Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Learning from student experiences of international placements

Between them the project partners have a wide range of experience of international placements, either as sending institutions, hosts or through connections with participants.  

This section looks at accounts from some participants then asks – what can we learn from this?

Fabrizio, Italy

My job experience in the LLLP has been really profitable and gave to me the unique chance to live for few months in a foreign working context. I had the opportunity to see, as architect, other ways to conceive architecture, opening my mind about different approaches. I've been host in a top notch Czech Architecture Studio, sitting side by side to people i've really admired for their skills, feeling enriched only by looking at them.    
(About the adaptation to the cultural and professional differences of the country)
The adaptation in the studio has been not easy but neither difficult. People were not really talkative in English, in that way is difficult to find your space in a so well-oiled machine having only few months available. On the other hand, people has always been really nice and patient. On top of that, Petr (my boss, my tutor, studio associate and good Italian speaker) has always been incredibly available and easy-going with me.

(Was placement relevant to my education and experience?)
The placement was absolutely relevant to my education, is actually what all the newly graduates from universities like mine dreams about. Despite this, the placement was not relevant to my previous working experiences. So, if is true that I didn't get to specialise myself more in what i was used to do, I had however the great opportunity to enlarge my horizons and be professionally more complete.
(Were you able and required to learn new things / skills and abilities/ during my internship?)
About learning new things, I was aware since the beginning that being a "training on the job" internship, no one would have stop his work to teach me new things and no one would have asked me something that would have required abilities I didn't already had. I however got to work on building models, using software that I was not using since a while and become faster using the ones I currently use.
(How often do you find your work stressful?)
I didn't find the job too stressful. The working hours were flexible and however not more than 8 a day for both, interns and employees. Only one week-end has been necessary to work until late, but i did it with real pleasure, made me feel more part of the team. I took it as an honour.
(Conditions in my job allow me to be about as productive as I could be)
The conditions in my job didn't allowed me to be about as productive as I could be. I've never been invited to the meetings where the team was discussing about some projects I was working on too, so I could not get the bosses indications and I had just to do what my colleagues told me to do. Then I had to bring my laptop for work, so of course I could not be as fast as I would have like to be.
(All in all, how satisfied would you say you are with your job?)
All in all I can say I am really satisfied of this working experience. I get enriched professionally, I worked in a stimulating context, I realised my strengths and my weakness. I'm just a little disappointed about the boss's frequent allusions about the possibility to stay in the studio and then realize that it was just a way to motivate you to do more and more...  
(The internship makes me more employable?)
I really hope this internship made me more employable abroad. I'm actually searching for a job in Czech Republic, but it still seems that Czech language is a requirement that an achieved Leonardo internship and an "Europass Mobility certification" can not cover.

Stefania, Italy

About my job-experience during the “Leonardo Mobility Project” in Prague I achieved my internship in two different architectural studios.
Both companies from the beginning helped me to adapt to the cultural, linguistic and professional differences of the country, in particular my training tutors, Head architects of the studio, were very kind, friendly and ready to help me to carry out my program and so thanks to them I easily integrated in the new context.
The placement in these two studios was very relevant to my education and formation, in fact I gained competences and skills in each field.

I improved my professional and technical skills in all architecture scales from urban till details scale. In particular the sectors developed were Urban Planning, Architectural Design, CAD Drawing, Modeling 3D, Graphic design. I also perfected my computer skills, using many softwares, for example AutoCad, Archicad, Sketchup, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Illustrator CS.

I also learned how to apply new techniquees and new methods and how to act in a professional environment in a foreign country.
The work has never been very stressful, except for rare cases of  urgent deadlines when I worked on the weekend, but usually work schedules were great (9 am- 6 pm from Monday to Friday).

From this Job- experience I also improved my linguistic skills, thanks to the use of English in everyday contexts at work, I developed  my social and organizational competences, interacting with new people from different countries (for example also thanks to some dinners with colleagues and the boss etc..).

But particularly I acquired flexibility and adaptation , overview and open-mindedness, I think now I am a new person and I will see everything through different eyes regardless where I will be.
So all in all I very satisfied with this professional experience, also because I got some contacts for future job opportunities and I think now I am more employable.

I am so pleased that I decided to continue my professional training and growth abroad and in particular in Prague!

