Work-life experience

Through the imove project, our institution, Arbeit und Leben Hamburg, had the opportunity to send a fashion and textile management student to our Italian partner UNISER in Forlì, financed through the EU Leonardo da Vinci programme.

The young woman, Donata, did a three-month placement at the brand management and marketing department of a famous company for luxury furniture and interior design. This was an area Donata did not have any former experience, therefore she was very enthusiastic about the opportunity. She travelled by train from Hamburg to Forlí and wrote an email about her first impressions:

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“It was a fantastic trip! After arriving in Forlì I was picked up by two employees of Uniser and brought to the apartment.

Well, today was my first day, with a visit to the city and setting up my room. I’ll probably begin with the internship next week, which is great, in this way I can concentrate on the language course which is really intense! The weather, as expected, is very very warm already. Nevertheless, it’s a beautiful and strange feeling to be here for the next 3 months!”

Three weeks later, she sent another email:

“Many greetings from Italy! This is now my 2nd week of the internship. I am now doing a week at the sales offices as well as a week in marketing. Then I can decide which area I prefer and where I will spend the rest of the internship. So far, everything seems very nice! It is an incredibly exciting, luxurious business. I get in contact with any type of fabrics and I’m curious how the marketing department in which I am working tomorrow will be.

Italy is really great! I immediately met so many people, and was able to build up a huge circle of acquaintances with many placement students! Also things like the daily espresso, Italian siesta and the sunburn now belong to my life. I enjoy my time here and I’m really happy to get an insight in such a great company! Thank you again!

Cordiali saluti da Forlì, Donata”

And after five weeks of working in Italy she wrote:

“After the second week in the company, I have decided to stay at the marketing department for the rest of my placement. I am currently working with another intern in an incredibly beautiful building that is used by the company as a showroom for the entire furniture inventory. I can also work with the online marketing manager now and then, so I was able to apply different skills from my studies. With the language it is going relatively well. After five weeks in Italy I understand pretty much, whereas speaking is still limited because many people are switching to English when talking to me. Nevertheless I improve my language skills every day!

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The rest of the time abroad also proved to be a great success for Donata. In der final report, she wrote:

“I gained lots of experiences of living and working abroad in the view of how I react with people in new situations and cultures and how I learned from it. So one of the biggest benefits I received from the mobility is that I’m now more self confident with everything. This mobility gave me so much positive feedback of my person and capability that I’m feeling now very brave and powerful looking for the future concerning ideas and plans. I collected so much inspiration during this time that I’m sure that I will be strong enough to start my own business. This is the most valuable thing that I will take with me for my prospective way and life.”

In the meantime, Donata is busy with the final exams for her vocational training and plans to do another placement after finishing – and of course in Italy!

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