What does a great internship look like?

Joshua Crofts
Friday 3 December 2021

Many St Andrews students choose to intern with large graduate employers. In this post, freetobook, a family-owned tech company, offers their thoughts on the benefits of pursuing an internship with a smaller organisation.

Internships are often our very first proper and tangible experience of the profession we’ve dreamt of working in.  If undertaken successfully, internships should answer a few key questions:

  • What’s working life really like in that profession?
  • After university, what is my skillset? 
  • What will I be able to contribute? 

These are big questions! There’s a lot riding on them, and yet often they just sit there in the back of our minds.

For us at freetobook, we see our internships as way to help people answer these questions and fall in love with the industry they’ve chosen.  We create travel tech for small, independent accommodation businesses around the world and it’s something we love doing.  We’ve always got diverse projects on the go, so there’s plenty for interns to get stuck into.  

After years of taking in interns, we’ve come to the simple conclusion that you’ll be able to answer these questions by joining a dev team in full flow and becoming part of the whole end-to-end project process. That’s a big jump, but there’s plenty of support from your personally selected mentor, the senior devs, our head of people, and the directors. We’re big on team collaboration and that means sharing knowledge in a positive and open way. It’s an ideal environment to get real world experience of pushing code to production while using development tools and methodologies in helpful, friendly teams. Within these small teams, we see creativity as the differentiator, and this is something we encourage and nourish. 

The growth and inner confidence of an intern comes from a sense of achievement, of being able to look back across the three months and see what you’ve accomplished and how far you’ve come.  This is what we focus on.

freetobook's open plan office
freetobook’s office

But it’s not all hard work. We’re a small, close-knit team of 25 who enjoy solving interesting and exciting challenges – we’re often doing things no one else has ever done. Working closely together requires a sense of fun, so if you’re looking for a large, serious corporate name to stamp on your CV then look elsewhere (we don’t offer that nor do we aspire to it). The work we do is valued by thousands of small businesses that rely on our skills and passion to support their businesses: in our latest customer poll, 96% of respondents said freetobook was either very good or good for their business. In that, we find our sense of self – doing the right thing for the right reasons.  

We love having interns and the positive learning energy they bring. In return, we promise to do our best to equip them for their future. Luckily for us, many have decided their future is with freetobook! 

If you are interested in working with freetobook, they are currently advertising for interns on CareerConnect. If you would like to see what previous interns think about their time there, you can watch some recent feedback. For information on internships in general, please visit our internships pages.

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