In this guest article, our Social Media Intern Gabriela looks back at her time at InterNations and the many learning opportunities that her internship provided.
Does everyone else really have their lives all figured out? In the second year of my sociology degree, it was time to apply for mandatory internships. And it seemed like everyone already had their futures sorted out, while I still felt incredibly lost.
But I reminded myself that the third year of my studies was actually meant for that: to gain professional experience and to better understand what career path to choose after university. So, I decided to open myself up for something new. I would look for something I could possibly imagine myself enjoying as a full-time job and just try it out.
Jumping into the Corporate World: The Right Kind of Internship for Me
While searching for an internship, I stumbled upon an ad for a Social Media Intern in the Marketing & Communications Department at InterNations. Not only did the actual job description sound interesting, I especially liked the fact that InterNations is an expat community.
I was born in Colombia, but I grew up in Indonesia, Germany, Switzerland, and Spain. And then three years ago, I moved to the UK to go to uni there. So, working for an expat community felt like very familiar ground to me. It would be an ideal stepping stone for me into the unknown world of corporate careers.
A Boost of Motivation: The Application & Onboarding Process
The application process at InterNations was very professional and organized. I was also happy to be in touch with a real person right from the start. Many companies nowadays use automatized screening before you get to talk to an actual staff member. This always feels quite odd to me. For InterNations, I also had to complete several practical tasks. They gave me a good insight into what the job was going to be like.
When my first day at InterNations arrived, I enjoyed it very much. Though I would be working remotely, on that day I went into the Munich office to pick up my laptop and welcome package. I found it exciting to meet some team members from HR in person. They were very helpful and friendly, and I felt more motivated to embark on this six-month adventure than ever before.
Rising to the Challenge: Working in a Remote Team
Having graduated from high school during a global pandemic, I’d had to complete my first year of university online. This challenged both my self-motivation and my time management skills. Sadly, I’d also missed out on many of the socializing opportunities that come with being a first year at uni.
Still, many companies are going remote these days. That’s why I decided to accept the challenge of a remote internship. Though I struggled in the beginning, I soon found a routine that worked for me. After that, I really started appreciating the flexibility of remote work.
Working remotely helped me gain time management and organizational skills. It also boosted my self-motivation and my ability to work independently. Moving from the UK to Munich for my internship was very helpful as well. InterNations has some office space available to team members living in the Munich area. So, I was able to go to the office whenever I needed a change in my work environment or wanted to have an in-person lunch with some of my colleagues.
Celebrating in Croatia: My Favorite InterNations Memory
Speaking of in-person meetings: My favorite InterNations memory is our team trip to Croatia in September 2022. I had the chance to get to know my team members through joint activities: a company culture workshop, team-bonding with ice cream, exploring the town of Porec together, and celebrating the company’s 15th anniversary with a party. It was an amazing way to meet the team and learn more about InterNations.
Honing My Skills: An Incredible Learning Experience
During my internship, I was able to learn many new skills while managing and monitoring the company’s social media channels. I learned to use social media management tools and to create multimedia content on a graphic design platform. I designed visuals, contributed to a new social media strategy, and planned future content.
On top of that, I was involved in a project to update the Internship Manual for new interns and record a testimonial video. As the project lead, it was my job to keep the team organized, set clear goals, and make sure we achieved them. This taught me valuable leadership skills.
Was everything always smooth sailing? Not quite. Fairly early on in my internship, I had an unexpected change of supervisor. The then Social Media Manager left for a new job slightly earlier than planned. At first, I found the transition period really challenging. But I was lucky to have the support of my team. With their help, I turned a challenge into a learning experience. It taught me a lot about adaptability, communication, and teamwork.
The Bottom Line: More Than Just Exploring a Future Career
Before starting my internship at InterNations, I was planning to use it to explore a potential career path. But the whole experience ended up offering me so much more. It was a huge learning opportunity, and I feel like it gave me so many essential skills that I can use in my future career. I can now imagine myself having a job in marketing and communications one day.
After this, I’ll be starting another internship in the same field ― I’m already looking forward to applying my new skills!
Interested in an internship at InterNations? Then check out our Careers page!
Image credit: Gabriela Rodriguez Beltran / InterNations