My name is Alyn Engelhardt, I am 22 years old and lived my whole life in Viersen, Germany. It is a small town next to Düsseldorf and Cologne. I just graduated from university with a Bachelor of Science in Business Chemistry.
Before continuing with the Master in Business Chemistry I wanted to do a break from university to get some practical experiences by doing an internship. I chose Canada because I was always interested in the nature of this big country and the mentality of the citizens. In addition, I heard that the companies in Canada are really small, that it is not even unusual to know its entire staff. This means, it is more familiar and you might get the chance to get a better overview and learn more than in a big company.
In Germany I worked with an agency, I sent them all required documents and they sent it to Internex who got in contact with me. I was convinced that it is easier to find an internship with an agency that already knows different companies and has experience in working with them.
I was part of two different programs. I stayed for 12 weeks in Vancouver. The first two weeks I went to a language school to do a language course (Business English). Right after that, I started my internship for ten weeks. I chose this program to get some practical knowledge. Right after high school I went to university, which means, I never got the chance to see how a company works.
I am doing my internship at a (non-profit) community engagement organization.
“It is a signature initiative designed to spark, nurture and restore community connections. More than a single place or program, it assembles the hearts, minds, and talents of diverse communities to promote inclusive, intelligent, and inspiring dialogue.”
I am the first international intern they have, but they already had a lot of experience with work students and volunteers. It was an amazing time. They organise different events for people who are interested in community issues.
Communication and teamwork are the most important characteristics you need at this internship. Everybody needs to know what the other is working on and what is still missing; otherwise the events might not become successful. You should be good in organizing, and be flexible in general. Plans might change right before the event. You should also be creative; SFU Public Square loves new ideas.
This internship is not part of my education. Actually, event management does not have that much to do with the education I had, but still I can say I learned a lot. I learned to be more flexible and what good teamwork can look like. Also, I learned a lot on personal level during my internship.
I lived with a host family in Vancouver, organised by the language school. I shared the basement with another student. We had our own living room, kitchen and a bathroom. A host family is a great opportunity for people who are not used to live alone.
When I arrived, my first impression of Vancouver was: Now, I know why they call it Raincouver. The weather was really bad. It rained a lot in March and April. But I refused to buy an umbrella. In May the weather got so much better, so we were finally able to enjoy some outdoor activities.
I attend nearly all pub nights organised by Internex. It is a nice opportunity to meet new friends and to plan weekend activities. We always had a lot of fun and saw different corners of Vancouver Downtown. Besides the pub nights I attend other events like visiting the Lighthouse Park or Fly over Canada. Other places I traveled to are the Rockies, Vancouver Island with a friend I met on pub night, Bowen Island, Seattle, Whistler and soon I will travel down the westcoast of the USA with some friends I met at the pub nights. Furthermore I did a lot of activities like watching an ice hockey game, celebrated St. Patrick’ s Day, went to a boat party and I did lots of hikes.
What I like most about Vancouver is the mentality. There are so many different opportunities here. On one side Vancouver is a city, but it is also surrounded by beautiful nature. One thing I had to deal with was the bad traffic. I think it is not working for so many people. It really feels like you live in a big city with millions of inhabitants. Busses are passing by because they are already to full and in the rush hour everybody is stressed out.
I have three big highlights of my stay here. The first is th event I helped organize during my internship. As second a beautiful hike I did to a crushed airplane in Tofino. And last but not least a stay at the first nations hotel in Chase during our Rockies trip with Internex and Discover Canada Tours. My stay here and the entire experience didn’t really inspire me to travel more, since I already did that, but I might want to see the East of Canada as well now.
I would highly recommend the services of Internex. This agency has great contacts with different companies. In addition if your organise everything through Internex, you will get to know new friends because of the events and pub nights they organise.
When I get back home I will buy some good German bread.