In 2022, Milla Semisch joined us on the Transport, Politics and Society module, as an exchange student through the Erasmus programme. As part of the module, Dr Susan Kenyon presented Unwire as a case study on innovative ways to encourage travel behaviour change. Milla was inspired to ask if she could work with Unwire as an intern and we were delighted to make the introduction to this innovative and forward-looking company.
When I asked Susan if she knew of any internship opportunities at Unwire, I was very nervous initially. I wasn’t sure if it was something she could organise, but as I knew I’d have the whole summer free after my Erasmus stay I wanted to find an internship in the area of transport and sustainability. On Unwire’s website I had seen that on their ‘Careers’ tab they were encouraging anyone interested in their company to get in touch – so that’s what I did. This is also my first tip to other students: if a company explicitly encourages people to get in touch even if no current job positions fit for you, do it! Worst thing that could happen is just that they don’t write back.
Susan set up a meeting with two lovely people from Unwire and we discussed how me interning could help them as well as myself to further develop my skills. We agreed that, as they are located in Copenhagen, I would join them remotely. My task was to write a report on how findings from the academic transport behaviour research could help them advance the app they provide for public transport providers. In Susan’s class specifically I had learned to read academic papers and literature as well as how to summarise the key findings. This helped me immensely and set me up to gather the resources I needed for the report at Unwire.
I had weekly meetings with the CCO at Unwire, who answered any questions I had. I updated her on the progress I made and double-checked the structure and content of the report with her. I also met other employees of Unwire and their sister companies to find out about how they work and how much academic research they incorporate into their work at the moment. Of course, working remotely was tricky at times too. After university finally meeting back on campus, here I was working mostly online again like at the beginning of the pandemic. The skills I acquired during lockdown certainly helped me in terms of time management and Zoom meetings though, but it was still challenging at times to concentrate when you’re just on your own in your student room reading papers all day.
This is why I highly welcomed the opportunity to visit Unwire at their offices in Copenhagen for a couple days. By this time, I was back in Germany so I was able to take a 6 hour train via Hamburg to get to Denmark. I stayed for 2 days in the office and met everyone in person. The team was very welcoming and excited to have an intern around. I got a tour around the office building: it has a roof garden, a Nintendo Switch, bean bags and a fully stacked ice cream fridge (it was about 30 degrees on the days I visited). I learned a lot about Danish work culture, which is very relaxed but super focused at the same time. I really enjoyed my days there, as I could just spontaneously go up to people and ask questions resulting in longer discussions and more input for me. It was the right decisions for my circumstances to do the internship remotely, but I still highly recommend to anyone looking for an internship to at least be able to visit their company once – it just makes for a more complete experience.
Overall, I’m very grateful that I got to do this project with Susan and Unwire. It helped me refine my academic skills at the same time as gaining some industry experience and knowledge. If you’re thinking of interning somewhere, whether you already have a place in mind or have just started thinking about it, I highly recommend asking your lecturers in the specific field for advice. Maybe they even know somewhere like in my case! They will certainly acknowledge you taking the initiative and do their best to help.
You can read more about Milla’s fascinating report via the Unwire webpages.
The Politics and International Relations courses at CCCU have been carefully designed to integrate work related learning opportunities for students and we are proud of our industry contacts. Another great reason to study Politics and International Relations at CCCU!