As part of my bachelor’s degree in communication studies from the University of Malta, I had to participate in an internship programme. Before the start of the 2019/2020 semester, towards the end of September, I managed to find an internship opportunity as a graphic designer with the Erasmus Student Network Malta, a youth voluntary organisation.
As a multi-disciplinary organisation which organises countless of activities each year, ESN Malta has a number of different teams which include the Leisure and Events Team, and the Business and Finance Team among many others. As a graphic design intern, I was part of the Communication and Content Team. I was tasked with designing posters, banners and other print and digital artworks which promoted ESN Malta’s activities, events, projects, and campaigns under the guidance of Kyle Mangani, the Communications Manager.
My time with ESN began as required placement for my final year of studies at the university but turned out to be so much more than that. Through this internship, I was able to benefit and improve on a number of soft-skill competencies and other personal and professional benefits which would last me a lifetime:
1. New heights in Graphic Design
In designing countless event posters and covers, I was forced to expand my knowledge of the tools available at my disposal and improved my ability to use Adobe InDesign and Adobe Illustrator. Learning and taking inspiration from other ESN programs around Europe, as well as communications manager Kyle Mangani, as a team, we were able to boost the quality of ESN Malta’s visual content resulting in one of the best years to-date for both digital and print media outreach, engagement, and interaction. I was also tasked with designing posters for talks organised by the European Commission, European Parliament, UN IOM and other University organisations such as KSU and MUSC.
Poster advertising the UM Orientation Day for international students
2. Expanding My Network
I attended the majority of events hosted by ESN Malta. In doing so, I formed countless relationships and friendships with many students from all around the world. I consider this to be invaluable to my development in the professional world as ESN provided me with the avenue necessary to expand my network beyond the Maltese islands. Not only did I meet like-minded university students optimistic for their professional futures, but also got opportunities to meet people of merit locally such as the President of Malta and representatives from well-established organizations like the UN IOM and MFA.
My poster design for the International Migrant Film Festival which ESN Malta organised.
3. Time Management
Creating posts on Facebook and Instagram, designing posters, submitting them for approval, re-doing the poster, while writing a thesis and preparing for final exams all at the same time was something I had to deal with on an almost daily basis while maintaining my social life and keeping fit and healthy. Interning with ESN Malta comes with a lot of responsibilities, plenty of tasks and constantly brainstorming. Meanwhile, I was still expected to attend my lectures, complete my assignments, study for exams and perform well academically. Before joining ESN Malta I never had such a full agenda, but being able to accomplish all of my tasks in the best way possible helped me develop the best personal and professional skill ever: time management, the ability to keep cool and manage a thousand other things at the same time.
4. Active Citizenship
Before ESN Malta I had never taken it upon myself to generate interest in any form of volunteering. ESN opened my eyes to new areas in society. From one year to the next I transformed my role in society. Through my ESN journey, I went from hardly engaging myself with the local community to playing football with migrants and planting trees on Maltese soil for the improvement of the society I form a part of. ESN gave me a better understanding of how many organizations in Malta work towards societal goals rather than focusing on individual development.
After joining ESN, I found myself spending more time on campus, and staying on after lectures. Over the two semesters, I spent hours at the ESN office contributing to discussions regarding planning and events, as well as mingling with Erasmus students that would pop in for some information or a little chat. This greatly contributed to the development of my interpersonal communication skills over the past year.
Photo of Communications Manager Kyle Mangani (left) and ESN Malta President Luca Arrigo (right) posing in front of the backdrop I designed at the Semester 1 ESN Gala.
5. Organisational Development
ESN Malta taught me a lot about organisational structure, operations, and the importance of effective teamwork. During my time with ESN Malta, I involved myself in a multitude of tasks conducted by the organisation. I would attend board meetings and contribute to the discussions on planning and executing events and projects aimed at hundreds of young people.
Attending board meetings gave me insight into how much work goes into running a non-profit organisation and setting its direction and approach to everyday problems and finding common solutions. I developed an appreciation for the tightly knit team which formed the ESN Malta Board who have shown me what great leadership and teamwork looks like, and how it is assembled, and most importantly, how it is maintained.
This amazing journey began as a requirement to fulfil the ECTS needed to complete my final year of my bachelor’s degree. After almost one year and well over the 100-hour requirement, I have become a core member of this non-profit, and I have contributed to the continuous growth and success of ESN Malta. I am extremely grateful to the ESN Malta team who accepted me right from the start, and all of whom have helped me to develop invaluable skills which cannot be learned in any classroom, and which I intend to apply and utilise in the professional world.
My ESN Malta family.