Doing internship abroad can be a life-changing experience. A decision to do it can be challenging, but not for my friend Maja, who decided to spend few months in a small town in north Germany. Read more about her experience and challenges in following interview.
When did you decided to do internship abroad?
I decided to do internship abroad in my second year of study when I found out about this possibility.
How did you find your internship and how were you selected?
I found internship through student exchange programme (SEP) that organises IPSF (International Pharmaceutical Student Federation). My faculty has a student SEP coordinator, who helps other students and lead them through the applying process. I had to write CV and motivational letter and these were posted on SEP website on a portal, to which institutions of your preferred countries have access to. I choose Austria and Germany. When institution is interested they send you an email and in that is how I also got an internship position.
Tell us about your regular day and a bit about pharmacy where you work?
I work in a community pharmacy in quite small German city. Pharmacy have more sections. One for supplying hospitals with medicine, one for producing cytostatic, one for magistral medicines and one for community pharmacy. In my internship I helped on all of these sections and got to know the working process. I also went on some additional trainings and seminars.
How did you adapt to German culture? Was is easy or are there some things that you were not used to do before?
German culture is very similar to Slovenian one but there are some minor differences. They usually drink sparkling water and when you order water in restaurant you do not get normal water, but with CO2. They are also very direct. In Slovenia we always try to please our guests and offer them food and drinks many times, even if they say no. In Germany they ask you once, and if you want something you should just say it.
What are the advantages of doing this internship abroad in comparison doing it in your own country?
There are many advantages of doing my internship abroad. I learned new language, got to know another culture and many interesting people. I also experienced working in another country and got an opportunity to work in a really big pharmacy. In Slovenia I would not have a chance to experience that.
How many of your colleagues also went abroad for working experience?
Eight of approximately 150 of my colleagues went on internship abroad. I found that number not so high but in past few years, it continuously grow. I think that many of my colleagues are interested to work for a little bit in another country and now when we have many programs that provide you with these opportunities, more people tend to do so.
Would you recommend your peers (even if they are studying something else) to go out of their comfort zone of home and move abroad for a few months (studying, working, etc.)?
I would recommend my peers to go out of their comfort zone, if it is only possible to do so. Not only that experience like this broadens person’s horizon extensively and might give you another perspective on the word, it could also contributes to finding a real job sooner after you finish studying.
Maja, I wish you all the best in following months and later in life!