Monday, 11 August 2014

David's Experience, NGO

The guys at Vuste were very friendly and very helpful throughout
my stay in Prague and it is a shame that my stay was not longer.
I remember Lukas saying to me “I will not leave until you have
internet” and I think that says a lot about the kind of guys there
are at Vuste. They are determined to help you as much as possible.
My mentor had me 3 interviews in quick succession and I
had 3 internships in quick succession. I chose Agora Central
Europe and the Czech Helsinki Committee for political and
human rights reasons and I chose GRB International because it
was a marketing job within an export business.
Everyone at my internships greeted me very well but the language barrier was more difficult with some employees than others. My tasks were laid down in front of me very early on and my roles included English language consultant, marketing consultant, political analyst and foreign media correspondent. This meant that my tasks
would involve weekly reports and meetings, _xing grammatical errors in funding proposals or extensive research. During my internships I learned how to give reports
during meetings, how to conduct more efficient research, the workings of a Non Governmental Organisation, improved my communication skills and learned more about
working environments in a different culture.
The experience for me was very helpful and added more strength to my CV but I had
already arranged to move to Spain in a cultural exchange before I had gone to
Prague. This has meant that I am unsure if all of this will have helped my employability.
I have applied for an internship with NATO and their SHAPE division in Belgium so
I am quietly hoping that my experience gained in Prague will be a deciding factor.
Prague life was wonderful. It seems much more relaxed within a working environment
than it does in the United Kingdom. That was something I liked a lot. Public transport
made it easy to get around and the people were generally quite friendly with us. The
nightlife really is something else and if you go out for a night with your friends, it really
is an all night affair. There were many occasions when my friends and I would have
been coming home with the sun shining.
What I remember most about Prague is the friendship and the laughter that I had with
the other men on the trip. I would love to go back and do it again, Prague was just

fantastic in every way and that could possibility be the highlight of highlights.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

MOB G.A.E - MOBility as a source of personal and professional Growth, Autonomy and Employability

MOB G.A.E - MOBility
as a source of personal and professional Growth, Autonomy and Employability

 Currently we are part of an important EU project about mobility programs experiences - MOB G.A.E – MOBility project

MOB G.A.E. aims to evaluate and disseminate the impact of international mobility experiences within the framework of EU programmes. A group of former participants will be interviewed, concerning their personal and professional development and their awareness as European Citizens. MOB G.A.E aims to disseminate and exploit existing case stories, good practices, positive changes among the ex participants, the partners within and outside the consortium (enterprises, public institutions, NGOs), acting as promoters, hosting, sending and intermediary partners, interested in improving the quality of their work.

MOB G.A.E - MOBility is intended as a source of personal and professional Growth, Autonomy and Employability is a Lifelong learning KA4 project co-fundend by the European Union and promoted by the Accademia Europea di Firenze (IT).

Within the project MOB GAE-Mobility a feedback survey was created with the aim to to evaluate the impact of mobility experiences on the personal and professional lives of participants, their autonomy and their awareness of being European Citizens.

If you have participated in a European mobility project (Leonardo da Vinci, Erasmus etc.) we would highly appreciate if you could use a few minutes of your time to complete this survey:

Saturday, 21 June 2014



Cuentanos un poco como esta siendo tu estancia en Praga.

la primeras semanas nos dedicamos a ver la ciudad ,ver todo el centro y a beber mucha cerveza,ya que con el curso de ingles teniamos bastante tiempo libre durante las 2 primeras semanas.Ya despues todo el mundo empezo sus practicas y cada uno pues en su empresa, y ya no tenemos tanto tiempo durante la semana para salir.

Como te va en la empresa?

Al principio no tenia clientes hasta que puse mi cartel, porque aquí todos los monitores ponen su cartel y te dicen que especialidad tienen, por ejemplo: yo soy entrenador deportivo especialidazado en masajes terapeuticos, otro especializado en fitness o aerobic…
En mi cartel puse que soy instructor en practicas, las clases las doy en espanol o en ingles, ya que he encontrado gente aquí que habla espanol, y como es gratis ya se ha apuntado algunas personas y estoy con ellas trabajando.

Tenias experiencia antes?hay mucha diferencia en la forma de trabajar de la empresas Checas?

La verdad que tengo bastante experiencia pero la que estoy obteniendo aquí me va a servir muchisimo porque estoy aprendiendo de todos mis companeros ya cada uno tiene diferentes metodos de ensenanza.
La verdad que si he notado que hay bastante diferencia en la forma de trabajar porque aquí son mas serios y muy profesionales, porque el tiempo que esta el instructor con el cliente esta al maximo con el y no hay momentos para risas, sin embargo en Espana es mas distendido,.

La busqueda de trabajo donde la vas hacer?

Pensando que en Espana no hay trabajo, y la cosa esta mal…voy a buscar trabajo fuera de Espana, pero no lo buscare aquí en Praga, aunque con el salario de aquí se vive bien, ya que necesitas menos dinero para vivir bien,y Espana es mas cara.

