We are proud to introduce our new Student of the Month - Laura Duda - who recently took part in our London Internship Programme, a venture eligible for funding from Erasmus+. Following some very good feedback from one of her co-workers at Sprachcaffe, a language school in Bushey, we decided to reach out to the 19-year-old and ask her a few questions about her two-week trip to the UK.
Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
I am born and raised in a small village in the south of Germany, not far from Würzburg. At the moment I am doing a three-year apprenticeship to become a Management Assistant in a company not far from my home. In my free time I play badminton, spend time with my friends and try to travel as much as possible to different countries around the world.
What sparked your interest for administration?
I always knew I wanted to land an office job. Administration is needed everywhere, in all organisations all over the world. It means you have the opportunity to work wherever you want and pick and choose what kind of area you want to specialise in and who you want to work with.
What was the best moment of your trip?
To be honest, the best moment was when I heard the news that I would work for Sprachcaffee in St. Margret's School in London. I love travelling and was happy to get the chance to be on the organising side of a language school and making sure the students would have a great time.
I also enjoyed doing a lot of sightseeing in the evenings or on the weekends and visited plenty of places I have never visited before. One of my personal highlights was definitely the Skygarden with a 360-degree view of London.
What was it like working at St. Margret’s School in Bushey?
I really enjoyed going to work every single day. The area is really nice and calm and the premises and buildings are beautiful, like from a film. In the beginning it felt like entering a new world. It was sad to say goodbye to this beautiful place at the end of my placement.
What were your tasks?
Thanks to my supervisor Maya I had the opportunity to get to know almost all the tasks required for this kind of job. One of my main responsibilities was to plan trips to central London and Oxford. You have to check the best underground connections and shortest routes to make sure the students see as much as possible - because there is so much to see! I also planned all the departures and arrivals, checking flight details, prepared welcome packages, went shopping for the Welcome and Goodbye parties and designed posters for other free time activities. Finance was another area I gained insight in. One of the biggest lessons I learned was: no matter where you are, there will always be those who try to make your life harder, but they should never make you give up!
Maya said you had an amazing attitude and was hard working and enthusiastic. How do you think you achieved that?
If you enjoy what you are doing and surround yourself with great people, my experience is that your attitude automatically becomes positive.
How would you compare your work placement to your work or school back home?
My work placement was definitely less stressful than in Germany. People are much more relaxed, the interaction between colleagues is completely different and I got the feeling that work is not the most important thing one people's minds, as is the case in Germany. Furthermore, the possibilities in London are huge and it is much easier to find a job and have a career.
How has this experience inspired you?
Luckily, I have had the chance to be involved in the project since my school has teamed up with ADC College and offers it to students. When I first heard about it through one of our teachers, I decided straight away that I wanted to go. In my opinion, the most inspiring part of the project has been to work in a foreign organisation. You can always go abroad for holidays or whatever but without the Internship Programme it is difficult to have this kind of educational experience. I have been in London before, but I wanted to experience the city from a different angle and this was the perfect opportunity to do so.
What did you learn from the trip?
I would say that the most important lesson is that no matter where you go you should always be open to different people, different cultures and new situations. It changes you even if you don't notice it straight away.
What did you find most exciting about working and living in a new country?
Communicating in a different language all the time as well as being part of a new culture that eventually becomes your own.
What are your plans for the future?
I don’t have a plan right now but I am open for new things.
What would your advice be for students who are yet to embark on this journey?
Use your chance! Try to go for as long as possible because two weeks is too short in my opinion, time just flies once you are away. You will make the most of it if you go without expectations and stay open-minded to new things. Also, don’t give up after the first few days if you get off to a bad start. Instead give it some time, in the end you get used to everything. Everyone who has the chance to experience something like this should be really, really happy!
Laura 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.