As I start my fourth year at QMU, I’ve been reflecting back on the incredible experience I had interning in Canada through the Saltire Internship Programme. The past couple of months have had a huge impact on my personal and professional growth, but my journey with the Programme started back in October 2017, when I embarked on the first steps of the application process. So, without further ado let's take it back to the beginning.

Since moving to Edinburgh, I have been pursuing my BA (Hons) in Media. Studying has brought with it a whirlwind of changes and a lot to get used to, and I’ve been seeking to improve myself professionally at the same time. Indeed, throughout my time at QMU, the Careers and Employability team has been a massive source of help and advice. They helped me to improve my CV numerous times and they offered support and feedback throughout my whole application to the Saltire Internship Programme.

So what is the Saltire Internship Programme? Managed by Entrepreneurial Scotland, it allows university students in their penultimate year of study to undertake commercially valuable projects in Scotland and all over the world. It’s designed to provide participants with a global perspective, encouraging an entrepreneurial mindset, and growing their confidence through valuable professional work

One of my goals with the Saltire Internship Programme was to obtain more hands-on experience in the media field because graduation felt so close (and now more than ever it is!). I aimed to make sure I'd get as much workplace experience as I could before graduating. After passing the first application process and the interview with the Programme, I was selected for interviews with two different companies, but neither of them chose me as their intern. So it was disappointing at first, but I kept applying and eventually I was selected again for Boat Rocker Media, in Toronto. The next day after interview I got a call from them; they had chosen me to be their Media summer intern. As cheesy as it sounds, it was a dream come true, especially after all the stress and hard work.

At the end of June, I flew to Toronto to start off my internship. I was slightly delayed with my work permit, which meant I got to do many of the touristy things in the first week there. I interned in the Rights department of the company, which manages and sells shows from their different production studios to broadcasters around the world. One of their most famous TV series is Orphan Black, which was produced by Temple Street Productions and BBC America.

I remember that after my first week on the job I could not wait to go back the following Monday. From the HR manager and the Rights team manager, to all my co-workers in the Rights Department and the bigger Boat Rocker Media team, everyone was nothing but lovely, approachable and hardworking. I felt immediately accepted and trusted with the work. I was empowered to bring my input and do a great job every day.

I was the first intern to work in the Rights department, and it matched perfectly my passion for television, my meticulous attention to detail and the organisation freak that lives in me. Throughout my internship, I continuously worked on the company's database to update and organise records of their intellectual property. I also took part in meetings with the Sales and Brands Teams, who trusted me with creating colouring images of one of their animated series, and I assisted with the application for the Canadian Screen Awards 2019.

Moreover, my manager organised two days out for me at one of their animation studios Jam Filled, where I could attend spotting sessions with producers and see how a cartoon is made. She also sent me off to the set of Killjoys, a sci-fi series produced by Temple Street Productions. I did a whole tour of the set and took part in a table reading for one of the episodes. It was a fantastic experience.

I'll admit there were highs and lows, like anything in life, but my time in Toronto was outstanding. I came back to QMU feeling more motivated than ever, and ready for anything that comes my way. Everyone I met on the job was willing and interested in my experience and in showing a bit of their professional world. I now feel more reassured that I have chosen the right degree path.

I'd like to thank both Entrepreneurial Scotland and QMU for partnering to offer such fantastic opportunities. I'd highly recommend to any eligible students to apply and give it a go. You won't regret it. Or look out of the other internship and travel opportunities available via QMU.

My manager at Boat Rocker thinks great things are in store for me, and now I believe it too.

For more information on the Saltire Internship Programme

More information on other internships and awards at QMU

Ylenia Saitta

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