Pauline Brauner is a 19-year-old apprentice from Halver, a small town in Germany, who recently visited London with our Internship Programme. During three weeks she studied English at ADC College and worked at the market research company Winmark with business-related tasks. Back home, she is doing an apprenticeship as an industrial management assistant at HASCO Hasenclever, a corporation that specialises in mouldmaking. Apart from her interest in business and administration, she enjoys the outdoors, especially biking and running. So how did Pauline settle into big city life? Very well it seems. We spoke to Pauline about her journey and how Erasmus+ has opened her eyes to working and living abroad.
What sparked your interest for administration?
I really like the diversity of the job. During your apprenticeship you get a great insight in every department of the company, such as sales, accounting and human resources. I decided to do an apprenticeship as an industrial business management assistant after passing my A-Levels in June, 2016.
What was best moment of your trip?
There are so many to choose from, but what really stayed with me is the impressive Westminster Abbey. I had school that afternoon, so I went to Westminster Abbey early in the morning. I got an audio guide to learn about the history of the place, which was great - I highly recommend it. One evening I watched a play at the Globe Theatre, King Lear by Shakespeare. It was marvellous. It was already my second time there and I would definitely go back again.
What was it like working at Winmark?
The working atmosphere there is fantastic, so I felt very comfortable from the beginning and I was motivated every single day. I was never bored because of the variety of tasks. Time passes so fast and at the end I couldn’t believe the two weeks were over.
What were your tasks?
First of all I would like to mention that all of the tasks I did there were useful for the company and not just tasks to keep me busy. I created templates in PowerPoint for the Member Service department for Winmark’s new programmes, created databases and amended them as well as cross-referencing various online sources and internal data. Moreover, I created Excel tables and helped with the post. While working, I kept up a great interaction with my colleagues.
Your supervisor said you did an amazing job at your placement. How do you think you achieved that?
By starting my day open-minded, being proactive and motivated everyday and always willing to use my skills to complete the tasks given to me. I was interested in talking to my colleagues and improve my English as much as possible. It was also great working with people from different countries and cultures to widen my horizon and learn more about the world.
How would you compare your work placement to your apprenticeship back home?
The biggest difference is that these two companies operate in completely different branches. In addition to that, HASCO is a manufacturing company with several departments, whereas Winmark is a market research institute, offering courses. My tasks at Winmark were completely different to what I do at HASCO in Germany. But I liked it, it was great for me to get insight into a totally different company.
How has this experience inspired you?
This incredibly positive experience showed me that I really enjoy working in London. It seems like this work experience initiated an inner process that now needs to be taken further. I imagine several internships will follow over the next few years.
What have you learnt from the trip?
Apart from improving my autonomy and language skills, I realised I never want to stop doing internships or working abroad, especially when it comes to communicating in foreign languages and keeping in touch with people from other cultures. It is important to broaden your horizon and build a differentiated and multifarious worldview.
What have you found most exciting about working and living in a new country?
I really enjoyed taking part in every day London life, especially the work experience.
What are your plans for the future?
In May 2018 I am going to pass my apprenticeship. Then I would like to study Law at university, with focus on Economic Law. I would like to do exchange programmes and possibly work abroad.
What would your advice be for students who are yet to embark on this journey?
Before giving any advice I would like to congratulate them for their decision to take part in this journey! My advice would be: never be narrow-minded. Try new things, like different food or ways of working. Be proactive in your company, show your supervisor how interested you are in your internship and do not forget to communicate with your colleagues. Look to the right and left, because there are so many ways to go and there is definitely one way that is perfect for you.
Pauline visited London with our Internship Programme, a project eligible for funding from Erasmus+. Now we are also arranging work experience projects in Dublin. Don't hesitate to contact us if you would like more information about what we do and how to get funding. Call a Country Manager today on +44 2084249424 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.