We live in a globalized world, where everybody can connect to other parts of the world easily. Even so, we still encounter stereotypes regarding other nations more than we would expect. Today, we tend to generalize, fear and exclude others more than ever before.
“Cultural exchanges are, therefore, of big importance. An exchange gives you the opportunity to gain more knowledge and expand your perception of other cultures”, says Isabelle, our intern from The Netherlands that is here as an exchange student. She studied Business Administration at the Erasmus University.
There are, of course, many other reasons to go on an exchange. We came to Poatek through the Global Entrepreneurship project, an initiative that gives you the opportunity to work in a startup. This is a way to experience a different culture in an amazing country, but also to gain exposure in a work field that you are interested in.
Dominique, our intern also from The Netherlands, studied Communication Science (Bachelor of Science) and Business Administration (Master of Science) at the University of Amsterdam. “After my graduation, I wanted to experience how it is to work in another country, preferably for a startup, so I applied for the Global Entrepreneurship project in Brazil via AIESEC”, she says.
An internship at a startup was the perfect opportunity to develop ourselves in a short period. Many students struggle whether they should choose an internship at a big corporate or at a startup. After our experience, we would strongly recommend all students to not only focus on big corporations but also to consider an internship at a startup.
“I think working in a startup gives you the opportunity to challenge yourself to be more pro-active and gives you a broader perspective on real business processes”, says Isabelle. You get more responsibilities and are more involved.
At Poatek we set up a ‘Plan of Action’ for ourselves after the first week. We described exactly what we wanted to achieve in the following months, and how we would reach our goals. Here, we’re free to be creative and to build our own projects. In this way, we have our own personal goals but are also involved in bigger general projects as well.
During the internship, we didn’t feel like “The Intern”, because interns are really part of the team. The “Poatekers” are working on really cool projects and they are always there to tell you something about it. Besides that, everyone at the company is very friendly and accessible. People know each other very well, because of the relatively small team we work with.
“I chose to follow my internship in Brazil, because I wanted to experience another culture and I had never been to South America before”, says Dominique. The country is beautiful and there are many possibilities to visit interesting places.
“During my internship, I wanted to see as much as possible of the country, so I visited Rio de Janeiro, Florianopolis and the Iguacu falls”, says Isabelle.
We would describe the people in Brazil as very friendly and helpful. Also, Brazilians are very open and welcoming. We have been invited for lunches, barbecues – or churrascos, as Brazilians call it – and parties. Brazilians are very interested.
Our experience at Poatek has been great! We have learned a lot about Poatek and how things work in a young company.
Besides, the whole Brazilian experience gave us the opportunity to learn a lot about ourselves, too. We would definitely recommend other students to do an internship abroad to develop personal and professional skills.