“There is no day like the other” – three first-year Mundus students share their internship experiences in the second semester

Instead of taking an elective course in Aarhus, Carlotta, Cristina and Maja decided to do an internship during their second semester. Let's hear their thoughts, insights and take-aways from their time at Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Reporters Without Borders and the European Federation of Journalists.

2021.08.03 | Giorgia Macrelli

From left to right: Carlotta Roch (Germany), Cristina Gironès Martín (Spain), Maja Markus (Hungary)

After finishing their projects and submitting the exams of the first semester in Aarhus, our students have three options: concluding the academic year in Aarhus taking an elective course (10 ECTS), spending the second semester studying abroad at a partner university or gaining some practical experience replacing the elective with an internship (10 ECTS). Based on their skills, ambitions and resources, all Mundusians choose what fit best their journalistic path, designing the last part of their academic year in Denmark.

Giving you the opportunity to study in at least two European countries, the Mundus Journalism programme joins academics and theoretical approaches with hands-on experiences, supporting student-led journalistic projects and offering you the opportunity to explore the media industry if you decide to go for the internship in the second semester. Whether you find an offer in Aarhus, you work remotely enjoying the digital nomad life or you move to your new office’s city, joining an organization or a news outlet for some months can give you meaningful insights on the industry and help you to navigate the sea of career possibilities you have as a journalist and communicator.

Since we are particularly prone to sustain our claims with evidence (professional habit?), we caught up with Carlotta (Germany), Cristina (Spain) and Maja (Hungary), three Mundusians who chose this option, and listened to their experiences, take-aways and reflections on their internships. Read their stories below!

Carlotta joined the Frankurter Allgemeine Zeitung and her tasks included writing and researching of news for the editorial team, preparing agency reports from news agencies (such as Reuters, Deutsche Presse Agentur and AFP). “The day usually started with several (virtual) meetings to plan the day, while always keeping an eye on the news-ticker. Then you either start working on your own pieces or are assigned to edit announcements. You also always keep an eye on what other (competing) news outlets are reporting on or occasionally do research for colleagues”, said Carlotta.

                       

After an internship covering politics for the same outlet, this time she opted for the society and style department: “Since the department I interned at covers a wide range of topics, I got to educate myself on a lot of new and different topics and was able to propose and contribute my own ideas”, she added. At the beginning of her internship, Carlotta moved from Aarhus to Frankfurt, where she was able to go to the office almost every day – “After months of following lectures and seminars from home this was a special treat.”

Maja, on the other hand, had a different experience: most of her internship was held remotely! By now, we are all used to remote working and attending webinars online, but it is interesting to hear her talking about her daily tasks and projects at the European Federation for Journalists. “As an intern […] I was handed diverse tasks, so I didn’t have a specific ‘role’ […]. For example, I managed social media, helped during projects and webinars, wrote takeaways from these said seminars or about a current situation in Europe concerning journalists and eventually helped with lobbying work, i.e. getting in touch with MEPs who are dealing with European policies that impact journalists or the media”, she told us. After having that internship position in the back of her mind for over a year, being enrolled in the Mundus programme gave Maja the possibility to finally apply and get it!

Getting some experience in an NGO can be very helpful either to try different things, dive into research and, in Maja’s case, learn more about resources for journalists and advancements in our field. “The EFJ has many projects, most of them funded by the European Union, but also takes part in (now online) webinars on the latest trends and developments in journalism. Some projects of the EFJ that I was part of during the internship were ‘Trust and quality in journalism’ and ‘Ethical reporting of Islam and Muslims’, but I also followed the EFJ’s online mission to Slovenia, a 2-week long consultation with several media workers and stakeholders of Slovenia to gain an overview of the situation of the media and journalists there.”

Spending the day juggling between creating explainers for social media, attending webinars, writing reports, translating and answering emails can seem like a lot, but with some time management skills and taking advantage of the calm days it’s doable; in fact, Maja told us: “sometimes there is more to do, sometimes less, but I was never bored during the internship!” - we indeed believe her!

Cristina, who interned at the Spanish delegation of Reporters Without Borders in Madrid, told us about her work-life balance: “Interning from home means that you have to organise yourself throughout the day. […] It's up to you to decide which hours do you want to work and when do you want to rest or have a social life. It's very important to be proactive and independent, and to find your space within the organisation. If you have a skill, ability or knowledge that the others do not, then use it. I think it's important to believe in what you're doing. And, obviously, don't work too much. If you're healthy, happy and motivated with your internship, you will do your work much better.”

Similar to Maja, Cristina’s major tasks concerned social media, video editing, graphic design and translation of press releases. In addition, she contributed to the digitalization of the organization and told us about one of the projects she took part in: “I also contributed to the presentation of a mobile app, the ‘Chaleco Digital’ (Digital Vest). It provides an emergency button to alert the contacts you choose –for example, fellow journalists in the same conflict zone– when you are at risk. The launching of this app has been presented at an event on the 24th of June in Madrid, and I have been part of it in person”.

Despite her plan A was to spend her second semester at the American University of Lebanon (which was impossible due to Covid-19 restrictions), Cristina really enjoyed her time at RsF as “it was a great opportunity to be in touch with international journalists already settled with their profession."

Many students consider doing an internship the first step to get their foot in the door of media and journalism: “I think that if you are planning to work in the media industry or as a journalist (and not as a researcher), experience is very important. At least in Spain – and Southern Europe in general”, Cristina continued.

“I saw it as an opportunity to gain more practical experience, especially since I knew that we would not get as much practical insights in Amsterdam than we did in Aarhus”, added Carlotta, and Maja also “really wanted to have more journalistic experience”.

Another important take-away from internship experiences is finding out what you like – or dislike. Did you enjoy more social media management or organizing events? Are you an NGO person or a natural reporter? Probably you won’t get all the answers in a 3-months internship, but you can indeed accept and engage with some stimuli more than others – exactly what happened to all our three Mundusians.

“When I started my bachelor on journalism, I was very interested in being a war correspondent […]. But after some experiences in conflict and post-conflict zones, I thought that I was too sensitive for this. This is why I started to work in an NGO and social communication. However, at some point I realised that I was not motivated with my professional career, so I decided to quit everything and start the Mundus Journalism master's programme. Thanks to my internship at RSF I am now much more inspired by journalism and the media industry in general, and I am again trying to find my place as a war correspondent or, at least, a foreign correspondent”, concluded Cristina. “The internship once again confirmed my passion for journalism, how much fun and joy it gives me to write, talk to people and hear their stories and to gain a different perspective on things”, added Carlotta.

Finally, we thought Maja’s reflection perfectly sums up the polyhedric and dynamic spirit that every Mundusian develops or strengthens during the programme:

 “What I discovered during the internship is that there are so many possibilities of where you can end up with a journalism degree!”

We couldn’t agree more, Maja!

Thank you so much for your precious insights Carlotta, Maja and Cristina and good luck with your second year in Amsterdam and Prague!

Do you want to know more about the Mundus Journalism programme and all the different opportunities it offers? Check out the study programme in Aarhus and the different specializations and don’t forget to regularly check our stories section to get the freshest insights on current students and alumni.

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