Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Learning from student experiences of international placements

Between them the project partners have a wide range of experience of international placements, either as sending institutions, hosts or through connections with participants.  

This section looks at accounts from some participants then asks – what can we learn from this?

Fabrizio, Italy

My job experience in the LLLP has been really profitable and gave to me the unique chance to live for few months in a foreign working context. I had the opportunity to see, as architect, other ways to conceive architecture, opening my mind about different approaches. I've been host in a top notch Czech Architecture Studio, sitting side by side to people i've really admired for their skills, feeling enriched only by looking at them.    
(About the adaptation to the cultural and professional differences of the country)
The adaptation in the studio has been not easy but neither difficult. People were not really talkative in English, in that way is difficult to find your space in a so well-oiled machine having only few months available. On the other hand, people has always been really nice and patient. On top of that, Petr (my boss, my tutor, studio associate and good Italian speaker) has always been incredibly available and easy-going with me.

(Was placement relevant to my education and experience?)
The placement was absolutely relevant to my education, is actually what all the newly graduates from universities like mine dreams about. Despite this, the placement was not relevant to my previous working experiences. So, if is true that I didn't get to specialise myself more in what i was used to do, I had however the great opportunity to enlarge my horizons and be professionally more complete.
(Were you able and required to learn new things / skills and abilities/ during my internship?)
About learning new things, I was aware since the beginning that being a "training on the job" internship, no one would have stop his work to teach me new things and no one would have asked me something that would have required abilities I didn't already had. I however got to work on building models, using software that I was not using since a while and become faster using the ones I currently use.
(How often do you find your work stressful?)
I didn't find the job too stressful. The working hours were flexible and however not more than 8 a day for both, interns and employees. Only one week-end has been necessary to work until late, but i did it with real pleasure, made me feel more part of the team. I took it as an honour.
(Conditions in my job allow me to be about as productive as I could be)
The conditions in my job didn't allowed me to be about as productive as I could be. I've never been invited to the meetings where the team was discussing about some projects I was working on too, so I could not get the bosses indications and I had just to do what my colleagues told me to do. Then I had to bring my laptop for work, so of course I could not be as fast as I would have like to be.
(All in all, how satisfied would you say you are with your job?)
All in all I can say I am really satisfied of this working experience. I get enriched professionally, I worked in a stimulating context, I realised my strengths and my weakness. I'm just a little disappointed about the boss's frequent allusions about the possibility to stay in the studio and then realize that it was just a way to motivate you to do more and more...  
(The internship makes me more employable?)
I really hope this internship made me more employable abroad. I'm actually searching for a job in Czech Republic, but it still seems that Czech language is a requirement that an achieved Leonardo internship and an "Europass Mobility certification" can not cover.

Stefania, Italy

About my job-experience during the “Leonardo Mobility Project” in Prague I achieved my internship in two different architectural studios.
Both companies from the beginning helped me to adapt to the cultural, linguistic and professional differences of the country, in particular my training tutors, Head architects of the studio, were very kind, friendly and ready to help me to carry out my program and so thanks to them I easily integrated in the new context.
The placement in these two studios was very relevant to my education and formation, in fact I gained competences and skills in each field.

I improved my professional and technical skills in all architecture scales from urban till details scale. In particular the sectors developed were Urban Planning, Architectural Design, CAD Drawing, Modeling 3D, Graphic design. I also perfected my computer skills, using many softwares, for example AutoCad, Archicad, Sketchup, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Illustrator CS.

I also learned how to apply new techniquees and new methods and how to act in a professional environment in a foreign country.
The work has never been very stressful, except for rare cases of  urgent deadlines when I worked on the weekend, but usually work schedules were great (9 am- 6 pm from Monday to Friday).

From this Job- experience I also improved my linguistic skills, thanks to the use of English in everyday contexts at work, I developed  my social and organizational competences, interacting with new people from different countries (for example also thanks to some dinners with colleagues and the boss etc..).

But particularly I acquired flexibility and adaptation , overview and open-mindedness, I think now I am a new person and I will see everything through different eyes regardless where I will be.
So all in all I very satisfied with this professional experience, also because I got some contacts for future job opportunities and I think now I am more employable.

I am so pleased that I decided to continue my professional training and growth abroad and in particular in Prague!

