Name of intern: Oluwafunmilayo Miriam Akinpelu
CEU department and program: Department of History, MA in Comparative History
Year of graduation: 2021
Name of internship host organization: Petofi Literary Museum (Kassak Branch)
Name of unit you interned at organization: Communications and Research Unit
Role: Communications Intern (Remote internship)
What did you do during your internship? Can you describe a typical day in the office?
My internship at Petofi Literary Museum’s Kassak Branch was exclusively remote but, given the fact that I worked 40 hours per week, I had to create a daily routine for myself. Knowing that my primary tasks were to compose content to be posted on the museum’s Facebook page, write a Wikipedia article on Lajos Kassak, and work on podcast episodes, I took time in the beginning to envision how and when I wanted each of these tasks to be finished. This gave me a clear idea of how to work towards accomplishing them. Each day, I did research for the Facebook content production and for the Wikipedia article. I spent a lot of time with this research and produced one FB content per week, while I began writing the article during the second month of my internship. The podcast production started much later. The interviewing and recording were done at different times in Budapest, and I went to some sites where Lajos Kassak, after whom the museum was named, had lived, worked, and dined. The editing and final production of the seven episodes of the podcast took another month. So, I can say that I did not have one typical day during the internship, as each day was a bit different. I liked that my role was not monotonous.
How did the internship help you implement your previous experience and your knowledge gained at CEU?
Before coming to CEU, I had gained experience as a content editor, social media manager, freelance blogger, and writer. Working at the Kassak Branch of the Petofi Literary Museum helped me put these skills to use in a completely different setting. Although I had worked in several media organisations before, I had not worked in an artistic environment. The internship was a good way to test this out. Why a museum? As a student of history at CEU, I was inspired by my academic activities to look in the direction of working at a museum. In the Winter Semester of the 2019/20 Academic Year, I took some courses on art history and visited a number of museums in Budapest and Vienna. This convinced me to seek ways to spend time working in a museum that summer. Additionally, I began to learn about visual anthropology, oral history, digital archiving, and non-textual ways of recording, preserving, and retelling history at CEU. These new insights propelled me to engage in podcast production for the museum.
What did you learn through this internship? How will this internship help you in your career?
Having spent the better part of 2020 working on academic papers, the internship helped me rediscover my passion for writing, not only as an academic exercise but as a means of sharing knowledge. I also was able to sharpen my podcasting and audio editing skills. Through my supervisor, who was very understanding, I learnt the fundaments of working in a team, respecting the opinions or input of others, and harnessing technological tools to accomplish my tasks. I have always been a ‘communicator’ and content writer; the fact that I now have experience in a different, dynamic setting currently stands out on my CV. Also, the completed internship has fueled my intention to organise virtual or on-site exhibitions in the coming years, drawing on my love for art, photography, and music to create a trans-mediatic work.
What is your advice to current students who are thinking of doing an internship?
One piece of advice I would give to students thinking about doing an internship is that they should be keen on going for what they love and not what seems trendy or a good sell in their CVs. With internships, we can explore, discover bits and pieces about ourselves and enjoy our time while adding value to organisations that appreciate our inputs and contributions. Students should not feel pressured to apply only to big, prestigious institutions, but also to explore other places where their interests lie. It could be a recording studio, a publishing house, a video game tech startup, a ghostwriting company etc. Also, although I applied to a lot of places, I eventually got my much-desired museum internship only after having talked to someone about my passion and budding interest in museological activities. Networking can be crucial when trying to set up an internship.