Que es lo que mas te ha gustado de Rep. Checa?Tienes alguna anécdota?

Me gustan muchas cosas, la ciudad, las checas…aunque es un poco complicado por el idioma,jeje, pero lo que mas me gusta de la ciudad es el carácter cosmopolita.

Aunque no es una anedota nos gusta mucho el Lucerna y el momento filete a las tres de la manana…jeje, pero algo curioso es que aquí en el gimnasio no hay gordos y viene mucha gente joven, sobre todo dependientas del centro comercial de aquí al lado que estan muy bien…jeje

Tell us how it is being your stay in Prague.

the first few weeks are dedicated to seeing the city, see the entire downtown and drink lots of beer, since the English course we had plenty of free time during the first 2 weeks. after everyone began their practices and for each of his business, and we do not have much time during the week to leave.

How are you doing in the company?

At first I had no clients until I put my poster, because here all the monitors put their poster and tell you that you have expertise, for example: I am a sports coach specialized therapeutic massage, fitness or other specialized aerobic ...
In my poster I put that I am an instructor in practice, I give classes in Spanish or English, I've found people here who speak Spanish, and as free as it has been suggested some people and I'm working with them.

You had experience before? Much difference in the way of working of the Czech companies?

The truth that I have enough experience but I'm getting here will help me lot because I'm learning from all my classmates and everyone has different methods of teaching.
The truth is that if I noticed that there is enough difference in the way we work because here are more serious and very professional, because this time the instructor with the customer is at the maximum and there is no time for laughs, but in Spain is more relaxed.
The job search where you do?
Thinking that in Spain there is no work, and the thing is wrong ... I will look for work outside of Spain, but will not seek here in Prague, but with the salary of a good life here, because you need less money to live well, and Spain is more expensive.
That is what most of you liked the Czech Republic? You have a story?

I like many things, the city, the Czech ... although it is difficult to communicate with them by language, hehe, but what I like most of the city is the cosmopolitan character.

Although not a annecdotes we really like the Lucerne and moment steak at three in de morning... haha, but funny thing is that here in the gym has no fat and lots of young people

Thursday, 12 June 2014

DAVID (Casa Latina)


Cuales son tus expectativas aquí en Rep. Checa?

Elegi venir aquí porque el ano pasado estuve de erasmus y tenia muchas ganas de trabajar en otro pais que no fuese Espana y descubrir como trabajan fuera. Si puediera tener alguna oportunidad de trabajar aquí en el futuro me gustaria aprovecharla.

La experencia que esta adquiriendo crees que te servira en el futuro?

Pues la verda es que si porque es un trabajo dinamico porque estamos haciendo investigaciones de mercado, vamos a eventos, hacemos trabajos creativos como anuncios para revistas, etc…y esta bastante relacionado con lo que he estudiado.

Te has adaptado bien a la empresa?

Si desde el primer momento porque el ambiente que hay en la empresa es bastante bueno y todos somos companeros y nos ayudamos mutuamente.

Como llevas la estancia en Praga?

Pues hemos viajado bastante, hemos estado en varios pueblecitos de Rep. Checa, y todavia queremos seguir viajando…he conocido a un monton de gente, he ido a bastantes fiestas y el ambiente que hay en Praga me gusta bastante tanto para salir como culturalmente.
Yo le recomiendo a todo el mundo que visite esta ciudad que es encantadora!

What are your expectations here in rep. Czech?

I chose to come here because last year I was on Erasmus and was eager to work in another country that was not Spain and discover how they work fuera.If I could any chance of working here in the future I would like to take.

Along the experience you are buying do you think will serve in the future?

For the truth is that if it is a dynamic work because we are doing market research, going to events, do creative work as magazine ads, etc ... and is quite related to what I studied.

I've adapted well to the company?

If from the outset because the atmosphere in the company is pretty good and we are all peers and help each other.

How have you stay in Prague?

As we have traveled a lot, we've been in several villages of the Czech Republic, and still we keep going ... I've met a lot of people, been to many festivals and the atmosphere in Prague I like very much to go and culturally.
I recommend everyone to visit this city that is charming!

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

CRISTINA (Casa Latina)


Que tal en la empresa, cuales son tus funciones?

Pues les ayudamos desde los distintos proyectos que llevan de consultorias,si necesitan estudios de mercado, ver el producto que ellos quieren importar que competidores tienen…ayudarles a buscar un mercado posible en Praga para introducir ese producto,
si necesitan cualquier tipo de informacion de legislacion para importar y exportar…
cada persona esta encargada de unos productos y ya depende de lo que vaya surgiendo, asi que es un trabajo individualizado.