Monday, 11 August 2014

David's Experience, NGO

The guys at Vuste were very friendly and very helpful throughout
my stay in Prague and it is a shame that my stay was not longer.
I remember Lukas saying to me “I will not leave until you have
internet” and I think that says a lot about the kind of guys there
are at Vuste. They are determined to help you as much as possible.
My mentor had me 3 interviews in quick succession and I
had 3 internships in quick succession. I chose Agora Central
Europe and the Czech Helsinki Committee for political and
human rights reasons and I chose GRB International because it
was a marketing job within an export business.
Everyone at my internships greeted me very well but the language barrier was more difficult with some employees than others. My tasks were laid down in front of me very early on and my roles included English language consultant, marketing consultant, political analyst and foreign media correspondent. This meant that my tasks
would involve weekly reports and meetings, _xing grammatical errors in funding proposals or extensive research. During my internships I learned how to give reports
during meetings, how to conduct more efficient research, the workings of a Non Governmental Organisation, improved my communication skills and learned more about
working environments in a different culture.
The experience for me was very helpful and added more strength to my CV but I had
already arranged to move to Spain in a cultural exchange before I had gone to
Prague. This has meant that I am unsure if all of this will have helped my employability.
I have applied for an internship with NATO and their SHAPE division in Belgium so
I am quietly hoping that my experience gained in Prague will be a deciding factor.
Prague life was wonderful. It seems much more relaxed within a working environment
than it does in the United Kingdom. That was something I liked a lot. Public transport
made it easy to get around and the people were generally quite friendly with us. The
nightlife really is something else and if you go out for a night with your friends, it really
is an all night affair. There were many occasions when my friends and I would have
been coming home with the sun shining.
What I remember most about Prague is the friendship and the laughter that I had with
the other men on the trip. I would love to go back and do it again, Prague was just

fantastic in every way and that could possibility be the highlight of highlights.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

MOB G.A.E - MOBility as a source of personal and professional Growth, Autonomy and Employability

MOB G.A.E - MOBility
as a source of personal and professional Growth, Autonomy and Employability

 Currently we are part of an important EU project about mobility programs experiences - MOB G.A.E – MOBility project

MOB G.A.E. aims to evaluate and disseminate the impact of international mobility experiences within the framework of EU programmes. A group of former participants will be interviewed, concerning their personal and professional development and their awareness as European Citizens. MOB G.A.E aims to disseminate and exploit existing case stories, good practices, positive changes among the ex participants, the partners within and outside the consortium (enterprises, public institutions, NGOs), acting as promoters, hosting, sending and intermediary partners, interested in improving the quality of their work.

MOB G.A.E - MOBility is intended as a source of personal and professional Growth, Autonomy and Employability is a Lifelong learning KA4 project co-fundend by the European Union and promoted by the Accademia Europea di Firenze (IT).

Within the project MOB GAE-Mobility a feedback survey was created with the aim to to evaluate the impact of mobility experiences on the personal and professional lives of participants, their autonomy and their awareness of being European Citizens.

If you have participated in a European mobility project (Leonardo da Vinci, Erasmus etc.) we would highly appreciate if you could use a few minutes of your time to complete this survey:

Saturday, 21 June 2014



Cuentanos un poco como esta siendo tu estancia en Praga.

la primeras semanas nos dedicamos a ver la ciudad ,ver todo el centro y a beber mucha cerveza,ya que con el curso de ingles teniamos bastante tiempo libre durante las 2 primeras semanas.Ya despues todo el mundo empezo sus practicas y cada uno pues en su empresa, y ya no tenemos tanto tiempo durante la semana para salir.

Como te va en la empresa?

Al principio no tenia clientes hasta que puse mi cartel, porque aquí todos los monitores ponen su cartel y te dicen que especialidad tienen, por ejemplo: yo soy entrenador deportivo especialidazado en masajes terapeuticos, otro especializado en fitness o aerobic…
En mi cartel puse que soy instructor en practicas, las clases las doy en espanol o en ingles, ya que he encontrado gente aquí que habla espanol, y como es gratis ya se ha apuntado algunas personas y estoy con ellas trabajando.

Tenias experiencia antes?hay mucha diferencia en la forma de trabajar de la empresas Checas?

La verdad que tengo bastante experiencia pero la que estoy obteniendo aquí me va a servir muchisimo porque estoy aprendiendo de todos mis companeros ya cada uno tiene diferentes metodos de ensenanza.
La verdad que si he notado que hay bastante diferencia en la forma de trabajar porque aquí son mas serios y muy profesionales, porque el tiempo que esta el instructor con el cliente esta al maximo con el y no hay momentos para risas, sin embargo en Espana es mas distendido,.

La busqueda de trabajo donde la vas hacer?

Pensando que en Espana no hay trabajo, y la cosa esta mal…voy a buscar trabajo fuera de Espana, pero no lo buscare aquí en Praga, aunque con el salario de aquí se vive bien, ya que necesitas menos dinero para vivir bien,y Espana es mas cara.

Que es lo que mas te ha gustado de Rep. Checa?Tienes alguna anécdota?

