Little Germany in Russia: the story of my internship at ‘VOLKSWAGEN Group Rus’ by Elizaveta Bronitsyna

Finding a job or a practical training seems much easier than it really is. I guess that every student knows it. When you have to face the ‘world of work’, its endless opportunities, tremendous number of companies and spheres, you feel even more lost and disoriented. What work will my skills be relevant for? Where should I try myself? What should I choose?

I do not want to frighten anyone with such a beginning! I just would like to be realistic and share my feelings so that others, who feel the same way, can realize that they are not the only one who feels so, and it is completely fine. 

What has influenced my choice? I wanted to find a job that would be somehow connected with Germany because I am planning to move there at least for studies, and working experience in a German company, to my mind, would be able to help me in different ways in the future. I was trying to find practical training in Germany, but with coronavirus and lockdown there it was almost impossible. I also attempted to find a position in Finland, but they either were not interesting for me or required Finnish language skills (which I did not have). Hence, my thoughts regarding practical training ‘came back’ to my homeland, Russia. ‘If I find an interesting intern position in a German company where I’ll be able to apply my skills and, ideally, use English and German, I will spend my summer to good use. Moreover, I’ll be able to finally see my family and devote time during summer months to them,’ it seemed to me like a perfect plan. The only thing left was to actually find this job:)

I do not think that the process of searching is really worth sharing because it is just about surfing the Internet, visiting all possible webpages there and sending your CV to different employers. However, it paid off because I found out that there was a possibility to have an internship as a student at ‘VOLKSWAGEN Group Rus’. Fortunately, there was an open intern position at the Labor Relations & Employee Communication department. The requirements were corresponding with my educational/professional background, and I found the very activity of the department rather attractive. The position seemed to match perfectly with all my desires and expectations, so I decided to apply. And I got an answer in a few days and was invited to a Skype interview! In fact, I had two of them: the one with the recruiter and then another one with the very head of the department I was going to work for.

The process of interviewing was both exciting and challenging. I was looking forward to new questions to see what qualities they wanted to test and to gain experience for the future interviews, and at the same time I was a little bit nervous because a person has only one chance to make a first impression. However, I think that I coped with this task well which led me to job offering. When I got the answer, I literally immediately started packing my staff:)

And finally, I got to the point of the very work. I am from Moscow, and the company is located in Kaluga. After 10 days since I arrived back home, I moved to another city (again), and started my internship.

The first two days were devoted to start-up program, where new workers were familiarized with the company, its work, principles, rules, values, etc. and got acquainted with their departments. Labor relations & Employee Communication department became my little family for summer. Everyone was older than me, but we found a common language quickly. It seemed to me everything that was happening is something that has nothing to do with me, it was like in a movie. The notion that I became a tiny part of such a huge company, and I would contribute to its work excited and motivated me a lot.

In terms of knowledge and skills, I cannot say that my tasks were something completely new and unknown for me. But it was not about the tasks, it was about the environment. About my presence there. And about learning and absorbing new experiences. I think understanding of how things work at such big companies, how everything is connected, how challenges are overcome, and many other things are a great starting point for the future career. I had very interesting trainings during the work that expanded my outlook. I had a chance to take part in the organization of some inner events. I practiced my German a lot and had a first discussion with a native speaker there. I really became the part of this little Germany in Russia!

It is difficult to convey all things that this practice gave to me because it ‘enriched’ me in many ways. It was an exciting experience, and neither I nor my colleagues did not want me to leave, but I have JAMK and studies which are also waiting for me for at least 2 more years:) The thing that I have already noticed is that now I perceive topics and issues discussed at the university from another perspective because I look at them form the prism of the real-life professional experience I had.

P.S. In this blog I paid more attention to my own feelings and emotions rather than to work itself because, in my opinion, it is more interesting to know the story behind the scenes and the way a person experienced his/her internship rather than just reading the tasks one did. I hope that this post will be somehow helpful for others. If you read it to the end, then thank you for your interest and time. I wish everyone good luck with finding themselves at the right place at the right time!

Author: Elizaveta Bronitsyna