AIESEC internship in Koszalin - pros & cons
Present in over 110 countries and territories and with over 60,000 members, AIESEC is the world's largest student-run organisation. Focused on providing a platform for youth leadership development, AIESEC offers young people the opportunity to be global citizens, to change the world, and to get experience and skills that matter today.
Hanna Fux is 25 years old Brazilian student of social sciences, specialization of translation of english-poruguese. She came to Poland on January 2011 to realize an internship for 6 months in the local AIESEC organization. She thaught English Polish people in a business company in Koszalin. Hanna agreed to answer to some of my questions concerning her stay in Poland.
- Why did you choose to come to Europe?
I was dreaming about coming to Europe and visiting such a beautiful and different countries. Europe is full of different cultures and traditions and I really wanted to have various experiences in the Old World.
- What were your expectations about the internship and Koszalin before coming here?
It seemed so unbelievable, to achieve the dream to come to Europe, that I didn’t have any special expectations, but when I arrived in the middle of January, everything surprised me – the weather, the size of the city-it was so small comparing to my city in Brazil and I realized that I have a lot of challenges to face. The biggest challenge for me in the beginning was that I was alone and I needed to find new friends and to invent a new way of life.
- You are leaving Poland now, what bilan could you do after 6 months here?
This exchange was a great opportunity to know myself bit more and to develop some capacity I didn’t know I had before. To be more independent, open-minded, tolerant, comprehensive about the other people and other behaviors different to mine. I met a lot of people who made this possible.
- What did surprise you most in Poland?
What surprised me most was that although Brazil is so far from Europe, we have many things in common. We are human beings and we share the same universal feelings.
- What was your greatest experience here?
To find myself, because I made many friends and faced new experiences. This helped me to find my way of life and discover what I want to do in my life and who I want to be.
- Did u have some difficult moments during your training here? What was it about? How did you manage this?
The biggest challenge was to rebuild my life in totally different country without knowing the language, the habits of the people and without having friends here. I started making friends, parties. I have joined the capoeira club in Koszalin. I travelled a lot. I was in Berlin, Budapest, Prague, Pilsner, many cities in Italy and in Poland. Now I am going to visit Spain and Portugal for 2 weeks before to come back in Brazil for good. Knowing different places, cultures, people, food helped me to make my homesickness less difficult.
- How did u find Polish people? Are they different from the Brazilians?
When I saw the Polish people I thought in the beginning they are the same in their behavior like the Brazilians, but as much as I went deeper in the relations with the people I realized cultural differences hard to explain for e.g. the relation between man and woman. In my country people say that we are sexist, but I noticed that in Poland, especially in Koszalin, the city where I lived, the relationship between man and woman are also very sexist.
- What did u learn from your internship in Koszalin?
I learnt how to behave in a company, in the professional environment. It was good to face the challenges, to have a boss and to work with businessmen. I have taught English language foreigners who didn’t speak my native language, it was a big challenge. My boss and my polish friends helped me to learn some polish language which helped me a lot, also in my work.
- What did You miss most from Brazil?
My friends and my family. The Brazilian music, our parties and my culture in general.
- Do you like the polish food? What is your favorite polish meal?
I like it very much, it’s really tasty. My favorite polish meal is gallimaufry, sausage, cabbage and dumplings. I also learnt how to prepare some recipes – some salads, and different kind of dumplings.
- Beer or Vodka?
- How did you spare your free time here?
I tried to spend my time as much as possible with my polish and foreign friends. Making dinner and lunch together, going to the family house of some polish friends and know their family. We often made a barbecue, went to the beach in Mielno, did capoeira every week, jogging in the park of Koszalin, drawings, parties, cooked and travelled together, played poker.
- Do you want to recommend this internship to other Brazilian people?
I recommend it for every person because it’s incredible possibility to have a unique experience abroad for couple of months and to see your life in an outside point of view. It’s AWESOME.
- What are your future plans?
After visiting Poland, I will go to Spain and Portugal to visit friends before coming back to Brazil. After this amazing experience I can not imagine my life without travelling. I want to keep teaching English and maybe start other studies like graphic design. It would be a new challenge for me. Now I am scared if I can achieve it or not. But what is sure is that my AIESEC internship in Poland gave me the courage to try it.
by Valya Ivanova