Here is a small blog post for those who are curious how my Business Admin Internship in Brighton felt like.
To begin with, I’m a 22-years old Business Administration student from Switzerland. I’m about to finish my Bachelor degree in late February 2017. Part of my studies include doing a mandatory internship in a business field for at least 12 weeks. Since I have never been on an exchange year abroad or in any international language schools before, I really wanted to combine the idea of doing my internship with a stay overseas. With the help of Professionals UK I got a placement at an office in Brighton & Hove quickly. It was an unpaid training but I definitely benefited from this internship in many ways (improving my English skills, gaining my first work experience in an office, enlarging my knowledge in finance and administration, getting to know the British culture, exploring new places, meeting new lovely people, etc.) but you will find out more when reading on with this blog post.
In early 2016 I already tried to apply for internships abroad on my own but was not really successful after many failed applications. Thereafter, I heard from Professionals UK trough a friend of mine and contacted them in September 2016. Even though I contacted Professionals UK only a month before my preferred departure date, they replied very quickly and took all of my wishes and queries seriously. I was very happy after they found a placement in Brighton within just a couple of weeks! This also meant I had to find an accommodation within a really short time. Not knowing whether I had an accommodation confirmed or not before the weekend of my departure was a little stressful. Eventually, I heard from StudentHomes (which is a partner agency of Professionals UK) and they found a host-family near to my office in Hove. In this single-mother household I met another intern from Professionals UK who was from Germany. We became good friends really quickly and enjoyed the relaxing time after work together. Unfortunately, I did not really get along with my host-mother though and asked StudentHomes whether I could move to a new place or not. Luckily, the housing agency found a new host-family for me within a week and I was able to move after my first month in Brighton. You can probably guess that I was very excited when I found out by chance I got to share the same host-family as Lavy (my only Swiss friend here in Brighton). Yes, you might have noticed that she is working on this website and uploading blog post regularly here. I’m really thankful that I got to spend my two remaining months in the UK with her. We’ve become such close friends and shared so many wonderful memories while living together. I could not have been happier with my second host-family. My new host-family was making me feel like home and taking care of me from the first day on. My room was in the attic next to Lavy’s room. I was very pleased to see how spacious and clean it was. Furthermore, I had a great time with everyone in the family. I felt very happy with this new housing option and enjoyed all the lovely food, laughter and good times with the rest of the family. Seriously, I could not have imagined a better place to stay. A million thanks to StudentHomes for being this flexible.
Talking about my internship: I found out that this co-operative I was working for just moved to a new work space which is located in Hove, only a couple of minutes away from Brighton city centre. The small team worked in one big room and we had a couple of interview/meeting room. Working there every day, the staff but especially the other volunteers became like family to me. I was very glad that my supervisor always took his time to instruct and answer all of my questions. At the beginning, I felt like this co-operative I was working for underestimated my skills because I was mostly supporting their team only with various “easy intern jobs” like copying, scanning, shredding and covering the receptionist during lunch times. I guess this is part of the general administration work. I think my supervisor then noticed that I was quick to pick up new information and that I felt confident in the small tasks I was doing so far in the office. After a couple of weeks, I was able to deal with customers face to face, by email and on the telephone. Throughout the internship, I learned how to process new membership applications, take money transfer requests and issue cheques (which was definitely more exciting and more the tasks that I was expecting from this business/finance internship!). By the end of my stay, I was even able to help the loans team when they received loan applications. I was also responsible for checking that their clients had supplied full and correct information for their loan application. One of my highlights was when for the first time I issued the successful loans to their clients who had to sign their credit agreement. I also really enjoyed training newer volunteers to do the tasks that I had learnt.
Above all, I was happy that I was not working for a strict profit-oriented bank but rather a co-operative with various tasks in the business administration, accounting and finance field. I loved helping people who needed financial support the most.
This internship was a tremendous opportunity for me to develop not only new professional skills but also to grow as a person. Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you the Professionals UK team for organising this internship, for all their help and for the support throughout the whole stay. I had an amazing time in Brighton and learned so much about the daily tasks in an office. It was a great experience that I will never forget.
It’s hard to describe the feeling you get when you can tick something off of your bucket list. I’ve been daydreaming about going abroad for a study or work experience since I was 12 years-old. Now that I realise, that I actually worked 3-4 months in England, met so many lovely people, explored new places, got to know a new culture, travelled and lived on my own.. I can’t stop smiling from ear to ear. Of course I was sad to leave Brighton but I’m beyond happy with the memories made.
Thank you for taking your time to read through all of this. If you are looking for a internship abroad, GO FOR IT! It will an experience of a lifetime! ☺