What really do I do?

This is the fourth week of my internship and as you would imagine, things no longer seem as odd or strange as they were when I resumed as I have gotten much more familiar with the people and the office environment.  There has also been an addition to the team while many International Officers have returned from their trips which means I have been meeting at least one or two new faces every week.

Interestingly, because I am “hotdesking”, it means I do not have a permanent desk but have to move around the office using different systems as they become available.  The availability of a desk depends on whether an officer is away maybe on holiday or an official trip.  However, owing to the nature of the International Office (IO), there are always available desks.

I am sure by now you are wondering what exactly is an Electronic Engineering student doing at the IO?  Well, no need to get alarmed, and no, I am not building any electronic circuits for them here (oh how I wish) or developing a new cutting edge device they can use to recruit more international students for the university, unfortunately. So, what do I do?

Ines, my Line Manager who by the way prefers I call her by name (remember my question to her in the previous blog?), in addition to other responsibilities is in charge of Web and Marketing at the IO and therefore (and logically), I assist with the design and editorial content of the IO website. This I do using a web content management software called TeamSite which I had to be trained on.  My duties also entail working on the Social Networking Campaign of the IO which means I monitor and administer the Facebook Page, twitter account and YouTube channel of the IO.

I also work with the Deputy Director of the IO on something called the International Links Register which involves me managing a special database and ensuring the right information is available to concerned parties.  This involves some interesting challenges as there are some innovations we are working on implementing this summer.  But it is not only about just working on these projects as I have to produce periodic reports on specific issues as well such as web analysis of traffic on our website and competitive analysis reports for the web and social networking.  Some of these of course veer into marketing.

But it is not all about work. Last week, all staff of the IO went on a fun day trip away from the office and guess where to? We went to the GoApe venue atMoorsValleywhere we engaged in different tree-top adventures aimed at encouraging team building. It was interesting and at times hilarious seeing the various ways we tackled the different challenges encountered.  After the adventure we went over to a colleague’s house for barbeque, drinks and football!  We blokes got Andrew’s kids teaching us how to play real football and sweating it out. Indeed, it was a fun day!

Since I work Mondays to Fridays, I have the weekends off which means I can hang out with friends.  Some of my mates are doing internships as well and so also around.  Some others are Masters/PhD students so working on their dissertations/research. Among us we have quite a number still here in town and so we never run out of what to do.  Activities range from barbeques and meals at any of our homes or going to the cinema, pub or club.  We try to ensure that even though majority of the students are away,Southamptonremains fun for us!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

And so the journey begins…

It was July 4, 2011 and the first working day of the week.  I can vividly remember walking into Building 37 as it is named and finding my way to the third floor where the International Office is located.  Time was 9.24 am when I walked into the open desk office and met Vicki Woods, the Manager of the Administration Team.  She welcomed me with that smile I have come to be familiar with in the past one week or so and offered me a seat in the waiting area.  By 9.27 am, enters Anton my co-intern at the International office this summer who had arrived earlier but stepped out to kill time.

By 9.40 am, it was time for the fun to begin with Vicki coming over to commence the induction activities.  Up to this stage I still was not exactly sure what to expect.  I mean, you know the kind of feeling you get when you are new somewhere; be it a school, football club, class, church, etc.  For example, I wondered what kind of people I was going to have to work with – were they nice, approachable, social and friendly?  Or would they be the troublesome, unhelpful and difficult type?  Would I have my own desk with my own computer or would I have to share?  And what operating system would I have installed on my PC? These and many more questions streamed through my mind at random.

Good enough, the entire induction had been well planned and outlined so that most if not all these questions streaming through my mind were answered and even other things I had not thought of had been taken care of as well.   Anton and I were introduced to all staff present at the office.  Surprisingly, only about half the members of the team were present but we were made to understand that this was due to international travel.  Of course, this makes sense as that is why it is called the International Office!  Everyone we met was quite welcoming and helpful.

The induction very importantly included such necessary items as familiarization with workstations, using phones, logging into workstations, setting up the printer, access to office documents and resources and access to the International Office website and University portal.   We also discovered that we would be “hot desking”.

Part of our induction required us going over to Building 85 which houses the Human Resource Department where we had to sign our internship contracts and sort out other issues like issuance of ID cards and access to all online facilities.  Indeed, it was impressive that by the afternoon, I had my staff ID card issued and had my staff profile registered on the University’s portal called SUSSED which meant I could actually start working!  How excited and delighted I was.  This probably was when it dawned on me that I was truly an intern.

But you know what they say – with power comes responsibility.  I am not sure but it seems Vicki very much had this in mind as the next item on the induction itinerary was my meeting with my Line Manager to appraise and outline my tasks during this internship.  I left the meeting with a clearer picture of my duties and responsibilities.  At the end of the meeting, I jokingly asked the Line Manager whether she preferred me addressing her as boss or by name.  I spent the rest of the day getting familiar with my work space and resources; indeed the journey had just begun.

The George Thomas Building (Building 37). (All images courtesy the International Office, University of Southampton)

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments