(Waste management and Department of Environment & Sustainability intern at BuroHappold Engineering

Internship (1-4 Months)
Edinburg Scotland
Review Date


The Role



The Role

Role Description

construction and operational waste management plans; aiding with environmental statement reports, creating guidelines for new projects, research (I don't know about yearly salary anymore)

1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?

I really loved the placement - Edinburgh. It is an amazing city with plenty of opportunities for various activities and socializing. I enjoyed the relaxed and friendly atmosphere with plenty of alternative stores and beautiful architecture. My internship was also during the August, when the Fringe festival takes place and brings entirely new experience of the city.
The internship itself was nice as well, my main duties consisted mostly of assisting with writing reports, creating guidelines for projects and research on various topics. I appreciated a lot the diversity of the tasks as well as the fact that I got a chance to work on multiple projects in different countries, with specific backgrounds and objectives. This manifoldness offered me a lot of experience in a relatively short time.


2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?

My colleagues were really great, outgoing, helpful and inclusive. I was a part of the smallest team in the office, due to what also the relationships were closer and friendlier. I felt appreciated, as the materials I created were always used further in projects. Also the contentment of my co-workers with my work was every time clearly expressed. Once I even received a thankful email for my materials from a colleague from another office (who I never met), which was very nice.


3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?

Very positive thing was that I got the support whenever I asked for it. Short term character of my tasks gave me the opportunity to navigate the execution fast and efficient.
Sometimes I was left alone due to the nature of the task itself, but it was good to feel self-governance in these moments.


4. How busy were you on a daily basis?

As my tasks were changing every 2 - 3 days, I was quite busy every day (not in a stressful way though) - getting to know new projects, reading their backgrounds and specific requirements etc., or starting a new research topic. But this was one of the things I enjoyed the most about this internship, because receiving a new task every couple of days kept me excited and interested in the work. Also, it was fascinating for me to observe how much can a similar project change only because of a different client or a country.


5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?

As mentioned above, a big part of my work was research - whether it be on policies in a certain area, solutions for project-specific issues or briefing the team on technological possibilities in relevant areas. It was satisfactory to know, that my materials were used further and built upon in big projects. However, the burden of "direct" responsibility was not so significant and a lot of my work in the gigantic projects was mostly supportive. Although I would value bigger responsibility being placed on me, I understand, that in such a short time and with such a huge projects it was not feasible.


6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?

I do not feel that I developed that many new (hard) skills, mostly practiced and improved skills I already had (owing to the fact that a big portion of my duties was research, it was mainly ppt creation, but also writing reports - MS Word).
However, assisting with writing reports was useful, as I got more used to the form and methodology of it. Also, the entire procedure of creating a waste management plan for different sites was quite new for me, and witnessing the overall process of developing a masterplan gave me a better idea on how to proceed as a leader of a big project.


The Organisation

7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?

Our office had 60 employees and was shared with another company. The interaction between these two was a little bit strange for me, as it was not very active.
Our office itself had generally better and more open atmosphere, but I would still consider it a bit too quiet. Our team though was the smallest, the most fun and the most lively in terms of social interaction. We were having lunches together and the overall mood was very pleasant.


8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?

I always had a task to do, also because many projects were shared among offices in different cities and shortly after I started I was working on tasks from colleagues from other parts of UK, too. My supervisor was making sure to always have work for me (and also my preferences were taken into account), but for a couple of times the organisation seemed a bit erratic for me. Nevertheless, there was always a person that needed help, but sometimes I had to ask for it.


9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?

My internship lasted for 8 weeks only, therefore I did not undergo any major training, except of several basic general on-line introductory courses (health, safety and environment etc.). This was, however, clear for me from the beginning and considering the length of my internship it also made sense. However, I attended 3 day event gathering employees from multiple offices across the country, that included various training sessions and seminars focused on soft-skills.


10. What were the perks on your work placement?

  • There were no perks with this Internship

11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?

I worked as an Environmental intern, but my focus was mainly on activities connected with construction waste management. Although I was asked about my plans for the future, as this is not exactly my major and main interest, despite it was a great experience, I plan to look for a bit different areas in the future. However, I met people from other departments of the company, that were interesting for me and after a discussion the possibilities are open.



12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?

There were 3 more interns with me, but each one working in a different department of the company, thus naturally we socialized more within our own teams. Several possibilities for common activities occurred, but as they were usually not attending, unfortunately I found it a bit difficult to socialize with them.


13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?

Thanks to the fact that I got the opportunity to come to EDI earlier for an interview I made contacts already prior to my actual - internship arrival in summer; and so I was lucky enough to have an amazing, cheap room close to my job throughout the entire summer.
Socialising is a very subjective term. The area I lived in was full of students and right next to a park, so if you wanted to meet somebody, it was very easy.
However, going to a bar regularly could become costly.


14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?

Honestly, I was not engaging in a nightlife as such during my internship that much.
However, there is plenty of bars just about everywhere and the only thing you need to do is to choose the most suitable one for you (as you can find all kinds of styles, music, drinks, etc.). Also, there is a lot of opportunities for a "free" fun (free cinemas, etc.) and especially during August (the Fringe festival) the city is hyperactive and you simply keep tripping on events just like that and it's great! For these, however, you need to pay most of the times (but it's worth it).


15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?

Every Friday we had a leisure meeting in the city opened to everyone from the office. That was really nice and it was a good opportunity to engage with people from other departments as well.
During my stay, a 4-day team building happening took place and this was an awesome opportunity to meet co-workers from other parts of UK as well.
Another somehow significant event was a 3-day, 150-mile cycling tour. For this I had to take a 1-day holiday but it was so worth i