Depending on the sector, length and general nature of your work experience placement or internship, you can expect a variety of things, and of course the unexpected!
Training: an internship or placement should provide you with experience and training not only for the length of your time with the organization, but also for future roles and your graduate career. If you’ve not been shown how to do something, just ask – the vast majority of organizations are friendly places, and if they’re not, ask yourself is it really the sort of organization you want to work for?
Responsibilities: your responsibilities as an intern or work experience student will largely depend on the type (and size) of organization and your particular workload. Some interns find themselves working on particular projects, either on their own or as part of a team, and this often means a high level of responsibility for the tasks and outcomes. Some interns however may be working on a particular function of the business and just be responsible for this, although this isn’t a bad thing as quite often this is a crucial cog in the machine that ensures overall success!
Who you’ll work with: this very much depends on the size of the organization, it may just be one other person, or it may be hundreds! Be prepared for both – you may need to be able to build a strong working relationship with just one other person, or maintain relationships with several. Communication is key.
Other expectations: don’t expect to make the tea and coffee (well, not all the time) - this is a very outdated representation of interns, so just join in with the rest of the team and take it in turns, but always offer so that you create the right impression.