Storyboard Karlein is a 21 years old grown up girl who started her first big adventure when she just turned 18! She left her hometown for 5 months going abroad and was ready to work in a hotel in Mallorca with totally strangers, unknown language and a different culture. One year later she left again home instead of going tot he heat, she decided to go to the snow, working as a ski-iteacher in Austria. In this interview she tells about her experiences and what she learned about the two different internships abroad. PREPARING When I asked her how she prepered herself for these adventures she started laughing and said: ‘Well actually I was so exited going abroad for a long time so I forgot to dive into lots of information, beside the information I gained at school ofcourse. ‘When I left home to Mallorca I really didn’t know what to expect, but one aspect was clear; I need to know the experiences of other students who have been there before. I planned a meeting and have spoken with a few old students where they explained me how to deal and what to do in different scenarios. For me it was very usefull, but the most important thing I remember is that they told me to find and figure it out on my own. After all I can say I made my own story with ups and downs, made the right choices and sometimes the wrong ones but in the end this period made me a sophisticated lady.
BIG CHANCE Katrien was studying Tourism & Leisure Management in Eindhoven which included two five months internships, she did both of them abroad. ‘For me it was a big opportunity to explore other countries, languages, cultures and not to forget; encounter new people. I met many nice people from many different countries and learned a lot about myself. Finally I have to admid that this was the most greatest experience I gained in my young life. Going abroad was an easy decision for me, because it always interested me to go out of my comfort zone seeing more beautiful destinations in the world. As a young girl I dreamt about travelling around the world so I would regret so hardly if I didn’t take this chance and that is why I didn’t even doubt about it’.
ADAPTING Probably everybody will know, while going abroad, things will be different. What are the differences you need to be aware of? ‘It wasn’t always easy in the beginning, I had to get used to a lot of new things. Culture is the mean one, think about the way people go along with each other, the way they greet and meet, the power distance, daily routine, different food culture and so on. You need to be flexible so you can adapt in every kind of situation, every day is another day and once you know the what’s and how’s, it goes by itself. Don’t see it as a problem, see it from a positive perspective you winened your knowlegde. It is so cool to know how to handle in strange environments which means that you are strong enough to deal with it. On the other side you really need to enterprise and need to be cheeky, in a good way, to stand up for yourself.