Alena Barton
Berlin Reichstag

Paid internship in Germany: My story (Part 1)

Good afternoon, everyone!

Today I’m gonna share with you my personal story how I’ve got an internship in Berlin. Happy to see you here and let’s start!

The first thing to say is that practice is an mandatory part of my study program at Finnish university. It can be divided into 2 parts: basic, which lasts 2 months and professional for 3 months. I’ve decided to combine them, because for 5 months on one position you will get much more knowledge.

The beginning of my story

In September ’17 I came back to Finland after an exchange year in Vienna. The slow life in Finland began again. It was my last year at the university. That’s why I had to complete only 5-6 courses and I was visiting the university only for a couple of hours around 3-4 times a week.

In one day I just came home and realized that I could not do it any more. I can’t stay in a small town for long time.

I really love Finland, I love even my small city Kuopio, where I’ve spent my first year of independent life. However, I knew that at the moment this is not my story and I want to change it. I was missing new people, new places, interesting events and generally the active lifestyle. I’ve already learned by heart the plots of the most famous series and I was actually spending at home all my time.

Perhaps you will say that everything depends on the person. You can always find what to do in any place, the main thing is to be in harmony with yourself. I completely agree, I have the same position, but in small towns it is really hard to develop yourself and your motivation to start doing something. You don’t have any new challenges, living in comfortable conditions and losing the point why you should do something. That was not my harmony! It was with me, but that does not mean that you will feel the same. Although according to reviews of almost all of my friends, with the exception of those who live in Helsinki, they felt the same.

Well, here’s the decisive moment, I realized that I had to do something!

Coming home after university, I slowly began working on my CV.

What did I add there? To be honest, I don’t even know, I’ve collected all my positive rates of character, which I’ve got after such jobs as a waitress, animator and postman. Well, in general, the most common types of  job for earning a small amount of money when you’re a teenager or student. I had no professional experience when I was 19 years old, of course! However, I’ve started to work at the age of 14, so I knew about my strengths and weaknesses.
I was searching on all webpages, where I could find ads about internship for students. The country was not so important for me, because I’m easily changing the envirounment around myself and love new adventures.

Useful websites if you’re looking for internship:

So I was applying to a lot of companies. I think I cannot even count how many applications I’ve sent during 1 week.

Some companies were not even replying to my application. Some of them were sending emails like my experience is not good enough for them or that the position is already taken. I think you know … they were just sending to me the basic phrases for refusal.

After that, I was dreaming to be accepted for any position anywhere. I just knew that I needed this chance. I really wanted to try to work in some international company.

Berlin 2017
When I’d already collected all the basic phrases for refusal, I received an alert on my mobile phone from the group on Facebook. I entered this group not log time ago to look for an internship.
By the way, always check the groups on Facebook! I highly recommend to check them first and as often as possible. Many startup companies and medium-sized firms are very often place their job ads there! Why? The answer is easy – it’s free, fast and you can cover a large number of students.

I opened the link with the internship offer. They were looking for a student with native English skills to become a “Specialist in Content Marketing and SEO”.

I was not stopped at all by the fact that English is not my native language, and that it was the first time when I’ve seen SEO abbreviation. I was not thinking a lot and just sent my “smart” CV to this company.
The answer came in 2 days, they invited for a Skype interview. It was the first official skype interview in my life! This incidentally was a week before my birthday and then I began to believe in magic, which should have helped me for sure.

What did I do to prepare myself for the interview?

A week before the day X, I googled what is SEO. I didn’t understand anything, except the part that it’s connected with digital marketing. In general, I do not recommend you to apply for positions if you don’t know exactly what’s this about. I hoped just for luck! If you’re applying for an internship, it is okay not to know a lot in practical way about the field in which you would like to work as in intern. In this case it is quite normal, all interns are coming to the company to learn and understand if this is the right position for them for the future development.

Berlin 2017

I remember that in the day of interview I woke up around 9 am. Interview was at 10 am.

Of course, I made my makeup, I’d made some gymnastics for my face to develop facial expressions and talked to myself in English. Then, I just quickly repeated the basic terms about marketing from the university classes. Finally, I’d checked that the light next to me is okay, called the Skype bot, checked the camera and sound again. Usually you should check all of that technical details one day in advance to have enough time to change it in case of a breakdown.

I heard the typical Skype sound when someone is calling you and accepted it…

I was so nervous and worried about my English and pronunciation. As soon as I pressed the button to accept the call, I remember nothing.
I was asked some basic questions, and I just tried to talk as much as possible about myself, and that I’m able to learn everything fast. I said that I like the German approach to work and explain some parts about my goals in career.

Interviewer said that I’m not suitable for their company according to the information in my CV except one part.

I mentioned that I had been learning journalism for 4 years and writing for a regional newspaper for teenagers. Incidentally, on one of the courses how to write CV at the university, I was advised not to mention this information because it has nothing to do with professional activities. I left it because I was very proud of it. That’s how it played the most important role for me. Always believe to your own intuition!

Content marketing actually requires the ability to write well, edit articles and be good marketing specialist. After the interview they sent me an assignment. I needed to write about the company’s service for the healthcare sector. They mentioned in the email that I was really confident during the interview. Confident? I thought that it’s not possible that it could be related to me. I realized soon that during an independent life in another country I learned how to collect all my insecurities and in some stressful situation to control myself.

Before sending the assignment, I asked my friend with a good English to check it. It is always very useful to ask someone for proof reading, because the human factor is always existing and you can make the stupidest mistakes. If you have such an opportunity, then definitely ask your friends to help! Even if you are 100% sure about your language skills.
Three days were given for this assignment. I sent it in 2 days. Since then I was already dreaming of working in this company and coming to Germany!
In 3 days I’ve got an email:

We are glad to invite you for an internship in our company, let us know which documents you need for visa application.

They sent me a contract to sign. There I read that the internship is paid. I could not believe that everything what I was dreaming about is true now.
I was incredibly happy and it was the best gift for my 20th birthday!
After all the excitement I started to collect documents for a German visa.

To be continued…


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