Sebastian Böhme is an apprentice from Germany who recently visited Dublin with the Internship Programme and Erasmus+, a journey that may change the course of his life. For four weeks, he interned at International House, an English language school, and greatly enjoyed speaking English with the international students.
Back home, Sebastian studies at vocational level, working as an office apprentice in Dortmund. When he was six years old, his parents signed him up for an English course and even though he hated it at the time, Sebastian now thinks it is the best thing his parents have done for him. We spoke to the 20-year-old about his impressions of Ireland and what he plans to do next.
What sparked your interest for business and administration?
I was always interested in buying and selling things for profit. I also like the thought of having a lot of different chances and learn and do different kinds of jobs. I hope that I will be able to work wherever I want.
What was the best moment of your trip?
That is a hard question because I experienced many great and impressive things. The Cliffs of Moher were marvelous. Or visiting the Guinness Storehouse, seeing the great view over Dublin and St. Patrick's Cathedral. It is hard to pick one splendid moment, but visiting Dalkey was something else. My parents visited me in Dublin and we went to Dalkey by Dart. We went on a tour through Dalkey Castle and after that we went for lunch. After eating fish and chips, we noticed a pub on the other side of the road and my dad and I decided to go for a quick pint of Guinness in there. We all stepped inside and were so overwhelmed by the greatness of this from the outside plain-looking pub. Inside, it looked like an old church with ceiling frescos and stained-glass windows as well as an old balcony. I don’t know how to describe this place, except one word that comes to mind: awesome!
What was it like working at International House?
It was fun. Everybody was so nice to me right from the beginning. They were happy to have somebody helping out and I was happy and thankful for each task I got. I simply tried to do all tasks as well as I could and it seems like my work was appreciated. I did a lot of cool stuff there. I really liked working at the reception and talking to students from all over the world. It helped me improve my English.
Can you talk a bit more about your tasks there?
Most of the time I helped out at the reception. I wrote letters and answered questions from the students. I went for errands, for example picking up a passport from the Russian embassy in Dublin, which felt strange since I have never been to an embassy before. I also held presentations in front of the students, which was strange because talking in front of groups is not my favourite thing in the world. But I think I did kind of well!
Yes, your supervisor was very impressed with your work at the school. How did you achieve that?
First of all, I do not know why my supervisor was so happy with me but I think perhaps it is because I have done my tasks well and because I tried to be myself. About the presentations, there is this thing they call the Social Programme at International House. It is pretty cool, because it means the students can do cool stuff after school with other international students from all over Dublin. They are able to improve their English and make friends. This programme is promoted in front of the classes so that everybody is kept in the loop of what is going on. I was nervous about speaking in front of people at first but in the end, it was kind of fun because I wasn't as afraid of making mistakes. By thinking: “Even if I do not know a word or spell something wrong, it is not that bad because these students are also here to learn English and may not even notice it” took a lot of pressure off of me.
How would you compare your work placement to your work at home?
The office at International House is similar to the one I work at in Germany, although the tasks – especially at reception - were totally different. Every student has got a different question and something new happens every day. Sometimes it was pretty exhausting because I needed to run to collect books or show them the way to the classrooms. In Germany I simply sit on my chair and handle nearly all my work from there.
What did you learn from the trip?
I learned a lot and I don't know where to start. For example, I made some good friends in Dublin, which reminded me of the importance of friendship. I also got to know Irish culture and learned that life can be totally different outside of Germany. An Irish person would never order a beer and a coffee at the same time, which is pretty interesting...
What did I find most exciting about working and living in a new country?
As I told you before, it was great to learn things about the Irish and their daily habits. At first, I was afraid that I was going to miss my family, but I felt at home right from the beginning. I talked to total strangers as if I had known them for years. I spoke English all the time and people said I spoke well, which felt marvelous.
What are your plans for the future?
I can totally see me working and living in Ireland in the future! Maybe for a few years or even longer. I hope that I will get the chance to do that after my apprenticeship. I also want to visit other countries and travel through the UK to learn more about British culture and see great places.
What would your advice be for students who are yet to embark on this journey?
I was never very good at giving advice and it might not be the best idea to listen to me, but I will give it a shot.
Do not expect that cars fly in Dublin or that horses ride people rather than the other way around... The city itself doesn't look that different from German cities, however if you give it a closer look you will start noticing the differences and you will love it. Don't just go to Dublin because you want four weeks away from home. This is a great chance for your future. Have fun in Dublin - it is great!
Sebastian visited Dublin 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.