A bit of background about me and the trip…

I am from Taiwan and I am in London to do an accounting internship on Capital Placement’s London programme. Doing an internship in Londonis undoubtedly a great experience but as soon as I received the offer for the programme, I started planning ways to spend my weekends. Set on exploring the UK as much as I can, I promised myself that I will travel to at least one new city every week for as long as I am in the UK. Fulfilling a promise like this requires a lot of planning ahead and this blog is about my third week, where I planned to see Edinburgh over the weekend.

I want to thank Niran, one of the Co-founders of Capital Placement who helped me plan this trip even before I arrived in London! He gave me some great tips about planning and organising this trip. These tips definitely helped when it came to maximising time and finding some good deals, some of which I will share in this blog.

Planning Process

Niran recommended I get a flight from London Stansted Airport to Edinburgh. The airport is pretty easily accessible from Liverpool Street by train, which is where I was interning. I was kind of shocked to find that taking a flight is cheaper than travelling by train! While flight tickets costs £29 for a return trip, train ticket burns your pocket at a whopping £120!

A return ticket on the Stansted Express train cost more than my return flight at £32! Although taking the bus would have been a cheaper option, I did not want to risk getting caught up in the Friday night rush hour and miss my flight, after all I only have 50 hours!

I previously arranged with my supervisor so that I can leave the office at 14:00 so that I can get to the airport just after 15:00,  well in time for the 16:30 Ryanair departure to Edinburgh

Arrival

Niran recommended I stay at a hostel in Edinburgh as I was travelling by myself. I lodged at a hostel named “Kick Ass Hostel”, as the name suggests it was pretty kick Ass. I booked a 6-bed mixed dorm which I shared with Spanish and French students. They were also travelling for the weekend! It felt great to make some instant friends. Everyone was there with one goal, exploring the city!

After checking in and briefly getting to know my roommates, we decided to grab dinner to a place called “Grain store restaurant”. The dinner was amazing and I loved the dessert! I was fascinated to know that most of the items on the menu are produced locally. The fish I had, comes from the sea just 15min away from where I stayed! I could have kept on eating but I had an entire city to explore and only 46 hours left!

Post our dinner, the easy choice would have been to go back to the hostel and call it a night. That would have been boring! So, one of my new Spanish friends and I decided to go for a stroll around the city. As we explored the city, we lost all concept of time and ended up outside the beautiful Edinburgh Castle. The castle is very hard to miss as it dominates Edinburgh’s skyline! The castle was obviously closed at night to visitors but we had a long chat with the friendly security at the castle and they were kind enough to give us some great recommendations and we managed to put together a mini plan for the next 2 days, before going back to the hostel.

Saturday – exploring the city

I decided to wake up at 5 am to see the sunrise from Calton Hill, it’s meant to be spectacular! When I got out of the hostel at 6am- it was just me and the city lights. I quickly realised that there will be no coffee shops open at 6am and so I walked back to the hostel to grab some coffee. Once I got my morning caffeine fix, I left for the hill.

I thought I’d be the only one on the hill so early in the morning, but I met 2 photographers who were from Argentina and Iceland, who were photographing their way through Europe. I stayed on the hill until 7am but the sun was shy refused to come out from behind the clouds. Even though we couldn’t see the sunrise,  the view from the hill was still amazing!

I decided to get some breakfast before I continue exploring the rest of the city. Scotland is famous for it smoked salmon so I thought I would give it a go and headed to the Hemma.

After breakfast, I headed to Holyrood Park, which was a short walk from the cafe. The park has many places of interest including the royal palace of Holyroodhouse and the highest point in Edinburgh, Arthur’s Seat.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time to climb the peak as I had to prioritise my time. I have been told the views from the peak is spectacular, here is a video from Robby T  showing what I missed out on-

On my way back from Holyrood Park, I came across this little statue. I asked around and there is a cute story behind this Skye Terrier. I’ll leave it to you to find the details of the story when you visit Edinburgh 😉

No trip to Scotland is complete without a whiskey tour. Although I’m not a huge whisky fan like they say, when in Rome…

I decided to splash out and spent £35 for the incredibly touristy Platinum experience at the Whiskey Tasting Experience. It was very informative and we got a taste quite a few different Scotches and they even gave us a little souvenir to take away!

