Internship Interview: Emma Danbury

In Internship Interviews, MA Multilingualism’s students give us insight into what their placement is like! Kicking off is Emma Danbury, who is doing a research internship at the University of Amsterdam.

“Hi! My name is Emma, I’m from the United States. I did my Bachelor’s in Communication & International studies and then I worked for three years as an English as a foreign language teacher in the Czech Republic. Through teaching I became even more interested in languages, and how people learn languages, especially in a multilingual context. The Multilingualism programme was exactly where all of my interests were able to meet.”

Where are you taking your internship?

“At the University of Amsterdam, with the Research Institute of Child Development and Education. I’m working in a close team of 4 people, of which one is our lecturer Joana Duarte, on a project called Multiquity. We’re looking at how schools use multilingual approaches to make education more equitable. We hope to interview a total of four schools who are using multilingual approaches in the classroom and in the vision of the school, and find out what the perspectives of teachers, students and administrators are regarding the impact of those approaches. It’s been really fun to talk to people who are making it work.”

What were you looking for in an internship?

“I wanted to find something that was primarily related to education, and gain practical skills and experiences that I would be able to apply to jobs in the future. In this project, we’re researching how linguistics and multilingualism can be used in a practical way, especially in increasingly diverse communities.”

What does a typical day at your internship look like?

“As my internship is online and very connected to my thesis, I’m quite flexible in how I manage my time. In a typical day, I would have an online meeting with the rest of the team, to see how things are going, talk about the next steps in our research. Usually there’s a lot of reading and screening articles involved, as we’re doing a systematic literature review in the internship, as well as in my thesis. I’m also making interview guides and I’m contacting schools. The most exciting part is when we’re doing interviews with schools. We’ve had two online interviews, but soon we will be going to schools to interview students in person, so I’m really looking forward to that!”

How are you finding your internship so far?

“I’m really liking it! It’s nice to have the flexibility to work from different places: I’m now in Sweden for example. It’s been great to get insight into how our research group works together and all the steps that are involved in the research process, from getting approved by the ethics committee to conducting the interviews and being in contact with schools. I would advise other students to look for an internship that is research oriented as well. As I’m looking to develop practical research skills, it really helps to have an internship that can support your thesis and vice versa.”

Can you tell us about your future plans?

“I’m first focusing on my thesis, in which I’m interested in how theory on multilingual practices can be translated into practice, and how that is happening now. Once the programme has finished I’ll be on the job search. I really want to do something that combines education and multilingualism, and something where I can put my skills into practice directly. Right now I’m looking at jobs in Sweden, as that’s where I’m planning to move next year. Maybe I’ll work in developing and publishing educational materials!”