Antonio from Croatia spent 7 months in Bratislava doing his traineeship as a Business Support Coordinator. According to his own words, he learned a lot of new things and met amazing people that have raised the bar when it comes to future co-workers. We are happy Antonio had a wonderful time in Slovakia and below you can read the whole interview he provided us.
1. How did your story first begin and why did you decide to take an Erasmus+ internship in Slovakia?
In February 2018, I had finished with my first Erasmus+ experience in Poland and I immediately knew that I wanted to do another Erasmus. I applied for the grant and slowly started searching for internships and a company that is willing to take me as an intern. In the meantime, I found Placement Slovakia that offered me help and interesting placement opportunities that had put Slovakia on the top place on my list of countries for Erasmus. I have decided to take an internship in Slovakia and Bratislava became I called home for the past 7 months!
2. Can you tell what responsibilities the company gave you at work?
My position was Business Support Coordinator for Slovak company which operates the number one yacht booking site. Some of my responsibilities were daily B2B communication with partners worldwide, acquisition of new partners, setting-up and updating partner profiles in the company’s internal system and data and market analysis for the optimisation of partners portfolio, maximising revenue and growth. My responsibilities were also related to customer support and providing help to VIP customers during the booking processes in English, Croatian and other languages of Western Balkans.
3. What skills did you improve the most during your traineeship?
During my traineeship, I have definitely improved my communication and sales skills. I have developed some knowledge in the strategic planning and managing small groups of people since I was also in charge of onboarding new team members. I would like to point out that I got an insight of how an online business works and how to contribute and create something completely new.
4. What were your expectations and were they met?
Before coming to Slovakia and the company of my traineeship I did not have any expectations I was just hoping to learn something new and to be surrounded by interesting people. In the end, it turned out to be better than I could ever imagine. I have learned a lot of new things and meet amazing people that have raised the bar when it comes to future co-workers. From the beginning I was accepted and treated in the company as a full-time and equal colleague. What I really liked is that I have had constant support from all colleagues and mentor, and I could ask anyone anytime for any sort of a help. Big plus in the organisation is an internal learning environment where everyone constantly shares knowledge, tips and support to each other.
5. Were there any tasks given to you that you had no idea how to complete? If so, how did you solve it?
I had many challenging tasks where there were no ways how to complete it according to some rules, but the only way was to use a creative approach and uniqueness in solving them. From this tasks I have learnt the most, because I had to challenge my limits and to learn how to apply common sense to get the work done.
6. How did you find out about our programme and how would you evaluate our assistance provided during your period here?
I have found Placement Slovakia through the Erasmus Intern web site for bringing together internship providers and students seeking an internship opportunity abroad. During my application period and right after I got accepted for my traineeship, Placement Slovakia was very helpful. They have provided me great assistance before and during my traineeship and I am really thankful for that.
7. What do you think of the life-style in Slovakia?
Slovakia and Slovak people are really similar to Croatia and Croats. I can say that during my whole stay I felt like at home with a just one tiny difference of language that is at the same time similar, but also a bit different from my native. One difference that I would like to mention are actually people. When you meet someone from Slovakia for the first time, they might seem "colder", but when you meet them better and more personally, they become warm and nice!
8. What did you like the best here in Slovakia?
I really like Bratislava and Slovakia even though I did not explore it fully and as much as I wanted! Bratislava has its own charm and it is definitely one of the places where I had a chance to live. My favourite place in Bratislava is a Green promenade in front of Eurovea, because area and cafes really remind me of the promenade in my home city. My favourite Slovak dish are Halušky!
9. Did you have enough time to travel and explore Slovakia and neighbouring countries? Which places did you visit and what left the biggest impact on you?
Unfortunately, I did not explore more of Slovakia besides its capital, but I have visited Prague and Vienna. I really liked Prague.
10. Which moment of your stay in Slovakia has been the most memorable for you?
There were many pleasant parts of my Erasmus experience in Slovakia, but I would like to point one of the most memorable that happened recently and it was related to the celebration of my birthday. I am really thankful for having my colleagues in my life, because they made that day amazing and special even though I am away from home and away from family and friends.
11. What are your future plans after finishing the internship?
After the traineeship my plan is to focus on my thesis and finishing my Master studies. And in the upcoming period I am looking forward to my trips and new experiences in the USA and Australia.
12. Is there anything you would like to say to students still deciding whether or not to do an internship in Slovakia?
I would definitely suggest everyone who is thinking about doing an internship somewhere abroad to leave the comfort zone and experience something new with Erasmus+ programme. Internship in Slovakia will be a big plus for your CV and future career, and who knows maybe you will stay in Slovakia!