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!

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