Internship abroad in Plymouth – a great opportunity with many new experiences

On Sunday, the 23.06.2019 the day had arrived. At 04h00 in the morning 14 students of the State Vocational School Lichtenfels and myself started the upcoming adventure at Nuremberg Airport for the next two weeks: A foreign internship in Plymouth. But before I tell you more about my experiences in England, first to me: My name is Jennifer Blodgett and I am an industrial sales representative trainee, at IBC SOLAR since September 2018. 

The project “Internship abroad” was planned by the organization “Tellus College“, which offers students from different countries the possibility of an internship abroad including accommodation. During this time the trainees can not only get to know the respective culture and country habits, but also the countries’ working environment. IBC SOLAR supported the project immediately and made my participation possible. The idea was as follows: During our stay we stayed with different host families and completed internships in various companies. This gave us a first insight into the English “working world”.  

The expectations and thoughts about my internship in England were varied. How are we welcomed by our host families and work colleagues? What kind of experiences will we have work wise? Will I be able to cope with the language? Although all that and more was buzzing in my head, I took the challenge and was curious about what to expect. 

When we arrived in Plymouth, the host families were been waiting for us and warmly welcomed us. Sunday was our leisure time. We used it to settle in the new accommodation and to get to know the host family. The next day started with a Tellus College information event. We got all the necessary information about the various jobs, were able to give initial feedback and took a guided tour of Plymouth. 

The internship took about two weeks. During this time, we were introduced into different internships: from family businesses with few employees to medium-sized companies. The activities depended on the areas within the company and each of us had a contact person.

In the first days I worked as an intern in accounting of the St. Lukes Hospice. On my first day, I was greeted very warmly by my work colleagues and received a safety briefing from the company. After this, I got an instruction of my upcoming tasks. For example, I read stored contracts and summarised all the important details in an Excel spreadsheet. In case of ambiguity I could always ask my colleagues and in case of problems I was always offered help. I already noticed from the very beginning the first differences between German and English culture. The English, for example, like to take their time for a task and take a more relaxed approach to their work, which is occasionally interrupted by “tea breaks”. Courtesy is also very important in England. This becomes particularly obvious in the behaviour towards the work colleagues. 

After work, I used the time and explored the environment almost every day. Together with the other interns, we did sightseeing and tried the English food.  In the end, it was a great time I really enjoyed. Thus, I can only recommend other students to take this opportunity. In addition to the exciting and interesting working hours in England, I also enjoyed the free time with the other interns.

Author:  Jennifer Blodgett (Industrial sales representative trainee, 2nd year)

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