Intern Review

by University of Oxford

This review was submitted over 4 years ago, so some of the information it contains may no longer be relevant.


  • The Role
  • The Company
  • The Culture

    The Role

  • 1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?
  • It was my first internship (physics) during the summer between two academic years. At first it was quite difficult since I had no prior experience, but people around me were helpful and understanding. I managed to gain a lot of experience and learn new things about physics, therefore it ended up being enjoyable.


  • 2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?
  • I was mainly working with other PhD and summer students and only interacted with academics when checking results and updating each other during meetings on our work. The PhD students were extremely helpful and they helped me whenever they could, we also often had lunch together therefore I feel I was appreciated despite being an undergraduate.


  • 3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?
  • I wasn't specifically given guidance regularly, but whenever I needed help I could email or ask my supervisor in person and he gave me some helpful guidance. Obviously I wasn't told word by word what to do, and I had to figure things out myself, but that is the point of doing an internship!


  • 4. How busy were you on a daily basis?
  • I was moderately busy, I could choose my own working hours which was extremely helpful. I usually started between 10-11 am, had a 1-2 hr lunchbreak and went home around 5-6pm. I always had something to do but I was not struggling with finishing my workload on a daily basis.


  • 5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?
  • I believe the amount of responsibility I was given was justified - an undergraduate before second academic year during the summer: some responsibility but not a lot. I was given tasks of comparing simulated data to actual measurements, which bears some responsibility since that data hadn't been thoroughly analysed but people usually knew what results to expect.


  • 6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?
  • I wish to become an academic person, therefore doing an academic physics internship is quite valuable. I developed many useful skills, such as organising my work, communicating with other people who work on something similar, and attending regular meetings where I had to summarise what results I achieved. These skills will be useful in academia and elsewhere too.


    The Company

  • 7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?
  • The general atmosphere was quite good, people got on well with each other and there were no tense situations or visible misunderstandings. There were a few deadlines but usually people were not stressful especially that things go wrong all the time with research, therefore people would be used to being delayed and everyone handled it in a professional manner that didn't make the atmosphere worse.


  • 8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?
  • It was organised in an acceptable way, when I arrived there were no plans/set tasks for me to do and I ended up doing smaller projects on the go. Luckily there were things to do. My arrival was planned 3 months ahead therefore the administrative part was well organised. (Health insurance for instance)


  • 9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?
  • Since I was doing computational physics and mainly analysed data and compared simulated data to measured ones, I only needed a computer but used my own laptop instead. They did not invest an awful lot in me, I only needed a desk and a chair. I got 'training' as I went along with my project.


  • 10. What were the perks on your work placement?
  • Flexi Time

    Working from home



  • 11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?
  • Somewhat appealing, but because Oxford is a very expensive town to live in, it would only be worth working there for a high enough salary. It is also very difficult to secure a job in academia and even in Oxford positions rarely open up, which make it less likely to even consider trying to work there.


    The Culture

  • 12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?
  • The social scene was generally quite good but that may be because the office was full of young people with similar interests. We often had lunch together and had some short discussions about our lives but we did not go beyond that (e.g. adding each other on social media or meeting after work).


  • 13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?
  • Oxford is an extremely expensive town: a pint might cost as much as £3 in some clubs, and accommodation was around £600 for a month which is quite a lot for a student. Ice-skating for one night cost £5.4 which is not cheap either. There are a lot of opportunities to socialise but they all tend to be expensive.


  • 14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?
  • Oxford is a very vivid town however in the summer most students go home which might make seem nightlife a bit boring. There are quite a few summer students on placements however they may not know anybody which might stop them from socialising. Otherwise there are plenty of pubs and clubs to go to all over the (rather large) town centre.


  • 15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?
  • Not an awful lot, but that is partly because I was doing a computational internship and therefore I was confined to the office. Others who work in a lab have more opportunities. There are many outreach activities going on for prospective students but people would need the right to work in the UK for those. Otherwise the town has plenty of opportunities.


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Internship (1 Month+)

South East

April 2019

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