Me gustan muchas cosas, la ciudad, las checas…aunque es un poco complicado por el idioma,jeje, pero lo que mas me gusta de la ciudad es el carácter cosmopolita.

Aunque no es una anedota nos gusta mucho el Lucerna y el momento filete a las tres de la manana…jeje, pero algo curioso es que aquí en el gimnasio no hay gordos y viene mucha gente joven, sobre todo dependientas del centro comercial de aquí al lado que estan muy bien…jeje

Tell us how it is being your stay in Prague.

the first few weeks are dedicated to seeing the city, see the entire downtown and drink lots of beer, since the English course we had plenty of free time during the first 2 weeks. after everyone began their practices and for each of his business, and we do not have much time during the week to leave.

How are you doing in the company?

At first I had no clients until I put my poster, because here all the monitors put their poster and tell you that you have expertise, for example: I am a sports coach specialized therapeutic massage, fitness or other specialized aerobic ...
In my poster I put that I am an instructor in practice, I give classes in Spanish or English, I've found people here who speak Spanish, and as free as it has been suggested some people and I'm working with them.

You had experience before? Much difference in the way of working of the Czech companies?

The truth that I have enough experience but I'm getting here will help me lot because I'm learning from all my classmates and everyone has different methods of teaching.
The truth is that if I noticed that there is enough difference in the way we work because here are more serious and very professional, because this time the instructor with the customer is at the maximum and there is no time for laughs, but in Spain is more relaxed.
The job search where you do?
Thinking that in Spain there is no work, and the thing is wrong ... I will look for work outside of Spain, but will not seek here in Prague, but with the salary of a good life here, because you need less money to live well, and Spain is more expensive.
That is what most of you liked the Czech Republic? You have a story?

I like many things, the city, the Czech ... although it is difficult to communicate with them by language, hehe, but what I like most of the city is the cosmopolitan character.

Although not a annecdotes we really like the Lucerne and moment steak at three in de morning... haha, but funny thing is that here in the gym has no fat and lots of young people

Thursday, 12 June 2014

DAVID (Casa Latina)


Cuales son tus expectativas aquí en Rep. Checa?

Elegi venir aquí porque el ano pasado estuve de erasmus y tenia muchas ganas de trabajar en otro pais que no fuese Espana y descubrir como trabajan fuera. Si puediera tener alguna oportunidad de trabajar aquí en el futuro me gustaria aprovecharla.

La experencia que esta adquiriendo crees que te servira en el futuro?

Pues la verda es que si porque es un trabajo dinamico porque estamos haciendo investigaciones de mercado, vamos a eventos, hacemos trabajos creativos como anuncios para revistas, etc…y esta bastante relacionado con lo que he estudiado.

Te has adaptado bien a la empresa?

Si desde el primer momento porque el ambiente que hay en la empresa es bastante bueno y todos somos companeros y nos ayudamos mutuamente.

Como llevas la estancia en Praga?

Pues hemos viajado bastante, hemos estado en varios pueblecitos de Rep. Checa, y todavia queremos seguir viajando…he conocido a un monton de gente, he ido a bastantes fiestas y el ambiente que hay en Praga me gusta bastante tanto para salir como culturalmente.
Yo le recomiendo a todo el mundo que visite esta ciudad que es encantadora!

What are your expectations here in rep. Czech?

I chose to come here because last year I was on Erasmus and was eager to work in another country that was not Spain and discover how they work fuera.If I could any chance of working here in the future I would like to take.

Along the experience you are buying do you think will serve in the future?

For the truth is that if it is a dynamic work because we are doing market research, going to events, do creative work as magazine ads, etc ... and is quite related to what I studied.

I've adapted well to the company?

If from the outset because the atmosphere in the company is pretty good and we are all peers and help each other.

How have you stay in Prague?

As we have traveled a lot, we've been in several villages of the Czech Republic, and still we keep going ... I've met a lot of people, been to many festivals and the atmosphere in Prague I like very much to go and culturally.
I recommend everyone to visit this city that is charming!

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

CRISTINA (Casa Latina)


Que tal en la empresa, cuales son tus funciones?

Pues les ayudamos desde los distintos proyectos que llevan de consultorias,si necesitan estudios de mercado, ver el producto que ellos quieren importar que competidores tienen…ayudarles a buscar un mercado posible en Praga para introducir ese producto,
si necesitan cualquier tipo de informacion de legislacion para importar y exportar…
cada persona esta encargada de unos productos y ya depende de lo que vaya surgiendo, asi que es un trabajo individualizado.

Tenias experiencias antes?Que diferencias has notado en la forma de trabajar de Espana y Rep. Checa?