After the scotch tasting session, I was tipsy hungry so I decided to get some food from Chop House in Leith. I can’t recommend this place enough, I ordered their Steak!

The next morning I was hungover raring to explore the rest of the city but as usual, I wanted to get my caffeine fix and as I was walking I came across this great cafe-

I thought I’d help leo at Leo’s Beanery! Their coffee is pretty amazing, so I don’t think “the owner” is at the risk starving anytime soon 😉

I got chatting to some tourists in the cafe and they said they are on their way to the Stockbridge Market and they recommended I check it out. I decided to take up their recommendation and I am very glad I did as the market is only open on Sundays and they not only have great food, they also have all sorts of stalls including soap and toiletries!

I decided to treat the market like a buffet and hopped around a few stall to try a bit of everything.

After stuffing myself, yet again, at Stockbridge Market, I had to head back to the hostel to pick up my bags before I head to the airport.

At the hostel, I bumped into my roommates and they said they said they went to an amazing Tea room called Casa Angelina at London Street. I told them I am not a huge fan of tea

Two days in Edinburgh, and I feel like I’ve just scratched the surface! There are so many things to do and see, you can run out of time but not options! From nightlife to stroll around the musical streets, adventure and much more! In two days, I managed to get a glimpse of everything. With good view and great food, Edinburg is a traveller’s paradise!

Next week, I am planning to explore Exmoor and go mountain biking with Niran! It should be fun. Stay tuned for my next blog post! Until then-Adios

It’s not a stretch to say internships have become indispensable. The competition for jobs has never been stiffer. When making hiring decisions, Capital Placement notes, employers will lean heavily towards students who have at least some internship experience under their belts. 

So, what does an intern do exactly?

Contrary to popular belief, completing an internship isn’t easy. If you think internships are about fetching coffee for everyone and generally riding on the team’s coattails, toss your expectations out the window. Modern intern roles – even the support kind – are as taxing and responsibility-ridden as full-time jobs!

It’s important you enter your internship with the right mindset. If you don’t know what to expect from your internship role, you’ll be better prepared and know what you need to do to succeed. Also, carrying out your intern responsibilities successfully will assist you in building up a potent skillset. 

What is an intern? 

An intern is a trainee who has signed on with an organization for a brief period. An intern’s goal is to gain work experience, occasionally some university credit, and always an overall feel for the industry they’re interning in. 

Internships may be paid, partially paid, or unpaid. The engagement period may range from a handful of weeks up to 2 years. With longer-term internships, you’ll almost always be compensated in some way. The compensation may include a monthly wage, accommodation, travel expenses, and a food allowance. 

Many companies require you to complete an internship with them before they even consider you for a full-time role.     

What does an intern do?

So what does an intern do exactly? That depends on the industry in question and the kind of internship you’ve signed up for. Research internships come with a different set of roles and responsibilities than, say, an internship geared toward easing you into a full-time role. 

An intern is primarily a support role – at least in the beginning. When you join up, your main job will be to assist, learn, and grow. After you’ve settled in, you’ll be expected to pull your own weight. 

Here’s a general overview of the work you can expect to do as an intern:     

1. Assist in day-to-day tasks

As an intern, don’t expect to spearhead a critical project anytime soon. But that’s by no means a bad thing. You’ll be groomed to spearhead projects in the future. Your boss will give you general errands to educate you on to the ins-and-outs of the organisation, to gauge your general skill set, and also to bring your skills up to par.

