A few weeks ago, we received a letter from one of our work placement partners, Maple Estate and Letting Agents, about a particular hardworking student. His name is Gökai Aktan and he is a 19-year-old economics student from Germany who recently concluded the Internship Programme. The Erasmus+ funded venture made it possible for Gökai to gain work experience during four weeks in London, to the resounding praise of Maple Estate Agents. His supervisor said that he had "understood their business within a very short time" and had been "instrumental in securing new business on their behalf". "Without hesitation," the letter said, they would "offer him a permanent position within the company". If that is not something to put on your CV, we don't know what is!
Gökai is now back in Germany and busy with school, but we managed to ask him a few questions between exams. Here is what he told us about his London trip.
Tell me a little bit about yourself and your background.
Currently I am living in Germany near Düsseldorf, but my roots are in Kurdistan. My parents moved to Germany twenty years ago as guest workers and have stayed until now. I grew up in a very multicultural environment. Right now, I am studying economics and next year I will finally achieve my A-levels.
What sparked your interest for business?
My father has his own office, where I have helped out since I was fifteen. So I have always been confronted with business-related work.
What has been the best moment of your trip so far?
The most special day for me was actually my birthday, which I celebrated in the club Tiger Tiger with my friends. It was a really nice evening and I realised what a diverse city London can be.
What was it like working at Maple Estate Agents?
It was a different atmosphere compared to German companies. It was a calm and comfortable working place without much stress and pressure. Maple Estates is a really professional estate and letting agency and I can really recommend this company to anyone.
What were your tasks there?
I wrote business letters, answered the phone, consulted clients and participated in viewing immovables.
Your supervisor called you 'outstanding' in their letter to us. What is your secret?
I am open to the people I meet and I think hard work pays off. Perhaps I am a bit of a workaholic?
How has this experience inspired you?
It motivated me to work harder. In the near future, I expect to become a real business worker.
How would you compare your work placement to your work or school back home?
London has another business culture compared to Germany. I think the working atmosphere is more easy-going. In Germany, we say that what a British worker accomplishes in six hours a German worker does in three...
What did you learn from the trip?
I have learned that through hard work you can achieve your goals and that it is important to travel around the world. You learn a lot from visiting new places.
What did you find most exciting about working and living in a new country?
People's habits and behaviours. The most interesting part was to see what the culture in London is like and to live on my own for a month.
What are your plans for the future?
To study economics and achieve my Master of Science. In the future I would like to work at top management level.
What would your advice be for students who are yet to embark on this journey?
Working in another country can bring you a lot of life experience. It is definitely worth it.
Gökai 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.