Within the framework of the ERASMUS+ program, you can travel abroad, not only when you are a student, but also following graduation. Natalia Kotoská took advantage of this opportunity to gain new professional experience in England.
Why did you decide to go abroad to do your graduate internship?
I have always wanted to try living abroad and also to gain some work experience. My graduate internship seemed, for these reasons, to be the perfect opportunity to use the knowledge I have gained in school and to have something besides my title to write into my resumé.
Why did you choose Great Britain? Would you choose a different country instead if you had the chance to do it all over again?
Great Britain has always drawn me like a magnet. I am captivated by British music, television series and films. In addition, there are also practical reasons, such as the fact that English is spoken there or that there are convenient air travel connections. My choice was also influenced by the fact that Great Britain has decided to leave the European Union and so I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity now, while it can still be done relatively easily.
If I were to go for another such stay, I would certainly consider other places in Great Britain or Ireland. Scandinavia interests me as a source of new work experience. On the other hand, it is not a bad idea to be able to go lie on the beach after working hours in sunny Spain.
How did you find this particular internship?
I searched for it on this web page: www.erasmusintern.org. There are offers listed there directly by companies or agencies. I sent my CV to several of them and received an immediate response. Several of them sent me offers. Then it was just a matter of being interviewed via SKYPE and that was it.
What was your greatest fear before your departure?
In my case it was probably the fear of the unknown. I did not know the place I was going to and I didn´t know if I would be able to do the work. I was also concerned about my ability to communicate in English. The truth of the matter, though, is that my enthusiasm was greater than my fears. And now I realize that there really was nothing to be afraid of.
What were you, on the other hand, looking forward to?
I was looking forward to England in general, to new experiences and to the places I would see there.
What is your job description? What does your ordinary working day look like?
I hold several positions at the same time. I started at the reception desk and then they gradually trained me in the areas of events and marketing. To be honest, I don´t know what an “ordinary working day“would be like. Something new is always awaiting me. I guess events are the most demanding, but, on the other hand, they are also the most fun. It is necessary to present customers with an offer while being able to give them the overall price in numbers, prepare the contract, issue an invoice, prepare instructions for the other colleagues, who are taking part in the organising, coordinate the whole event and perform many other tasks. My job is very varied, thanks to which I can find out what I really enjoy doing and what I am good at.
What did you gain from your stay abroad? Did this graduate internship also help you in your career growth?
My stay abroad truly enriched me enormously. I don´t want to put together a long list (and it really would be very long!), so I will only mention a few things which are important to me. I certainly have improved my English, especially my “British“ English, which is a bit different than that which we learn in school. I learned to work in an international environment and I have a greater understanding of the behaviour and work ethic of people from other countries than I had before. I also worked on my assertiveness, because I met with a surprising number of people who bargain and negotiate on behalf of their own interests. I had not been used to that in the Czech Republic. So, the main thing is that I now feel more self-confident in the world of work.
This graduate internship was a fantastic opportunity to advance my career. I think that it was the best move I could have made following my studies. It helped me find my direction in life. I learned many skills useful for my future. They even offered me a job following my internship. So, if anyone is considering moving to another country, I think that an internship within the framework of the Erasmus + program is also a wonderful chance to find a great future job.
Do you also have time for travelling?
Thanks to the fact that I was successful in obtaining a paid internship, where I have free lodgings and food, I can sometimes allow myself to go on an outing. England is a relatively expensive country, but if one is creative and inventive and doesn´t require luxury, then there are many possibilities. I live a short distance from London, so if I have a day off, I most often spend it there. I enjoy myself by going for a walk in the English countryside. It is a real balm for the soul.
Would you recommend a graduate internship or other experience abroad offered within the Framework of the Erasmus+ program to other students?
Yes, definitely! It is a superb chance to acquire experience and enjoy oneself for a while abroad. It is not so simple, but it is definitely worth it. If I had the chance to make this decision again, I would do it once more. I furthermore see an advantage in the fact that, thanks to the Erasmus+ program, it is possible to get financial aid, which really comes in handy, especially when the internship is not ideal or not very well-paid. So I can only say,”Go for it!“ And if you still have any doubts, questions or something interests you, which I have forgotten to mention, please feel free to write to me at my personal email address: (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will be happy to share my experience with you.
The agency MyUKInternship, which arranged the internship for Natalia has, thanks to the fact that Natalia´s internship went so well, spoken to us about offering practical or graduate internships within the framework of the Erasmus+ program to other MVSO students.
You can find out more about the conditions for participation in the Erasmus+ program in this Czech document: Guidelines for the realisation of a European educational program via Erasmus+: Erasmus 2014-2020 (student and employee mobility (Směrnice k realizaci evropského vzdělávacího programu Erasmus+: Erasmus 2014 – 2020 ) or in English at: https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/erasmus-plus/resources/documents/erasmus-programme-guide-2019_en or you can contact MVSO´s Erasmus+ coordinator at this email address: Kristyna.Zakovska@mvso.cz.