Going on an internship to another country can be pretty nerve-racking. Especially now, during corona, when you don’t even now what to expect and when logistics have gotten more challenging. Luca and Tommy are two students from Germany, who have decided to follow through with their internships and come to Vienna in the midst of a pandemic. During their stay, we from AIESEC have had a chance to get to know them and share some fun times together. In this interview, we talk about what their jobs are like, what they have learned so far and how corona has affected their experiences.
AIESEC: Tell me about your internships.
Luca: I work for an Austrian start-up called Eolida, selling olive oil. My job is to expand the market to Germany – currently the oil is only available in Austria. So I am searching for potential clients, emailing them and trying to figure out the best way for delivery.
Tommy: The company I work for is an IT start-up, founded in 2017, so it’s pretty young. They’re mostly focused on conversational AI, creating chatbots, phone call automation for the customers. I’m working on the front end, which means I’m responsible for user interface, for the things that the user sees and implementing different functions for the platform that we are creating where the users can create their own chat box. Also I am testing the product, making sure it works before it goes into production.
A: How did you find out about AIESEC and why did you decide to do an internship through us?
L: I just did internet research. I was searching for internships abroad, because I wanted to go to another country and AIESEC popped up. Then someone from AIESEC contacted me and that’s how it started.
T: Probably the same as Luca, I also did internet research. At first I tried to find companies on my own and to contact them, but it didn’t work out that well. So I tried to find something like AIESEC where they offer internships. In my case I needed to go abroad, as part of my studies, so it was mandatory for me. I could’ve still done it in Germany, because of Corona, but I wanted to go abroad.
A: Why did you want to go on an internship abroad?
L: That’s a difficult question. I just don’t like to stay in the same place. I had the choice to stay at home and have an internship at a company I worked at one year ago, but thought to myself what about something new? So I decided to go to another country.
A: And now when you mentioned corona, did it affect your experiences in any way?
T: It’s definitely different. My lifestyle has changed completely. But I don’t see that big a difference at my work. We all try to keep distance, but in the end we live normal, we try to be normal and stay focused on what we are supposed to do at work and not let corona distract us.
L: I think normally at my dorm there would be nice parties, but unfortunately there aren’t any now. (Laugh) In the beginning I used to work a lot with my boss, but then he had contact with a person that was tested positive for corona and so we weren’t able to see each other. It has somehow affected me for a period of time, because I couldn’t see my boss, so it affected our communication.
A: Do you have previous internship experience? How does it compare to this one?
T: I don’t have any previous experience. But I feel like it’s really cool to do your first internship in a start-up, to get a look at every area of this company, to see how things work, how different areas connect and communicate with each other. I will have a much bigger impact on the product that they are creating. I feel like I can change things, that what I’m doing is important for others and I really like that about my internship. So far my experience has been good.
A: How well do you both think you were prepared for your positions? Were they a challenge, knowledge-wise and did you receive any training?
L: I have many tasks. I’ve never done website design before, but I had to do it now, so I basically watched YouTube tutorials to learn. My boss has a lot of experience and he helps me with everything. He came from Greece, started selling olive oil from door to door until he made this business. He trains me in sales, as well, talks to me about the techniques he uses.
T: In the beginning I felt a lot of pressure from my boss, as if he had very high expectations from me as an intern. But I’m lucky that I’m having a great supervisor, who is teaching me a lot, who is patient with me, who takes time to introduce me to and teach me new things. I got a good start because of my supervisor. My co-workers are also young and very friendly, so they help me in case I have any questions. They are never mad or disappointed if I ask stupid questions. I feel welcomed there.
A:Besides the job, how do you guys like your life in Vienna here?
L: I definitely like the support from AIESEC, the fact that we can go out with you guys. Without you I would have never met Tommy. Maybe it’s because of corona, but it’s quite difficult to meet people now. Funny thing is that I have met only two people who are actually from Vienna. I have met so many people, especially because of AIESEC, that are from all around the world.
A: How do you like this? Would you like to work internationally?
L: I like it a lot. It is a goal of mine for the future to work with other people and I want to meet as many cultures as I can.
T: Working internationally is also something I would love to do in the future. I don’t feel like I’m too far away from home here in Austria, it’s not such a cultural shock, but it’s still international and my working language is also English. That’s surely something I can imagine in the future.
A: What was your admission process like?
L: For me it was pretty easy. I applied on Monday, I got an answer on Wednesday, I got the interview on Friday and I got accepted a few days later. (Laugh) It was really easy.
T: For me also not that hard. I applied on AIESEC’s website. Then someone from AIESEC arranged a call with someone from the start-up and I had a 20 minute call with my now boss. It was very chill and he told me about the company and also about himself. At the end of the call he told me I was accepted. So it went really fast, I didn’t expect it to be that easy.
A: Do you have any previous experience from applying to jobs?
L: It was hard to apply for internships before I found AIESEC. I would apply for all the jobs I found on the internet and maybe it was because of corona, but most of them didn’t answer, which was pretty hard. And that’s why it was nice with AIESEC to have someone to call and to talk with. My supervisor, she sent me links with jobs for which I could apply.
A: What is your favorite part about the experience?
T: That I have met new people from other countries. At the company I work in, I also have coworkers from other countries. It’s nice to get to know other cultures. And regarding my work, I really like the flexibility to get to know firsthand about the life of a software developer, how he works within different areas.
L: In general I like that I have met so many people from different countries. I came here thinking it’s a German speaking country, I will probably be speaking German all the time. But I haven’s met a single Austrian for four weeks. Only people from Mexico, Cairo…And that’s probably the best thing about it.
For Luca and Tommy, the close contact they had with their superiors and all the people they have met during their time in Vienna is the best part. We at AIESEC have also gotten to know them pretty well and are sad to say that, at the time you’re reading this interview, they are already back home in Germany. Despite of the current situation, they have managed to make the most out of their experiences, make a lot of new connections and open their horizons to new possibilities. This could very easily be you! To learn more about our Global Talent program or apply for an internship, sign up under the link.