Hello. This is Elvin, from Tirana, Albania and I wanted to share a short story with you. The following might be mostly about me, but I want you to know that it can be about you as well.
You’re visiting the blog of the Internship Program of German Business, so the following will be about a couple of things I’m assuming that you might want to consider.
The career part started pretty early for me. I was drafted along with some of my friends as part of the direct marketing group of a newly launched marketing and communications agency, named Comport. At the time I was studying Business in a technical high school in Tirana, so direct marketing and research campaigns kinda made sense.
Looking back, this part-time working experience was invaluable and it served as a compass, helping me broaden my point of view and most importantly, helping me discover something that I liked – you know, school is great but you need to be out there, in the field, to see firsthand if you like that or not. So in this perspective, I would invite you to try and discover something that you like and if possible, try to start figuring out the first steps into your professional career.
Speaking of next steps, an important one for me was the internship program. At first I was very skeptic of such programs but a friend of mine encouraged me to apply. And I took the application seriously – so seriously in fact that I sent 4 reference letters. I will agree with you, the reference letters might have been too many, but taking the application seriously worked and helped me land one of the most important parts of my professional career.
Interning in Germany. Oh boy! I don’t think I can do it any justice to this experience by putting it into words. It’s not only that you get to go there and work in a German company, you will also have to live there, step out of your element, make it on your own, make new friends, share your culture, learn the customs and maybe even some of the language (if you’re lucky).
I interned at WAZ Mediengruppe (now Funke Mediegruppe), located in Essen, the third largest newspaper and magazine publisher in Germany (I hope that hasn’t changed). The company was so big, they had even an internal mail service, you know, to deliver mail to the colleagues in another building. I was assigned to the WAZ New Media, the department responsible for the development and marketing of ‘DerWesten.de’ news portal.
During this time, I also had the opportunity to explore the newsroom and production units of NRW.TV, a regional TV station located in Düsseldorf, part of WAZ, as at the time I was working at a TV station in Albania and I was eager to look at the equivalent in Germany.
Verdict: The working culture alone was eye-opening. Positions were highly specialised and everyone at the company was a thesaurus of expertise and provided you with opportunity to learn more. And getting back to where we started, if you combine factors like these with an eagerness to learn and to prove yourself, the internship has the potential to deliver the perfect scenario for you to broaden your expertise and maybe foster the next steps of your professional career.
And as an extra incentive, you’ll also get to make a lot of new friends. The Albanian group always has a special place in my heart for all the experiences we have shared but I’ll equally cherish my friendship with Bojan – we played a lot of kicker at WAZ, didn’t we?; Chris – an even bigger movie geek than myself, and Marko, Djordje, Tin, Ana, Verica, Lidija, Bora, Ivica, Iva, Sladjana, Anja, Dragana … This will be a very long list but you get the point: a lot of friends.
Returning to Albania was the next step and I have to admit I came back inspired, full of ideas and nearly impatient to get going. Fresh from the internship experience, I intended to focus more on digital communications. This means websites, digital publishing, digital advertising and other online solutions. With limited chances at work, I decided to start a website dedicated to information about cinema, movies and TV shows – it was meant to explore a passion of mine and start learning as much as I could about the digital environment. This lead me to another topic of interest, the open culture movement, a social movement related to the distribution of content online – think Wikipedia.
I believe that it was this course of action that led me to my next job: working on digital advertising at McCann Tirana, an advertising agency part of a group with offices across the region. The most important message I want to stress out is that you have to apply yourself, discover new areas of interest and try to have fun along the way. Quoting Don Draper from Mad Men (I hope you don’t have to google this): Everything’s gonna be okay. You better believe that.
Oh, one last thing before I leave you, returning home I also became part of the local Alumni Club, a group of former participants of the internship program or better say, a new group of friends that are as brilliant, outgoing, funny, and some as crazy but crazy in a good way – as you can imagine. The Club is more than just fun, it’s about cooperation, development, diversity, at times thinking outside the box and hopefully in the not-so-distant future about making a change. Here’s you’ll have to trust me: you’ll know more when you get to become part of it (suspenseful music playing).
This is it. You have a lot to look forward to. Hope this helps and congrats on reading over 1000 words – 1001 words to be precise and an emoji. You should feel proud. Cheers ?
Elvin, Generation 2010