Trabaje en Espana pero en temas de consultoria administracion, contablilidad…
Pues exactamente no se si hay mucha diferencia porque las actividades son la mismas ya que la contabilidad y la administracion es mucho mas metodico y aquí cada dia es un proyecto algo distinto.

La busqueda de trabajo donde piensas hacerla?

En Espana, a no ser que salga aquí la oportunidad de mi vida, pero mi idea es volver, ya que alli lo tengo todo, pero economicamente y como oportunidad puede ser una lanzadera asique podria quedarme un par de anos.

Que recomendarias de Praga?y que haces en tu tiempo libre?

Pues la verdad es por ahora no hemos viajado mucho porque solo llevamos un mes pero nuestra idea es viajar y conocer todo centro europa Cracovia, Berlin, Budapest…
Aquí en Praga pasear por el centro es muy bonito a cada paso encuentras algo que te impresiona!!

How about the company, what are your duties?

Then we help them from the various consulting projects that are, if you need market research, see the product they want to import competitors have ... help them find a market in Prague possible to introduce such a product,
if you need any kind of information legislation to import and export ...
each person is responsible for some products and it depends on what is emerging, so it is individualized work.

She had experience before? What differences have you noticed in the form of work of Spain and Czech Republic?

Work in Spain but consulting on issues of administration, contablilidad ...
Well, not exactly sure if there much difference because the activities are the same as the accounting and administration is much more methodical and here every day is a project different.

The job search where you think it?

In Spain, unless you leave here the opportunity of a lifetime, but my idea is to return, because there I have everything, but economically and as an opportunity may be a shuttle could stay here a couple of years.
Prague would you recommend? And what you do in your spare time?

The truth is we have not traveled a lot because we only take a month but our idea is to trave
and learn all europa center Krakow, Berlin, Budapest ...
Here in Prague walk in the center is very beautiful with every step you find something that impresses you!

Froy (Casa Latina)


Podrias hacernos una breve introduccion para conocer vuestra empresa?

Somos un grupo de empresas entre ellas esta GRB INTERNATIONAL promovemos el servicio y la cultura latina aquí en el centro de europa y viceversa tambien, otra de las companias tambien es Latin licors que se encarga de la logistica y del transporte de los licores.Casa Latina es la compania que empuja por medio de ventas y marketing a los productos latinos igual que los servicios.Latin licors se enfoca mas en los licores y Casa Latina se enfoca mas en comidas,café, comida instantanea, jugos instantaneos…
Otra de las companias que esta en el grupo es la camara de comercio que la utilizamos para promover los negocios latinos, companias que quieren establecerse desde alli a aca, y viceversa.

Cuanto tiempo llevais recibiendo estudiantes en practicas?

Llevamos 2 anos acogiendo estudiantes, ya hemos tenido mas o menos unos 7 u 8 grupos, y decidimos recibirlos porque la empresa obtiene un beneficio y es una manera de que nosotros recibamos recursos y ademas les ensenamos a los estudiantes la forma de trabajar y amplios conocimientos para que les sirva cuando vuelvan a su pais.

Mantienes relacion con los estudiantes que han pasado por aquí?
Si, todos los que reponden mis email, es bonito escuchar cuando algo sale bien y si pudiera cambiar algo , cambiaria para poder tener mas contacto porque ademas es otra manera que nos ayuda a nosotros a cambiar nuestro proceso interno.

Could you give us a short introduction to find your company?

Are a group of companies including this GRB INTERNATIONAL service and promote Latino culture here in central Europe and also vice versa, another Latin Licors company is also in charge of logistics and transport of the Latin licores.Casa the company is pushing through sales and marketing for Latino products like Licors servicios.Latin focuses more on spirits and Casa Latina are more focused on food, coffee, instant food, instant juices ...
Another company that is in the group is the chamber of commerce we use to promote Latino businesses, companies who wish to move from there to here, and here to there.

How long have you been receiving students in practice?

We have two years by hosting students, we have had more or less about 7 or 8 groups, and elected to receive because the company makes a profit and is a way for us to receive resources and they also teach students how to work and knowledge to serve them when they return to their country.

Maintains relationships with students who have been here?

Yes, all would reply my email, it's nice to hear when something goes well and if I could change something, to exchange those I will have more contact is another way that helps us to change our internal process.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

GEMMA (Moba architecture)

GEMMA (Moba architecture)

Cuentanos que tal te va en Rep. Checa?

Pues llegamos aquí el 27 de abril y las dos primeras semanas muy relajaditas con el curso de idiomas y ahora con mucho trabajo. En la empresa estamos muy bien, estoy muy contenta, tenemos mucho trabajo pero el proyecto que hacemos esta muy bien y compensa, ademas estoy aprendiento mucho.
Era lo que tu esperabas?

