“A project manager? This has to be a joke.
And so started probably the best 6 months 
of my life.”

-Samy, an international student from India
and an exchange participant  from AIESEC UBC 
who went for a six-month internship in 
Bamberg, Germany

Sami

The process leading up to my internship was both long-winded and rocky. I had little idea of what to expect when I got to the tiny town of Bamberg, Germany for a six-month internship. With rich international travelling experiences, I was used to the life of finding new families and friends in many remote foreign lands. However, Germany was the one captivating place that I haven’t set foot on yet-not until the AIESEC internship opportunity surfaced, and after accepted by the program, I luckily and eventually had a home in Germany to go for a Sunday morning brunch. To be honest, the fact that I am not a German-speaker should have had me petrified about this 6-month internship. Yet, I guess it was the risk taker in me that, for the same reason, found it thoroughly exciting. When I arrived there I was told to be on a project with another fellow exchange participant from India who would too be my roommate. “Another huge challenge!” I thought so because I wasn’t the type of person that made new friends easily. I was soon proved to be wrong. We became good friends and she was a great stabilizing factor for me during the experience. I felt much more confident and less homesick being with someone who had a similar cultural background with me, since there were barely any foreigners in the little town, not to mention the friendly yet overwhelming stops and stares we receivedwhile walking on streets. We went into work the second day after arrival, and, surprisingly, were greeted by people from 15 different countries! That reception was absolutely eye opening and was, without question, an amazing start of my journey.

Sammy

Before taking the exchange, my impressions about an internship were mainly about errand running, something like coffee buying and printing jobs. However, my first meeting with my boss began with “So you are now the project manager and are responsible for contacting senior executives from our branches in India.” The prospect was daunting and I had no idea if I was even capable of a coffee run without causing massive spillage on my way back. A project manager? This has to be a joke.

And so started probably the best 6 months of my life. I gained the professional skills needed for an international project and often managed to tackle unexpected issues. Most importantly, I now realize that I have more to offer than I could ever imagine, and even with those failures on the way there was always something to learn. The exchange was a wonderful experience in terms of travelling too. I made time for travels almost every weekend and, at the last month of my internship, I was able to explore Portugal, Spain and Italy. What’s more, I met some truly fantastic people along the way. They constantly inspired me to keep pushing my limits and almost every encounter would bring me a new life lesson. This internship was a concentration of what I would have learnt typically in 3 years–all condensed into 6 months. It was an “intensive life course”—that is probably the best way I can put it.

Samy

I do hope that I will be able to have another exchange experience like this soon, and, if not, I am completely satisfied with the chance of having had even one. It truly was the time of my life so far and I recommend anyone who wants a life-changing experience to step on it and to push their own limits. For me, there’s little out there that works better than an experience like this in an unknown foreign land.

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