Tenias experiencias antes?Que diferencias has notado en la forma de trabajar de Espana y Rep. Checa?

Trabaje en Espana pero en temas de consultoria administracion, contablilidad…
Pues exactamente no se si hay mucha diferencia porque las actividades son la mismas ya que la contabilidad y la administracion es mucho mas metodico y aquí cada dia es un proyecto algo distinto.

La busqueda de trabajo donde piensas hacerla?

En Espana, a no ser que salga aquí la oportunidad de mi vida, pero mi idea es volver, ya que alli lo tengo todo, pero economicamente y como oportunidad puede ser una lanzadera asique podria quedarme un par de anos.

Que recomendarias de Praga?y que haces en tu tiempo libre?

Pues la verdad es por ahora no hemos viajado mucho porque solo llevamos un mes pero nuestra idea es viajar y conocer todo centro europa Cracovia, Berlin, Budapest…
Aquí en Praga pasear por el centro es muy bonito a cada paso encuentras algo que te impresiona!!

How about the company, what are your duties?

Then we help them from the various consulting projects that are, if you need market research, see the product they want to import competitors have ... help them find a market in Prague possible to introduce such a product,
if you need any kind of information legislation to import and export ...
each person is responsible for some products and it depends on what is emerging, so it is individualized work.

She had experience before? What differences have you noticed in the form of work of Spain and Czech Republic?

Work in Spain but consulting on issues of administration, contablilidad ...
Well, not exactly sure if there much difference because the activities are the same as the accounting and administration is much more methodical and here every day is a project different.

The job search where you think it?

In Spain, unless you leave here the opportunity of a lifetime, but my idea is to return, because there I have everything, but economically and as an opportunity may be a shuttle could stay here a couple of years.
Prague would you recommend? And what you do in your spare time?

The truth is we have not traveled a lot because we only take a month but our idea is to trave
and learn all europa center Krakow, Berlin, Budapest ...
Here in Prague walk in the center is very beautiful with every step you find something that impresses you!

Froy (Casa Latina)


Podrias hacernos una breve introduccion para conocer vuestra empresa?

Somos un grupo de empresas entre ellas esta GRB INTERNATIONAL promovemos el servicio y la cultura latina aquí en el centro de europa y viceversa tambien, otra de las companias tambien es Latin licors que se encarga de la logistica y del transporte de los licores.Casa Latina es la compania que empuja por medio de ventas y marketing a los productos latinos igual que los servicios.Latin licors se enfoca mas en los licores y Casa Latina se enfoca mas en comidas,café, comida instantanea, jugos instantaneos…
Otra de las companias que esta en el grupo es la camara de comercio que la utilizamos para promover los negocios latinos, companias que quieren establecerse desde alli a aca, y viceversa.

Cuanto tiempo llevais recibiendo estudiantes en practicas?

Llevamos 2 anos acogiendo estudiantes, ya hemos tenido mas o menos unos 7 u 8 grupos, y decidimos recibirlos porque la empresa obtiene un beneficio y es una manera de que nosotros recibamos recursos y ademas les ensenamos a los estudiantes la forma de trabajar y amplios conocimientos para que les sirva cuando vuelvan a su pais.

Mantienes relacion con los estudiantes que han pasado por aquí?
Si, todos los que reponden mis email, es bonito escuchar cuando algo sale bien y si pudiera cambiar algo , cambiaria para poder tener mas contacto porque ademas es otra manera que nos ayuda a nosotros a cambiar nuestro proceso interno.

Could you give us a short introduction to find your company?

Are a group of companies including this GRB INTERNATIONAL service and promote Latino culture here in central Europe and also vice versa, another Latin Licors company is also in charge of logistics and transport of the Latin licores.Casa the company is pushing through sales and marketing for Latino products like Licors servicios.Latin focuses more on spirits and Casa Latina are more focused on food, coffee, instant food, instant juices ...
Another company that is in the group is the chamber of commerce we use to promote Latino businesses, companies who wish to move from there to here, and here to there.

How long have you been receiving students in practice?

We have two years by hosting students, we have had more or less about 7 or 8 groups, and elected to receive because the company makes a profit and is a way for us to receive resources and they also teach students how to work and knowledge to serve them when they return to their country.

Maintains relationships with students who have been here?

Yes, all would reply my email, it's nice to hear when something goes well and if I could change something, to exchange those I will have more contact is another way that helps us to change our internal process.