Anna studied French and German at the University of Oxford before taking her language skills to Munich as an e-commerce and online marketing intern at GREENFORCE
Why did you do an internship abroad?
I was looking for the chance to move back to a German-speaking country after university for another year abroad and wanted to start working in a new sector. Doing an internship in Munich allowed me to immerse myself into the world of e-commerce and kickstart my career, while also improving my German fluency and getting to travel around the local area. It was the best of both worlds.
What was the application process like?
I found my internship on LinkedIn, where I was specifically searching for opportunities in Germany. I speculatively applied to GREENFORCE and had an informal chat with the team during my fourth year of university. After graduating, I reached out to the company again and was asked to complete a sample task, which involved responding to a dissatisfied customer via email. Once they were satisfied with my communication skills, I was asked to create a marketing campaign for one of the GREENFORCE products. I then completed a final interview with the chief marketing officer, who offered me the role.
What did the internship involve?
My role involved a variety of tasks based around the company website, including creating product and landing pages for online campaigns, ensuring the web shop ran smoothly and provided a user-friendly shopping experience, writing blog posts and recipes for the website and email newsletters for existing customers, and analysing website data.
What did you enjoy about your internship?
It was an amazing experience starting from scratch in an area I didn't know much about. I learned so much from day one and quickly got the chance to take ownership of various day-to-day e-commerce tasks.
I was also ethically behind the company mission and loved the products (vegan replacements, mostly made from pea protein), which motivated me to put my all into my work. I also had wonderful colleagues who were a joy to see every day.
What were the challenges?
Moving abroad and starting a new job in a foreign language is challenging, especially when visa troubles delay your arrival. The first few weeks were a whirlwind of full-time work, getting to know my flatmates, and trying to make friends. I felt 'lost' for the first two months, and it took time to feel socially integrated with my colleagues. But once I settled in, it was an amazing experience.
What are the benefits of completing an internship?
Internships allow you to gain practical work experience in a sector that may be new - many companies don't have requirements regarding previous experience or subject studied, so you can choose what suits your career aspirations and skillset and apply. It's also a great indicator to future employers that you're serious about work, in that you've used your free time, year abroad or gap year to develop your professional skills.
Was the internship paid?
Yes, I received an appropriate salary - although unfortunately, this isn't a given. It wasn't a huge amount and typically won't be for most internships, but I was able to live off my earnings in a rather expensive city without needing extra financial support.
How has the internship helped your career?
I was able to secure my new role thanks to the skills and experience I gained while interning at GREENFORCE. It was a great stepping stone to a full-time role with more independence and responsibility and I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity to learn all about marketing in such an accommodating environment.
What advice would you give to others about to complete an internship?
Get stuck in. You're there to learn, so don't be afraid to ask questions.
Depending on the size and dynamic of your company, there is also scope to pick up odd tasks from departments that may not fit strictly within the job description of your internship - just ask. It's good to get a breadth of experience under your belt and it'll be a big help for future job searches.
And most importantly - have fun.