I am Iris van Knippenberg, a 21 year old Dutchie, and am studying International Leisure Management at NHTV in Breda.
I always wanted to do my internship abroad, as I think you learn way more from that and it is just an amazing experience. After I went abroad to Finland, I even wanted to go abroad more and preferred going outside Europe this time. Canada was in my top 3 of countries outside Europe, so it wasn’t hard to finalise my decision when I got the offer to do this internship.
I first tried out to find internships on my own in the US, but it was really difficult to get one as you really need a network for it and they prefer people who are a native speaker as well. When I couldn’t find one on my own, I decided to look at my school database and that is where I found the vacancy to do an internship with INTERNeX. It spoke to me, as it was outside Europe and I really liked the tasks I would need to do here with INTERNeX.
I am doing an internship with INTERNeX itself, so I am sort of part of the practicum program of INTERNeX. I had to do an internship for my study, so I couldn’t choose another one. I really like the internship at INTERNeX, I feel like I already learned a lot and there is so much opportunity to actually learn something if you really want to. It is really nice to hang out with the others who are part of the program too, as they experience the same things as I do and therefore really understand it.
The atmosphere in the company is really good. Besides that I also like my tasks and the projects I am doing for them as well. Like I already mentioned, I also got a lot of opportunities to work on my personal goals, which I really appreciate. Characteristics and skills you need to be successful here are I would say networking, being client-oriented and having good communication skills.
This internship is part of my university program and I think it is really useful because you finally get to actually practice everything and learn the skills, which you should not be able to learn when you are just in a classroom.
When I arrived I felt like Vancouver was really big (the buildings and the city itself) and pretty warm. I expected snow before I came here, so I was really surprised to arrive in a city where there was no snow and 7 degrees. When I left the Netherlands, it was way colder, so that is why I expected at least the same temperature in Vancouver. Right now it doesn’t feel big anymore, I got used to the city and I know my way around now. Canadians are really polite and easy-going. Besides that I found out that Canada has beautiful nature and there is so much to do here.
I attend every trip we organise with the PR-team, because I always like to go with the INTERNeX family, there is a really good atmosphere among us. I also like the events and the pub nights are always really nice too, so I always try to go to as many things as possible.
I already did a lot in Vancouver. While I am here I visited quite some amazing places. The ones that stood out the most were the Rockies, Kelowna and Joffre lakes. Besides that I also did a lot of amazing activities such as bungee jumping in Whistler, going to my first professional hockey game, hiking at Lynn Canyon, celebrating King’s Day in Vancouver and I went to a boat party.
I love the nature here and that it is so easy to just go on a hike or to the beach. While doing this, I have the feeling that I am actually escaping my daily life routine. I have been homesick in the beginning and in the middle of my time here. In the beginning I wasn’t used to living alone anymore and had to get used to it again. In the middle of my internship, a lot of my good friends were leaving Vancouver again and I felt a bit alone because of that. However, because of all the great people of the INTERNeX family I felt way better.
I can’t choose between two experiences which have both been really amazing for me, the Rockies and Joffre lakes. When you are at the Rockies, it totally feels like an escape of reality when you are there. The mountains and views are amazing and the atmosphere here is just the best ever. At the Rockies I got the chance to do a hike at Johnston Canyon while every waterfall was still frozen. Besides that I also did a hike on the mountain in Banff where I got amazing views over the mountains. I also walked on Lake Louise to a frozen waterfall. It was a bit scary to walk over it, but also really great.
Joffre Lakes was an amazing day-long hike, which was challenging but really worth the time and effort. As I did not have the right hiking shoes yet, I kept falling and it took me a long time to get to the second lake. Climbing up the mountain was also not really helping either. However, once we were at the second lake, I forgot all the pain and exhaustion. The lakes are blue-greenish as they are fed by glaciers and absolutely look amazing.
This trip definitely inspired me to travel more since I heard about a lot of amazing events and places while I was here (Oktoberfest in München and Carnaval in Aachen). Besides that I do not have the time to see the other side of Canada now, so I would love to go to the other side to see Quebec, Montreal, Ottowa and the Niagra falls.
INTERNeX helped me to find my way in Vancouver regarding finding friends. Besides that the organisation also gave me the opportunity to explore a lot of places where I would not have gone without them. Yes, my experience would have been way different without INTERNeX and I would not change a thing about it.
When I get Back home I will eat a lot of chees and order a “frikandel speciaal”.
INTERNeX International Exchange
Suite 2077, 2079 – 88 West Pender Street
Vancouver, Canada -V6B 6N9-