Here are some day-to-day intern roles and their responsibilities:   

  • Performing clerical duties: It’s almost a guarantee you’ll be taking memos, maintaining files, organising, sorting, creating PowerPoint presentations, drafting reports, and the like.
  • Managing social media and emails: You may be asked to handle the company’s social media accounts, write emails to customers, talk to clients on the phone, and similar duties. 
  • Event handling: Interns are often asked to oversee the scheduling of appointments, organising conference rooms, and taking care of the food and drink.   
  • Research: Interns fresh from a university education have a great deal of up-to-date knowledge. Your organisation may put this knowledge to good use by placing you in a research role. You may be asked to assist in streamlining an organisation’s work process in some way.

2. Learn and gain experience 

You’ll be expected to learn as much as you possibly can while you work, regardless of the kind of internship you’ve signed up for. What kind of learning will you be doing? It can be broken down into two main areas:  

  • Picking up hard skills: Hard skills are the technical skills you need to carry out your intern responsibilities, and eventually job duties, successfully. Examples include learning how to operate a computer program, drafting a company report, handling the company inventory, and maintaining the company database.    
  • Brushing up on your soft skills: Soft skills are as important as hard skills. Soft skills are all about your ability to relate to people and building mutually-beneficial relationships. Examples are talking, listening, conflict handling, time management, and development of empathy. You need soft skills to manage clients, not to mention get along with your bosses and colleagues.   

3. Job shadow

Job shadowing has become the norm recently. As the name suggests, the practice involves “shadowing” someone as they perform their daily duties, observing their activities, and learning what the role entails via indirect experience. This is an especially popular practice in hands-on fields like engineering and healthcare.  

How does this work exactly? When you join the organisation, you may be assigned a mentor. The first few weeks, you may be tasked with following them around. They’ll show you the ropes while they work. You may be asked to assist with light tasks here and there. You’ll be encouraged to ask questions. Eventually, you’ll be trained to take over the position and of intern roles.  

4. Take on an increasing amount of responsibility 

As time goes by, expect to shoulder an increasing amount of responsibility. Initially, they’ll gauge your current skill set and reliability with “grunt” work. As you prove yourself to your colleagues and bosses, you’ll be entrusted with more crucial tasks. The better you perform, the more the responsibilities you’ll be given. 

When you join as an intern, it’s always smart to give it your all. The work may feel uninspiring initially. That’s understandable. But if you can demonstrate enthusiasm and perform without complaining, you’ll slowly but surely work your way to the good stuff. 

Interns who really impress their bosses can expect glowing recommendations, if not an offer for full-time work.   

5. Network 

While networking isn’t an official requirement as such, it might as well be. Networking involves building relationships with your bosses, colleagues, and customers and clients. You’ll need the backing and support of people in places to build a successful career. Also, building good relationships with customers is always good for the organisation.

Here are some examples of the kind of networking interns do: 

  • Finding a mentor: Mentors act as anchor roles for interns. If you find a good one, you can follow in their footsteps and build a successful career just like your mentor. 
  • Forming a peer support group: Interning is hard. Finding a peer support group who is going through all the ups and downs with you will make it much more enjoyable for everyone involved. 
  • Getting in with bosses and coworkers: Interns who can build strong individual bonds with their coworkers and bosses become a part of the “family”. You’re much more likely to be offered a full-time role at the company down the road. 

6. Make a career call 

Finally, usually at the tail-end of your internship, you have to make a career-defining decision: continue in the field you interned in or try your hand at something else entirely. 

You got a taste of what working in your industry full-time would be like. Did you love the experience and can’t wait to dive back in again? Or do you feel you’d be happier doing something else?

Final Thoughts

Internships are usually short-term. They’re smaller investments in time and energy than full-time jobs. Consequently, they’re perfect opportunities to explore your options. You deserve work that’s fulfilling. If necessary, you can sign up for a different but related internship role elsewhere to see if you’re happier there. 

Your internship is going to shape the course of your career. It’ll assist you in acquiring the skills you need to perform up-to-par when you’re hired full-time. It’s essential you use your internship as the training opportunity it represents. 

You’re sure to have a bright future if you work hard, build positive relationships, and remain grateful for the internship opportunity. Capital Placement can assist you in securing a life-changing internship opportunity abroad, in line with your talents, skill-set, and career goals. Reach out to us now!   

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Capital Placement

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