My Internship Experience

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Illustrated by Anithra Ratnayake

In November 2016 I decided to undertake an internship as part of my media and communications degree at Deakin University. I must admit, my initial decision to do an internship had a lot to do with the fact that it would count towards my degree, but little did i know that it would end up meaning so much more to me than just another credit point that I could add to my degree.

Since I had so much time off for summer break (almost 4 months- yay for no exams!) I decided to do two internships at the same company, which allowed me to spend time at two completely different departments. The company I chose to do my Internship at was John Keells Holdings PLC which is based in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Here I worked in both the Corporate Communications department and the brand marketing department for Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts, which is a group of hotels that the company is responsible for.

My first stop was the corporate communications department. My task here was to revamp the company’s existing blog page. Being given that much responsibility seemed like a daunting task, and I must admit I was quite intimidated, this wasn’t going to be the same as creating a blog for myself, this was a blog page for Sri Lanka’s biggest blue chip company- no pressure there!

Thankfully, I rose to the challenge. I got to work with the company that handled their websites and after deciding on a new theme for the page, started adding all the other features and even ended up creating a short video for the website.

BLOG&WIN!
A flyer I created to engage employees via Canva

In addition to this, I also came up with a plan to try and get employees to send in posts regularly- thinking back to my experiences with motivating myself, I decided to try Gamifaction methods and set out to create flyers via canva encouraging employees to send in posts by offering them incentives such as free meal vouchers and opportunities to sit down for chats with higher ups in the company.

GRAB OUR ATTENTION!
Another flyer created via Canva

The day I got the email saying that my work was officially live was a pretty great moment, it was one thing to do the work but to actually have the company decide that it was fit for public viewing was just an amazing confidence booster! As for my Gamification methods, I’m happy to say that they worked, I’m constantly seeing updates on the companies Instagram and Facebook Pages showcasing employees who won the incentives promised.

After spending two weeks at the corporate communications department, it was time to move on to the brand communications for Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts. A little background information, ‘Cinnamon’ is the chain of hotels and resorts that come under John Keells Holdings PLC, they have a total of 14 Hotels with 3 of them being in the Maldives.

In contrast to my previous office, this one was a lot more lively, this probably lends itself to the fact that majority of employees were under the age of 30, making it a genuinely fun and interesting workplace- to say there was never a dull moment would be an understatement!

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Screenshot of a Snapchat I sent out from the Cinnamon account.

Aside from all the fun, there was some serious work being done here, the brand communications team was responsible for all PR, events and social media for the Cinnamon brand. I spent time working with each of these teams, but the aspect I found most interesting was social media management. A couple of days after I joined, Cinnamon Hotels decided to launch its snapchat account- and to my delight I was given access to the account and even posted a few snaps myself!

I ended up working at this department well after my required number of hours and I’m really glad I did, because the last project I was involved in was a social media workshop that was organised to educate all hotel staff on the importance of engaging customers through social platforms and how they can contribute to content- I even gave a short presentation on how Snapchat can be used for promoting the brand!

Aside from all the great projects and activities that I was able to get involved in, the best thing about these internships was that it cemented my love for all things media, after this experience I have no doubt that this is the type of industry that I want to be involved in after I graduate- it’s one thing to sit and study it, but you can never be 100% sure until you go out and put everything you have learnt to practice out in the real world!

I hope someone (anyone?) reading this will think about taking up an internships while at university themselves- whether it is for credit or not. If you go to Deakin University in Melbourne like me, get in touch with the WIL team ASAP- I promise you, you will not regret it 🙂

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