My name is Björn Jentschke, I’m 21 years old and from southern Germany (close to Munich and Stuttgart). Right now I’m working on my Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration specialized on Finance.
I have never really thought about going to Canada until I started working with Internex, who offers internships in New Zealand and Canada. So finally I decided to go to Canada and I’ve never regretted that.
In my third semester I was constantly thinking about doing an internship abroad as part of my studies, but I didn’t know exactly how to start with that project and wasn’t sure about it at all. Then, I think back in October 2015, I heard about Timothy Wells, the owner of an international exchange agency, would give a little presentation. So I decided to join that and yes, he convinced me to do such an internship abroad. After some weeks I decided to go with Internex, the following decision that I’ve never regretted!
I’ve chosen the international coop because I wanted to gain more experiences in the financial sector besides banks and of course experience how it is to work in another country with a different language and culture. That program was perfect for that.
I am placed at a company that is situated in the wealth management sector. So it is all about individual portfolio construction or analysis, a whole financial advice in the matter of tax minimization, pension and also loans. It is a really fast growing company and they just changed their head office to downtown Vancouver, where we have a great lookout over Vancouver. To be successful here you have to show great commitment and being interested in the financial sector. You need to have basic knowledge about financial instruments and Excel. People there are very nice and friendly, so it is an asset if you are also really open.
It is not required to do this international placement in my university program, so it is more like an individual gaining of experiences. As a dual student I depended on the permission of my company to do this in my practical time, but luckily that was no problem. Is it useful for my career goals? Yes of course! I just can recommend doing something like this to everyone. Of course it is good for your CV, but I also learned a lot of the investment business from a lot of different people and perspectives now. I also improved my English skills a lot, which is very important and the most important part is that you will really grow as a human; being more confident and experience how other people live. Tim told me in our chat of the beginning of my program just to be confident and trying new things, also in my job here. It is all about that.
Here I live in a homestay with three other students and interns. I really enjoyed it. Also the owner of the homestay was fantastic so it was just perfect.
The first impression I got from Vancouver is that it looked beautiful between the pacific and the mountains and people were very friendly. Right now I feel very comfortable in this town.
The Internex PR-team organises several activities but it’s no duty to attend those, so I wasn’t at every event. But I really think that these events were always very good organized. They are a very good opportunity to meet very quickly some new people, especially in the beginning of your stay in Vancouver, and of course to have a lot of fun. On the weekend events you really have the chance to see the environment of Vancouver and a lot of nice places. Also, the PR-team always keeps you updated about changes in the planning or other things.
Activities I did and places I visited are: Zip-lining and bungee jumping in Whistler, kayaking in Deep Cove, visiting the VERY BUSY Capilano Suspension Bridge. I went to beautiful Bowen Island, did a weekend trip to Portland and Seattle. I went hiking to Lake Garibaldi and on the Howe Sound Crest Trail. I visited Vancouver Island, went to a country festival in Surrey, walked through Stanley Park and much more!
What I like most about Vancouver is of course the location between the mountains in the north and the pacific in the west. Also downtown is a very nice place to be and the environment is beautiful with great nature.
In the beginning it was a bit difficult to get used to the language, but after two weeks it wasn’t a problem anymore. With some help I’ve never experienced problems with the public transportation, but you have to be aware of spending every day at least more than one hour just to get from your homestay to work and back.
Internex was helpful for me for just organizing everything. From the homestay, to the visa, till the job. Everything worked very well and you can always call them if you have any questions or problems. They always replied within 24 hours and it is very personal and they have the know how. And it is also nice that they are just there if something goes wrong with your job or homestay, cause you will never know. I will definitely recommend Internex.
This experience definitely inspired me to travel more, to as many places as possible! But when I do get home, the first thing I will do is eating some Non-Asian food. Although I think I will miss the rice…