We recently received an email from one of the supervisors at Your Travel Family, a tour company based in London, who thanked us - in capital letters - for placing one of our students with them. Her name is Andrea Gula and on the back of the nice feedback we decided to make her our Student of the Month!
It is a few weeks ago now that Andrea embarked on the Internship Programme, an Erasmus+ funded venture that makes it possible for European students to do work experience abroad. Swapping her native Austria for the big city of London, Andrea's economic studies came in handy as she interned as a Junior Business Analyst at YTF. After the programme ended, we got in touch with her to see if the feeling was mutual. London certainly took a liking to her, but how does she feel about London?
Tell me a little bit about yourself and your background.
My name is Andrea and I live in Graz, which is the second largest city of Austria. Currently, I am a student at the commercial high school HAK Grazbachgasse majoring in International Economics. I am very keen on languages, that is why I am learning French and Spanish beside English as well. Furthermore I enjoy traveling, swimming and playing volleyball.
What sparked your interest for business?
Well, as a student at a commercial high school I am confronted with the word "business" almost every day. I learn all the essential stuff that is needed to run a business successfully and I am interested in applying my theocratical knowledge in the real business world.
What has been the best moment of your trip so far?
This question is very hard to answer as there were several moments which I really enjoyed, but If I have to choose one of them it must be the trip to Brighton. I love exploring new cities to see what they have to offer and Brighton was simply awesome. The weather was great and there are no words to explain how beautiful the beach in Brighton is.
What was it like working at YTF Network?
In the beginning I was a little bit sceptical but then I got to know the business better and completely changed my mind. My manager Sandra has always been very friendly and nice to me, which made working at YTF Network a pleasant experience. All the tasks that I had to fulfil were manageable and I was never put under pressure.
What were your tasks?
As a Junior Business Analyst, I was responsible to support the design and development of both custom and core product features. Business Analysts work with domain experts to solicit and identify business requirements, address usability concerns and document solutions.
Your supervisor said you performed very well, had a great work ethic and thanked us for placing you with YTF. How do you think you achieved that?
I think listening played an important part. I have always tried to fulfil the wishes of my supervisor which made her happy and I accomplished all my tasks successfully. We communicated openly to avoid misunderstandings, so that no problems would occur. By doing so we worked very efficiently and fast.
How would you compare your work placement to your work or school back home?
It is pretty much the same but I still noticed some differences. Obviously you have more opportunities to move up the career ladder in London compared to Austria, but the working-atmosphere in London is more easygoing than back home.
How has this experience inspired you?
It inspired me to step out of my comfort-zone. Living and working in a new country can be overwhelming as you will notice many differences which you may or may not like, but as we say in Austria: if there is no risk, there is no fun.
What did you learn from the trip?
I think the most important thing that I have learned is to be responsible, flexible and independent as living and working in a different country requires such characteristics.
What did you find most exciting?
London is such a big city and offers many possibilities. You never run out of new places, it is impossible to get bored. I also enjoyed how polite and friendly everyone was and liked to observe all the differences concerning culture, food and people's behaviour.
What are your plans for the future?
Well, the first thing on my list is to graduate from school. Afterwards I would like to study, but I don't quite know what and where yet. If I have the chance I would like to study abroad for at least one year.
What would your advice be for students who are yet to embark on this journey?
Don't judge a book by its cover. As I already mentioned above, I was a little bit sceptical towards my job in the beginning for no good reason. Working in a new country is obviously different but isn't that the fun and interesting part of it? The world would be so boring if everything looked the same, so just enjoy the time you have, because time flies by so incredibly fast.
Andrea 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.