Pues la verdad es que no, lo esperaba peor porque nunca he trabajado como arquitecta y entonces no sabia lo que era trabajar en un estudio antes de aquí. El trabajo es individual pero siempre al final del dia tenemos una reunion donde todos exponemos el trabajo hecho.
Los proyectos aquí son diferentes a los de Espana, aquí son mas como competiciones, tienes que investigar son mas bonitos, y en Espana son mas aburrido porque solamente es construir al maximo.

Que recomendarias de Praga?

Pues he hecho la ruta turistica del centro que es precioso para pasear, aunque por el tiempo tampoco hemos podido ir a muchos más lugares asique todavia me queda mucho por descubrir de esta ciudad.

Tell us what are you doing in Czech Republic?

Well we arrived here April 27 and the first two weeks very relaxed with the language course and now with a lot of work.
In the company are very good, I'm very happy, a lot of work but the project we do this very well and compensated, and I learner a lot.

It was what you expected?

The truth is that no, I expected worse because I have never worked as an architect and then not know what was working in a studio before here. The work is individual but always at the end of the day we expose a meeting where all the work done. The projects here are different from those of Spain, here are more like competitions, you have to investigate and are more beautiful, and in Spain are more boring because it is only build to the maximum.

Prague would you recommend?

Then I did the tourist route from downtown is beautiful for walking, but by the time we could not go to many more places I still have so much to discover in this city.

ANTONIO (Moba architecture)

ANTONIO (Moba architecture)

Como es tu empresa?

Pues aquí trabajas en un ambiente mucho mas relajado, el horario es flexible y hay buena comunicación entre los companeros.
Mi trabajo es mas en solitario porque me dedico al diseno de la pagina web y el resto de companeros se dedican mas al proyecto de arquitectura.

Crees que la experiencia que estas obteniendo te va a servir a la vuelta en Espana?

No solo la experiencia sino tambien la practica de otro idioma porque aquí trabajan 3 personas espanolas y el resto son de republica checa o de suecia y practicas bastante el ingles.

Que haces en tu tiempo libre con tus companeros?

Moviendonos todo lo que podemos por aquí en la ciudad para ver cosas, y tambien h
acemos pequenos viajes como a Kutna Hora, Krumlov…y por la noche vamos a distintos locales de fiesta cada fin de semana descubrimos alguno nuevo,jeje.

How is your company?

Well, here you work in a much more relaxed, the hours are flexible and there is good communication between peers. My job is individual because I am interested in the web page design and other companions are dedicated to architectural design.

You think you're getting experience that will serve in Spain?

Not only the experience but also the practice of another language because people here work three Spanish and the rest are from Czech Republic or Sweden and practical enough English.

What do you do in your spare time?

I travel with my copaneros and see everything here in the city, and also do small trips like Kutna Hora, Krumlov ... and at night we go to different party places every weekend.

ANDER (Moba Architecture)

ANDER (Moba Architecture)

Como te va aquí en Praga?

Pues bien, llegamos aquí el 22 de abril, aunque teniamos que haber llegado el 16 pero por el tema del volcan. Yo ya habia estado en Praga pero solo de turismo y viviendo aquí ya me gusta mas.

Y que tal en la empresa?

Pues bien, la verdad que como no habia trabajado en lo mio antes pues no sabia de que podia trabajar…jeje, y estoy en un proyecto con Gemma y otra gente, y me dedico a hacer los mapas de la ciudad. Aquí no tienes un horario fijo, me dijeron que tenia que comenzar entre las 9 y la 10 y a partir de ahí hacer 8 horas, esta semana que tenemos que entregar el proyecto pues igual te quedas mas horas, hay gente que se ha quedado hasta las 2 de la madrugada.

Que nos dirias de Praga?

Pues el centro es muy bonito, muy turistico tambien, pero por ejemplo donde yo vivo es un barrio apartado y esta bien porque es tranquilo pero no tiene bares ni nada, hay mucha diferencia entre el centro y los barrios de alrededor.

How are you doing here in Prague?
Well, we arrived here on 22 April, although we had to have reached 16 but the volcano we could not. I had already been to Prague but a tourist and living here and I like it more.

How are you doing in the company?

Well, the truth and had not worked in the mine before I knew it could not work ... hehe, and I'm on a project with Gemma and other people, and I focus on making maps of the city. Here you don‘t have a fixed schedule, they told me I had to start between 9 and 10 and from there to eight hours, this week we have to deliver the project as well as you stay longer hours, there are people who have stayed until 2 am.

Prague would tell us?

