The Internship Programme makes it possible for vocational students within the EU to travel to a different country and do work experience there. Any school can apply for the Erasmus+ grant and have accommodation, organisation and flight tickets paid for. This is what enabled Michal Havelka, a tech student from the Czech Republic to travel to London together with his classmates and intern at the IT company Stellarise. At the end of the placement, Michal was even offered a full-time job at the company’s Hungarian branch. We spoke to the 19-year-old about his passion for IT and what he learned from four weeks in London.
Tell me a little bit about yourself and your background.
Hello, my name is Michal. I live in a small city called Česká Třebová in the Czech Republic, it has about 15 000 citizens. I commute to school and work in Pardubice by train. I study economy and computer science at a college called Delta.
What sparked your interest for IT?
I have been interested in IT since elementary school. My friends and I spend a lot of time playing the computer game Grand Theft Auto San Andreas. One day we decided to make our own game server for this game. I didn’t have any idea of how programming worked at that time, but we wanted to have our server so I started learning the scripting language for this game. In the beginning, it didn’t make any sense to me. It was just randomly placed brackets and English words which I didn’t understand. It took a while but I started to understand the basics of programming and started to learn other programming languages.
What was best moment of your trip?
It is hard to choose just one moment. However, it was probably visiting Vue.js London 2018 - a conference about my most favourite programming framework. I have never attended an event like that before. I really enjoyed it and met some interesting people there.
What was it like working at Stellarise?
I really enjoyed it. Everyone was so nice and helpful.
What were your tasks?
The first task was to make a connection between a client sheet and issues related to Stellarise's ticket system. So when a client created a new issue in their sheet it should automatically create a ticket in Stellarise's ticket system and assign it to tech. The second task was to rewrite the existing system with statistics of open and closed tickets, working hours etc - of every employee. We had a stand-up meeting with all programmers every day. At stand-up, I said what I had done the previous day and what I was going to do that day.
We heard you were offered a job at Stellarise in Hungary, but declined due to your studies. How do you think you achieved that?
Yeah, that is true. I think it was due to my knowledge of several programming languages and frameworks - new technologies, generally. I follow trends of how to write better and nicer code. And I already have some experience in programming. But I declined because I have to study for my Maturita exam and work on my project.
How would you compare your work placement to your work or school back home?
The work placement in London was very similar to my work in the Czech Republic. Except that in London companies they usually employ people from all around the world.
What have you learnt from the trip?
Even though I didn’t talk that much, I can tell my English has improved during the trip. My English is still not good enough, but I think it is getting better. The trip definitely gave me the courage to speak English.
What have you found most exciting about working and living in a new country?
As I said, I am from a small city. London is like my whole country contained in one city. At home I commute by train for about 30 minutes a day. In London, I was commuting for about one hour and 30 minutes, which was tiring. But I really like London; the people, sights, shops, double decker buses… almost everything.
What are your plans for the future?
Many of the students from our group want to go to London next summer. So we will see - maybe I will go with them. But first I must finish my studies.
What would your advice be for students who are about to go on the Internship Programme?
Enjoy every day in London! My classmates and I were there for a month, but even a month is not enough to go everywhere you want to.
Michal visited London with our Internship Programme, a project eligible for EU funding. We also arrange 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 send us a message.