Being a president of any kind brings you a lot of benefits, especially when you are at my age and you are still learning how things are being done. A couple of months ago, we receive a request from this Polish student, ex ESN-er, who wanted to come to intern in ESN Romania for a couple of months. This is how I ended up managing an intern for the first time in my life. All I wanted to give in this experience is everything, or maybe the most important things I didn’t receive in my internships: responsiveness, encouragements and an action plan.
Anna, our intern, is the nicest person ever. She is very punctual, she acted immediately on everything we needed her to do and she enjoyed coming to all the events we invited her to come to. I hope she also enjoyed working with us, but her feedback, you’ll read it soon.
What did I learn from this experience?
1. Get involved.
Don’t get an intern/ employee if you don’t have time to work with him, show him around, make him first feel comfortable with the new environment that he/ she is working in.
In many places I’ve interned or worked in, the people in charge weren’t always on the top of their game when it came to helping you adapt, therefore, I had to figure all the things by myself ( stuff like how not to go around the whole city to get to the office, when there’s actually a bus that is taking 15 minutes).
2. Interview first.
One of my mistake, I believe, is that out of my enthusiasm of having a first ever intern in ESN Romania ( somebody we didn’t even look for), I didn’t think its absolutely necessary to have an interview with her ( even though I have already read her CV and motivation letter), maybe also because we started talking shortly after I started my mandate as ESN RO president and I was a newbie too. Now, for the next person, I will be looking for certain projects that I need him to work on and a certain type of skills. Otherwise, we are going to end up consuming a lot of energy reviewing a lot of work, or also working on the project we need it finished, something which, we certainly don’t have time for ( thats why we ,,employ’’ somebody else to do it for us).
3.Have an action plan
Having an action plan is absolutely crucial when it comes to the activity of the person you are working with because: you don’t want him/ her to do absolutely nothing and because you also want to progress on projects that maybe have been on stand by for long because there was nobody to work on them, or finish them. I drafted a plan for Anna, so that at the end of her internship, I can figure out if I will ever want an intern again, what was progress on my projects and also because I wanted to know how much has she been working.
4. Make sure you follow up. Following up is certainly something that you would imply that is part of the process, but trust me, 3 months is such a short time, and with so many international events going on, its hard to keep track of everything. What Anna did for us, was to send us a report every Sunday, so that we make sure she’s always working on something, as well as seeing her progress on the things we needed her to get done.
5. Write a recommendation letter.
Writing a recommendation letter and having a good bye dinner is a small thing you can do, to make sure that your intern is going to be happy and also tell others how you work and why it would be a good thing to come and intern for you and your organization.
What was your experience with your intern?