The center is very nice, very tourist too, but for example where I live is a neighborhood and it's OK because it is quiet but has no bars or anything, there is much difference between the center and surrounding neighborhoods.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Intern Focus

David Knape

Age: 25
Home Town: Jordanstown, Northern Ireland
Degree: Political Science from the University of Ulster
Previous work experience: Catering work, sports soaching, English language teaching, activity leader, retail work.
Favourite thing about Prague: SaSaZu (the night club), and meeting some great people
Often heard saying: ‘Ah far jaysus’

Internship positions and job roles:
Czech Helsinki commitee – Compiling research reports on foreign media coverage of the Czech Republic and Roma people, and comparing this with Czech views.

GRB International, Casa Latina – Building profiles of health care markets in various countries. From this data acting as an advisor about the best strategies for expansion into new markets.

Agora Ce – This NGO aims to increase tolerance and democracy by organising debates. The main role has been proof reading, but also reasearching media representations in Eastern Europe.

Have your expectations of the internship met the reality?
Before I came I didn’t really know what to expect. The experience has been satisfying though.

What are your plans for the future?
In the short term I plan to go and live in Spain for at least 6 months, and then would like to go to the United States. There is a programme where I could teach politics in a summer school and also starting sports coaching again.

I am not really so interested in going down the business route, but to get a job in an NGO you really need to be a specialist. Having said that a lot of the work I have done here has been involved with research, and I guess I wouldn’t be against doing that in the future.

What tips do you have for anyone thinking of joining a programme here in Prague?
Ask as many questions as possible, so you can prepare before you come. Obvuiously living in a different country there are cultural differences. I think the attitude towards work here in Prague is quite different from in the UK, there is less hurry to get things done, and people are more relaxed.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Intern Focus

Pritesh Mistry
Age: 22
Home Town: Manchester, England
Degree: Architecture (BA) from the University of Liverpool
Previous work experience: Architectural placements, I.T Support Assistant, Millenium Volunteer.
Favourite thing about Prague: The TV tower, St Vitus Cathedral and SaSaZu. I really like how there is so much happening all the time, and there is lots of creative activities to get involved in.
Often heard saying: "Thats well good"

Internship position and job roles:

Architectural Assistant, Jiran Kohout architekti So far my job has involved lots of different roles. Initally I was researching into current building trends and updating the database of various housing schemes around the world. My current project is a villa in Iraq, which is currently in the design development stage. We’re using various methods to try out our ideas, for example on the computer using 3D and 2D CAD packages, making physical models, and drawing sketches. The office is quite an open and friendly space, so we also tend to discuss and bounce off ideas.

Have your expectations of the internship met the reality?
I came onto the programme because it seemed like too good an opportunity to miss. Everything was paid for so that wasn’t a factor to consider, and I hoped to make connections abroad. In terms of my placement I would say that it took a while to settle in. Before I had a specific project to focus on I didn’t feel I was getting the experience I needed. Now I am thoroughly enjoying it.

Being in Prague has also given me opportunity to travel, and see some new places. A few weeks ago I went to Vienna, which takes 3-4 hours. I have travelled before, so not only did it bring back good memories from that but I liked the city too. Depending on money and time I would ideally like to go to Budapest and Berlin aswell.

What are your plans for the future?
I plan to be an architect, but before you can become accredited you have to have 24 logged professional months of experience. This will count as 3 months towards that. It is quite difficult to find placements, so I’m also hoping that when I go back to the UK, having international experience under my belt will make me stand out from other candidates. 

What tips do you have for anyone thinking of joining a programme here in Prague?
Think quite hard about what you are looking for from a placement. Researching companies once you know who you are having interviews with will give you some idea about if your ethos and design approach etc match.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Intern's experience

