Like every other person in Britain, I first encountered Shakespeare at school. We read Macbeth in Year 8 and I didn’t like it. The next few years went without the Bard, until Romeo and Juliet in Year 10 & 11, in which in a very clichéd manner, I fell in love with Shakespeare and his works. At A Level I studied various texts, but with most effect, Hamlet. Ophelia was sad and I was sad too, and I realised that Shakespeare wasn’t writing just for those of his time, but for our time.
And so I have ended up here. I am in my second year at the University of Birmingham, studying English Literature and Creative Writing and just before Christmas last year, I was offered the opportunity to apply for an internship in the surrounding area. We were supplied with some brilliant placement holders, organised by the university’s careers team, but of course I only wanted to apply to the options involving Shakespeare. In fact, I applied to both internship places at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.
I am now nearing the end of my time here as a Digital Intern. It is something that I would never have pictured myself doing, or a role I thought I could thrive in, but I truly have enjoyed it beyond words. Working with the Digital Team means I’ve learnt a range of new skills revolving around the management of websites, blogs, and social media that I wouldn’t have acquired elsewhere. I can now edit pages on a site, redirect from one place to another, and schedule tweets!
Although I’m fortunate enough to have been employed since a young age, working here in an office as part of a small team has been unlike any other job experience I have had before. I feel involved, comfortable, and as though I’ve really helped out with tasks that there hasn't always been enough time for. Being offered an opportunity like this during a degree so reading based was a surprise, and something that has added to my experiences as not only a student, but as an employee. It has massively improved my communication skills and confidence in my own ability, and has acted as a way in which to show my dedication to Shakespeare.
The staff here at the Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust were also keen for me to get what I wanted out of this placement, and so I’ve had a tour of collections, been let loose with a camera in the gardens, met and made videos with some of the wonderful volunteers here, and been able to visit the Trust’s properties. It is a very rewarding and insightful place to be, be it for an internship or as a volunteer.
Regardless of what tasks I have done, or whether my fingers hurt from typing at the end of the day, I have had the opportunity to be surrounded by William Shakespeare, in the beautiful town of Stratford-upon-Avon, with others who love him just as much as I do. I couldn’t really ask for more.
I would urge anyone to apply for an internship to enhance their degree, skills, employability, and knowledge, but I would specifically recommend one here, at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.