I’m Charlotte, and I’ve just finished my first year studying English at Brasenose College. I was lucky enough to get the chance to work with Oxplore for three weeks in June and July as their summer intern—here’s my thoughts on what the experience has meant to me, personally as well as professionally.
As someone who has both benefitted from and volunteered at access and outreach events, I was so excited to be able to carry on this work when I was offered my three-week summer internship with Oxplore.
Coming straight from the stressful exam season, it was wonderful to be able to throw myself into something different, creative and most of all, fun! The team put me at ease from the start, and allowed me to be involved with a range of tasks and events, which really helped me to understand the work that goes into widening access to Oxford. Some days were spent in the University Offices, writing engaging and accessible content for the Oxplore website—my favourite of these was for the upcoming Big Question, ‘Is school the best place to learn?’ It involves a list of Top 10 Best and Worst Fictional Teachers, and, for an English student, it was an absolute dream!
The digital aspect of Oxplore was, I must admit, a concern of mine before I began the internship, as I’ve never been the most proficient with technology! However, I soon got the hang of the different programmes and really enjoyed using my creativity to come up with interesting videos and images for the site. This digital element is so important to the future of widening access beyond areas local to Oxford, and I know that I would have been grateful for a resource like Oxplore when I was in secondary school. Due to this internship, I have become more aware of the importance of reaching students at a younger age, and of ensuring a positive, more accurate presentation of Oxford and its people is accessible to everyone, regardless of background.
The internship also allowed me to develop skills outside of the office, including attending video shoots and assisting with outreach activities such as the Undergraduate Open Days and the Target Oxbridge residential. This really helped to cement my passion for access and outreach—I get so much satisfaction from helping young people to overcome the barriers to Oxford I would not have overcome if it weren’t for events like these. Taking an active role in public-facing activities, along with the responsibilities I was given in the office, pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped me to grow my confidence, something which has been—and still is—an important personal goal.