Maria, a Business Administration and Human Resources Manager

In 2009, I finished my degree in Business Administration and
Law. At that time, I had only done two internships, one in a city
council and another in a lawyer’s office. Needless to say, I had
a lot of questions about my professional future. I didn’t know how
channel my career. I did know I wanted to work in a large company
and for that I needed international experience, which led me
to search for an international internship. And why not Prague?
I could experience a new culture, practice English, and get to
know a new city. It was a wonderful choice!
Gradually, however, all my doubt disappeared. Just a few days after moving to what
is now my favourite city, I started work at Vuste Envis, the company that organized my internship. In those days, the company was comprised of four young and energetic business partners. They did their best to make me feel at home from my very first day of work.
In this company I had a mission. I was charged with developing professional contacts between Vuste Envis and numerous Spanish organizations. I had to search for the organizations, make initial contact, set appointments, and meet with them to introduce Vuste Envis as a potential partner in future projects. I didn’t always achieve what I wanted,
but that is the only way to learn. I learned the importance of relationships, tactful communication, and the responsibility I felt when they put their trust in me. I wasn’t just an intern - I was a partner!
Apart from those responsibilities, I was also in charge of coordinating events for my fellow interns. Being that we were all from abroad, I organised activities to help us
learn about Prague and experience the local culture. For me, this was a great exercise
in creativity and helped me develop lasting friendships with the other interns.
Now I am working in human resources at a large Spanish company, Telefónica (O2).
I am confident that my experience as an intern in Prague helped me secure my current position. International experience with other cultures is mind opening. The fresh perspectives and new ideas it precipitates are invaluable, especially in the world of business.
Brian, a Cartoonist
It was exactly three years ago I arrived in Prague, my adventure
was set up by Vuste and I have never left. I had been studying
and working in England in Animation and Illustration. I had tried
really hard to get some kind of break, but there was so much
competition that it was almost impossible for me to get any experience. Somehow I came across an organisation in England that
organised experiences for people like me to be able to gain use
my knowledge and gain experience abroad. So I arrived nervous
here in Prague with not such high expectations, because up until that time I had always been let down by such experiences.
Vuste was a great organisation, this was the height of the Financial Crisis, but at thattime such programs prove to be even more important, to not just give more skill to the workforce but to also improve moral and champion diversity in Europe. These things are extreamly important to our future. We were provided accommodation by Vuste , as well as help get from the Airport where
they met us. We then received classes for two weeks from a Czech teacher to
improve our knowledge of the country which was very foreign to us. This was all
invaluable much of the the things I learnt there I still use to this day.
During that time I was placed in an animation company called Eallin, who make short films and animation for TV and Internet. _At this company I was finnally able to realize my ambitions of many years and able to work in my dream job. Although the internship arranged by Vuste was only supposed to be for 3 months, the company I worked
for was happy to keep me on afterwards. Today we work on television series and many other wonderful projects.
Coming to Prague was really a dream come true for me, and it wouldn't have been
possible without the program Leonardo that I came on. It is really no joke that I have
done very well because of that program. I have met many famous people, abbasaddors, diplomats, MP's, even Vaclav Havel because I had the chance to realise my ambitions here in Prague.
Without Vuste is just wouldn't have been possible
Saul, an Industrial Designer
I arrived to Prague in January of 2010. My _rst impression
was that Prague was cold with a hard climate, but this only
was my _rst impression.The work from the team Vuste
Envis has done that everything has been easy._ I have
studied industrial design , so my expectations when I have
arrived to Prague, i wanted to get experience and develop
my professional degree. It was easy to explain my skills to
my tutor from Envi. After do it, they started to look a job for me. In a few days I got it
my _rst interview, but was in the second interview when I got a job in line with my
My _rst days in my new job were dif_cult, but I started to learn and to doing things
quickly. So, I needed only one week to get to feel comfortable in the team work. I
have learnt a new things, new skills and overall a new way to work._ I can say, that
was very interest experience that gave me a new perspective to watch the things. I
have worked in different projects. One of them was to create new switches to the light_
yes! Switches, sounds bored but it’s not true). After that, I have done another project,
more interest than the _rst one: Create Lamps of Bohemian Glass!!_ I enjoyed this
project a lot!_About of the culture in Czech Republic, I going to say that was amazing.
It’s true that I like to discovering new cultures and know new countries but in Prague
I have got a unknown culture that never seen before. In this city you have a lot of
things to do, and never been boring. You can go to the opera, Ice hockey, Football,
Ballet, Shows … and of course, you can get fun in a lot of kind of parties!_ Lives the
nights of Prague is something that somebody has to try !If you are wondering if I’m
still living in Prague it’s not true, but you have to know that it’s a point to get in my
future. After _nish my experience there, my boss offered me a job but I couldn’t take
it because I wanted to one degree more._ Today, I’m studying in Scotland, but I thinking
to come back to Prague and try luck looking a job.
This was my experience! I have to say thanks for the all team from Vuste Envis, that
always have been there helping me and doing a nice work.

