In October 2018 weBOUND decided to take on its first intern to create a mutually beneficial situation. Our founder Bettina Wittmann always enjoyed her internships in her early years.
Moreover, during interning and working, she learned what good leadership or bad job experience can mean. Therefore, she wanted weBOUND’s team to experience this exciting new challenge and to give back to someone who was really eager to learn new things.
During summer 2019 our weBOUND family extended for the second time for one.
Anja, from Slovenia, joined our team in late June as a Digital Marketing and Partnership Manager for a three-month internship.
This is Anja’s story:
I always felt the need to move abroad, see how’s life outside our little country and push myself out of my comfort zone. Therefore, I decided to apply for an Erasmus+ Traineeship.
Next step? Deciding where I want to go since there are so many interesting countries in Europe that I could choose from. This would be my first time leaving home for a longer period of time. Therefore, I didn’t want to go somewhere completely new – there are still a few European countries I need to tick off my bucket list – too expensive or where English would be a problem.
This led me to decide on Austria! Our neighboring country, which I visited numerous times, especially during the winter holidays.
This is also the country where I learned skiing, and I knew a bit of the language, so in case someone wouldn’t speak English, I would find my way around with my German. I studied it for 7 years, I should know something, right?
I also expected that finding an internship won’t be very hard. Austria is one of the most developed European countries and everyone should speak English, right? Or so I thought.
The hunt for the internship begins…
First things first, I prepared my CV and cover letter and started looking for companies. How should one start the search for companies and/or summer internship? LinkedIn, of course!
This is what I typed in: Marketing intern, Vienna, Austria, and search.
There were countless internship opportunities from multinationals, non-profit organizations, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and start-ups. I wasn’t picky about the size of the company, only that I would get the chance to work in the field I studied.
I started applying, sending out resumes, recommendation and cover letters. However, I quickly realized German is more or less required.
“Oh great,” I thought, “I’ll never get an internship here maybe I should decide on another country or work on my Master thesis instead”. As I said before I studied German for quite a while, but my knowledge is not nearly anywhere near being fluent or knowing the business terms.
Some of the companies contacted me back for an interview, some of them rejected me immediately and quite a lot of them never got back to me.
But then, I saw a job advertisement from weBOUND. The copy was super catchy and promising – something I would like to do, I was a bit worried about the “Techy marketing support” part.
It included working with some programs I wasn’t familiar with before.
I wrote in my application:
“I have been studying Marketing and International Business at the University of Ljubljana. During my studies, I have always been very well aware of the importance of gaining practical experience. Therefore, I have always been a very active student and participated in almost every lecture and was also working beside my studies. I worked as an Assistant to the Sales and Marketing Director and later also as a Shopping Assistant. This led me to gain and improve my problem-solving, communicational and organizational skills, sales, visual merchandising and much more.”
To my excitement, I heard back.
I scheduled a call with Bettina (weBOUND’s CEO) and for me, it just felt like a really good fit!
The call was very relaxed, warm and welcoming. I thought to myself, “It would be really great if we could work together”. Over the weekend I had to do some tasks because nothing worth having comes easy – same with jobs. It was nothing too scary, hard or something I wasn’t familiar with.
A week later I got a positive response. Yay, I got an internship!
I was really happy and proud of myself. For me this meant leaving my dear country, moving abroad, where I knew nobody and living on my own.
My internship began on June 26th, 2019. I still remember feeling a bit anxious the night before. Some of the thoughts running through my head were: “Is this the right decision, can I deliver what is expected, will I make a good impression, will people at work like me, and how will I “survive” the first day”. 😄
These thoughts were also accompanying me on the doorsteps, but I also felt motivated and curious about what was about to happen.
When I walked through the door Bettina welcomed me with a smile and a warm hug. She showed me around the office, and all the programs and tools they are using in their daily operations. I still felt a bit anxious if I can do the tasks.
However, Bettina was very clear with instructions and always answered my questions with ease.
The next day I met the other two core team members Nina and Chelse. They were also both very lovely and welcoming. We set the new action plan for the company and weBOUND’s rebranding.
I really enjoyed the whole process. Bettina encouraged everyone to participate and help with generating ideas.
What is more, everyone was more than happy to participate. We laughed a lot and I really felt like a part of the group. Nina even baked a super delicious cake that she brought to the office.
What more can you wish for on the second day of work?
So, how did the rest of my internship go and what did I do?
I usually came to the office around 9:00 and left around 16:30ish. In the beginning, I was required to do online training in online marketing and partnerships. This prepared me a lot for future tasks.
To be totally honest, in the beginning, I didn’t really know how to tackle the tasks and what to do next. However, all team members were always ready to help. So, I quickly started to work on different projects. Such as copywriting for our new website, creating landing pages – this was probably one of my favorite things to do – finding partners for our digital nomad and remote work meetup, and so much more!
I never felt like just another intern, I was really part of the team! I participated in all team meetings, where we discussed the next steps, all the key aspects of the rebranding process such as logo and website design. What is more, my opinion was always welcomed or even asked for and taken into consideration. Probably not a lot of companies do that, I guess.
What I also really enjoyed was the possibility of remote work.
If I felt a bit under the weather or I wanted to visit my family for a few days it was never a problem. Moreover, if any of us would be gone for a couple of days we always had a team meeting to discuss the things that needed to be done.
What is more, we kept in touch during those days as well. If something wasn’t clear or something else popped up, everyone was ready to jump in and help. As they say: communication is key.
And in the future…?
After a short three months, I can say with certainty doing an internship abroad was one of the best experiences I have ever had. I truly believe I grew as a young professional and a person.
I learned so many things I didn’t know before. For example, how to build landing pages, writing copy, help with event organization or cold calling. Of course, I can’t take all the credit (didn’t even intend to) – I couldn’t do it with the help of the weBOUND team Bettina, Nina and Chelse.
Because we enjoyed working together so much, we decided to prolong the internship for another 3 months. In my case, that means supporting the team from Copenhagen, as my boyfriend and I recently relocated there. Another treat when you work for a remote company.
And I can’t wait to tackle future challenges.
Thank you weBOUND for this opportunity! For anyone else who is dwelling on the possibility of working abroad, just grab it and go for it, even if it’s just for a few months. 😎
Until next time,
When networking wizard Bettina is not working on the next big idea, then she is focusing on how to constantly improve workflows, and systemizing the “stuff that is not so much fun but needs to be done”. She believes in giving and that being kind gets you a long way.
You might spot her as a keynote speaker, a guest lecturer at universities, or a mentor at StartupLive or Greenstart by Climate and Energy Fonds Austria.
Bettina describes herself as a foodie, travel addict, and her team sees her as a true leader, who always encourages everyone she is working with.