My first four weeks as a SAIC intern


by Patricija Balina

SAIC Aquaculture Innovation Intern – Skills Development & Women in Scottish Aquaculture

Our Aquaculture Innovation Intern Patricija Balina shares her summer internship experience so far:

I remember when I was around ten, my best friend and I had this game where we made desks out of sofa seats, found the most “business-lady-like” outfits in my mum’s wardrobe, and pretended to work in the office. Ten years later, I have been given the chance to be a part of a real office at SAIC, which I am extremely grateful for. I have really enjoyed the office environment so far, as it is highly dynamic and the people in the SAIC team are some of the nicest I have met.

Interning here is a unique opportunity to get to know the industry, the public sector and academia at the same time, and find out what I like best. I think the importance of evaluating your own abilities and interests before jumping into any industry should not be overlooked if you want to get far in your career.

My time at SAIC has been passing incredibly fast. This week, I caught myself looking at the calendar in disbelief – I joined SAIC four weeks ago! I guess you have to believe the saying; time flies when you enjoy what you do. Indeed, every day in a SAIC intern’s shoes has been a new beginning for me: When I think back, I have probably tried more new professional things and done more networking in these four weeks than in my whole life.

But most importantly, I have been given the chance to develop my own project. A project set to provide a better understanding of public perceptions and attitudes towards the aquaculture industry in Scotland, and to help to raise awareness of the industry. It has been interesting and challenging at the same time, as I have never worked on social research before – but that is what makes it an especially rewarding experience!

In terms of my own perception of the industry, there have definitely been changes. I consider myself lucky to study at the University of Stirling and to be able to get to know the opportunities in aquaculture through the Institute of Aquaculture. However, sitting in the lectures and actually working in the industry are two very different things. In fact, it amazes me how varied one’s reality in this industry can be. Even in the office, we have people working in research and project management, but a few meters away sits the marketing, communication and finance teams.

My point is, aquaculture is so much more than physical work on a farm, and has such capacity and demand for a wide range of professionals – more so than what I have observed in other industries. I am very excited to see what awaits me in the next two months with SAIC, and can already say that this is one of the most valuable experiences I have ever had!

Discover more about our summer interns here