Shariffa, a Journalist
I had studied Media Production & International Journalism at
university and had always cultivated an interest in this _eld how
ever_I found getting paid work was very problematic, so I worked
on a voluntary basis for a variety of media organisations including
Channel M and X Factor. When I saw the traineeship being advertised by Vuste Envis, I applied straight away, when I arrived in Prague I was given a warm welcome by the Vuste Envis manager Jan, all trainees were also given a 2 week Czech language course which was very helpful._The employees were very supportive and gave me a real idea of what I could realistically acheive through the project. They also gave me the confidence to work at 2 traineeships simultaneously. I worked at 'The Prague Post' newspaper
and 'Radio Free Europe' both as a journalist. I chose them because they combined the mediums I felt most akin to, and I wanted to explore both mediums in order to understand each one better. I interviewed the Mayor of Prague at the time Pavel Bem, it was a fantastic acheivement for me and I finally felt like_I was progressing in the field I had always wanted to work in. At Radio Free Europe I was given introductions and also given my duties which comprised of formulating O-wires from existing news stories. These were published on the website and fed to the Eastern European offices for news updates.
Both of my placements presented a different set of challenges and_I learned a great deal from working with professionals in my chosen field. Most of all_I learn't how to dedicate myself, commit and be a trusted and respected member of the team. I learn't the differences between the genres and the conventions_which make up each of them. I made some great connections, some of whom I still keep in touch with today. The people of Prague and Vuste Envis were_very good to me, their dedication and good nature allowed me to explore my creative talents beyond the scope_I_imagined when I embarked upon the jounrey. I would say it is one of the most positive experiences I have had in my life, working in a different country, with people and surroundings
_whom you are unfamiliar with, gives you a confidence which enables you
to progress in your chosen field.
Today I work at BBC in the Religion & Ethics department,_I work within Production Management which is not something I expected, but after Prague I learned that the best things in life are the_unexpected.

Marcello, a Public Relation Manager
I graduated in Media and Communication Studies in 2006. After a couple of trainings- for an Italian company a training period often means to take on workers for free, trying to exploit them as much as possible, without any training!- I started working for a small advertising company in my own town, Palermo. Even though I liked the job in itself- I worked as an account executive and as a strategic planner-, I had always the feeling that I wasn't in the best place and situation to fulfill and express myself.
After three years, I therefore decided to leave the job and try to find my way.
I had always dreamt to have a work experience abroad, especially after a trip in England, where I had the chance to know many people from all over the world, and I dealt with cultures very far from mine, but because of this capable of enriching me culturally and personally. Being chosen for the project Leonardo was a perfect chance to start, and Prague has given me such a great inspiration and hope for my future! Thanks to Vuste Envis guys, I immediately had the feeling to be in a multicultural,
open-minded and respectful environment.
During the second week of my staying, I had my first interview for a communication consultancy company. It immediately seemed to me the kind of work-experience I was looking for! It was not a classic Pr and communication firm, but they offered many innovative services, giving me the chance to learn a lot. Since the first day, I had an incredible good relashionship with my boss and collegues. They always infected me with their energy, stamina and good mood! During my internship, I was in charge of business development of the company in the Italian community in the Czech Republic and I contributed to the company's communication strategy, as well as to a mailing campaign, made to improve their renown among potential clients.
I also attended many prestigious events and formal evenings, knowing many eminent
people, and I didn't expect that it would have been so funny and interesting! Thanks to my amazing Czech friends, I often used to go to very typical places and I tried so many delicious dishes! Prague is a magic city, an open air museum full of everything you need to have fun and very multicultural. The place where I lived was very cool and I knew many interesting
people from all across Europe, some of them are still good friends of mine.
This experience has inspired me a lot to proceed with my career and most of all it has incouraged me to not stop fighting to fulfill my dreams!

Sara, a Journalist
Prague was just the beginning. The experience was so
astonishing that I continued travelling and learning all
around Europe since then. I felt fulfilled both, personally
and professionally. This was a strong experience for me
that encourage me to keep on trying and be aware that
things are possible if you really want them and make all
that is in your hands to make them true.
The first day that I met the crew from Vuste Envis, they gave me some information about the different Medias where I could do my internship. I remember they were three possible options: Vice Magazine, Prague Post and Czech Business weekly; all of them written in English, so there was no need to panic about the Czech issue and the most important, they were totally related to my _eld. After being interviewed by the three possible placements, I had the opportunity to choose which one I preferred. And I chose Czech Business Weekly. I felt really welcomed by all the staff, specially the editor in chief Cristina Muntean and later on the big boss, Raymond Johnston. Actually, both of them are on my Facebook now :) They knew exactly what they want me to do and I really liked what I heard. I’ll be one of
them. My tasks were totally according to my academic and professional field; I wrote my own pieces and they were published with my signature.
Furthermore, I had the chance to work in a publication focused on the European economics
and politics while Prague held the rotating presidency of the EU (first semester
2009). This made it easier to find spokespersons that spoke English, which was a relief when I had to cover meetings and press conferences.

I learned a lot trough my internship training; I gained an international experience that is still valuable for me and for other companies; I improved my professional and linguistic skills; I met a lot of interesting people from all over Europe; I realized that journalism was defnitely my field and travelling something more than just an option and I discovered one of the most charming cities that I’ve ever seen. And its reaction has been bright and clear ever after.