I am Tess Mallens, 20 years old and I am from the Netherlands. I study International Event Management at NHTV Breda. I am in my third year now were we need to complete a 7 month during internship to finish the year.
I decided to come to Canada because I had to do an internship for my study programme and I wanted to do this abroad. When I was 17 years old I moved out to live in the city of my university. That was already a big step for me back then, but now I already survived that for three years now, so I guess it was time for a new challenge. I wanted to have a good placement, so I didn’t pick a country, but just an internship that suited my needs and that happened to be in Canada. Besides that my uncle also studied in Canada and I heard many great stories from him, so that also made the decision easier. So now I am interning at Internex itself as a PR-coordinator and I found it through the database of my university.
As a PR-coordinator I am responsible together with the other interns to make sure our candidates have a great time here in Canada. We organise pub nights, weekly events and monthly trips. We are there for the people when they need to get something from their chest, and just to create a great group of friends, who become kind of your family while you are here. I really like my work since I’ve met so many great people and learned a lot about their cultures. It is a fantastic and dynamic group and great to hang out with. I also really like my colleagues in the office and I am really into my projects. I develop the monthly videos and I built the new Candidate Exposé, so what you are reading now, is my project 🙂
For this internship I think you really need to be open-minded, a planner, have communication skills and you need to be adaptable. You are working with people from different cultures, so they also communicate different. I think you have to be open-minded about their cultures and also adapt yourself to every person to make everybody comfortable. I know Dutch people, me included, are very direct so I needed to be careful with that. I guess I found my way through it though, and I learned a lot from it.
I live in a shared house in the Kitsilano / West Point Grey area, which are great neighbourhoods. I found it on Roomster, which is a platform to find rooms and apartments to rent. I am close to the beach and it takes me about half an hour to get downtown and work so I am very satisfied. I also get along really well with my housemates and I really can do my own thing there.
I remember it like it was yesterday when I arrived in Vancouver. I took a cab to my airbnb and after settling in a bit me and Danielle decided to walk into the city seeking for dinner. We didn’t know anything about the neighbourhoods yet so we walked on east hastings, a place you may rather avoid in the evening. I saw quite some homeless people, large buildings and it was dark. The only thing I thought was “What did I do, why did I come here”. Luckily the next day the sun was shining and we understood the neighbourhoods better. Once I walked in the financial district and around Canada Place, I already felt way better!
Because I organise the pub nights and activities myself, I attend most of them. I think they’re throughly great, since they give you the opportunity to meet other interns and young professionals really fast. Those people became my family during my time here. I think it is great Internex created this, since it would be really hard to get a group of friends when you’re just working in a company and only socialize with your colleagues. We get to explore fantastic places and create beautiful memories together.
I visited many places around here. I did many hikes and I am still planning to do a few more. My favourite trips were the Rockies trip, traveling with my parents around BC, experience Canada day in Victoria, snowboarding in Whistler and my trip to Tofino.
What I like most about Vancouver is the diversity of the city and its people. I am just never bored here and everywhere I go, somebody is in for a chat with you. People are really polite here, sometimes maybe a bit to polite in my opinion, and very understanding and accepting. I feel very welcome here and I just love the variety in Nature. I am really going to miss the mountains and the sea with its amazing beaches.
Some difficulties I had while living here was the beginning of my stay, when I didn’t feel comfortable yet and I really had to adjust to the culture. Keeping up with my bank account was a difficulty as well, because you really run out of money fast in this city. Besides that I sometimes had to deal with home sickness, but that went quite fine. My friends made an amazing booklet for me where each of them wrote a story about me, accompanied with ridiculous pictures. They always get a smile on my face again with that, even though they are not here in person.
The most memorable things I did here are snowboarding in Whistler with my colleague Becky, the Rockies trip and a surf trip to Tofino with my friends. Whistler mountain is amazing, and I felt throughly grateful for being there. It is a dream that came through, and with good company it only makes the experience better. I also surfed two times in Tofino and I really have no words for that feeling. Especially the second time was amazing since the conditions were just great and I experienced a great weekend with friends, beautiful sunsets and breathtaking nature.
This trip definitely inspired me to travel more, and also to travel more by myself. I lived all by myself for seven months, miles apart from my familiar and save life. I can do anything now and I will explore the world. Next stop: I hope to see London really soon, I can’t believe I haven’t been there yet, South America is definitely on my list as well and I am thinking about southern Asia.
The first thing I will do when I get back home is say hi to all my family in the airport and then run to the first restaurant / cafetaria I see to order a “frikandel” and “patatje oorlog” (A frikandel is kind of a fried sausage but then ten times better than the thing you are imagining now, and patatje oorlog is fries with satay sauce, mayonaise and onions). Then during the week I hope to get spoiled by my mums’ dishes, a croissant with melted cheese, cheese in general and cheese onion chips. I guess I like cheese.