrived at the Bute Building Digital Communications office, ready and fresh out of the stress of exams to report for my internship for the month. Lucky for me, with the exception of the half empty cup of coffee, this would be the last time I was in possession of any of classic ticks.

I’ve never worked in an office before so I can’t say I have any comparable experience or had any idea what to expect. The casual layout of the Digital Communications Office, a square desk in the center with computers strategically placed around conveys only the relaxed welcoming vibe that the office has; not the level of hard work accompanied with that.

Right off the bat the team proved to be kind and friendly. I was brought into the fold with open arms. Be it Maria bringing me to her Usability testings and patiently explaining the process over and over again until I felt comfortable doing it on my own, John volunteering to teach me social media strategies, Peter and Steve offering to help me with any technology problems as well as frequently checking in to see how I was finding everything, Jenny helping me with a presentation, Lewis working with me to look through video footage in order to help compile a new video for the University page, Carley helping me organize video shoots with the filming crew or David and Nick offering their help if ever I needed it, I could not have been surrounded by a more inviting team.

Treated as one of the team I was brought along from everything to DAB meetings, project meetings and retrospectives. I participated in the stand up every morning where we all say what we did the day before and what we want to do today, a useful way to know what’s going on at the office and to know if you can offer your assistance anywhere. With each interaction between team members I was blown away at just how inclusive the environment was. Collaboration is the name of the game and everyone is expected to contribute, no idea too small or too silly. Whether the actual work for the idea would fall under your jurisdiction or not didn’t matter, if you had an idea, everyone wanted to know and would listen to you attentively while you proposed it. Whether it was getting together after every two week long sprint to take stock or all getting together to plan the next sprint the team just seemed to work effortlessly together and watching them taught me a lot about what I want any team I’m apart of in the future to have.

This past month has flown by and I’m more than a little sad to leave. I’ll miss our team lunches and supportive planning sessions. I’ve learned so much from how to analyze a Facebook Business Page to how to write a Google Analytics Report to how to write a usability test for a website. I couldn’t have asked for a better first office experience and am very thankful to have been given this chance. I can’t wait to come back and visit!

2 thoughts on “Internship with digital communications – Sara Fay

  1. Wow! It looks an amazing experience which I hope to get someday in St Andrews University, but I have some questions about this internship, Is that for free? and could international student like me get this chance in the next summer? I’m so excited to travel there and experimenting with this magical chance which seems had left you a great effect and will help you to build your future view.

    1. Hi Kefah, thanks for getting in touch. Our current intern, Mhari, has some advice for you:

      “Hey Kefah! Glad you enjoyed reading Sara’s blog post! My name is Mhari and I am the current digital communications intern. Like Sara, I’ve also had a great internship experience. St Andrews summer internships are run through the University Careers Centre every year. Here is the link to their website with more information about cost and eligibility for the scheme: https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/careers/jobs-and-work-experience/internships-and-work-experience/vacancysources/uk/standrewssummerinternshipscheme. However, the page is still about this year’s summer internships, so it’s worth keeping an eye on it throughout the year for any updates or even emailing the careers centre directly for more information. I think the Careers Centre also have an email mailing list that students can subscribe to for updates. Hope this helps!”

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