“I will remember this experience all my life”: our French intern’s reflections on aspire-igen

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Hi, my name is Camille Bidoux and I’m a French student of Political Science, History and Economics. I was lucky enough to receive a six-week internship at aspire-igen in Bradford this summer. At my University, every student must complete an internship and I decided to do mine in the UK in order to experience a new workplace and improve my English skills. As I have not yet decided what I want to do after completing my studies, I have been working on three different teams at aspire-igen: the Marketing team, the Finance department and aspire-international (don’t ask me which one is best – they are all amazing!). Here’s my diary documenting my time spent with the company, and all of the interesting tasks and projects I’ve been working on.

2 WEEKS WITH MARKETING:

I spent my first week at aspire-igen with Amanda and Rachel in the Marketing department. Amanda gave me a tour of City House, enabling me to meet some of the different departments and staff, and be introduced to the various things that go on within the building such as the Canteen and Aspire2Work programme. Then, I worked on the company website which is in the process of being redesigned. I helped to save all the content from the existing website which will be transferred to new one once I have left. On Wednesday, Rachel took me with her to participate in one of the Leeds Manufacturing Week events. She also took me to visit where the courses for construction and motor vehicle maintenance take place. During this visit, I was able to see another part of aspire-igen and the practical work this company does. My first week was really great and I’m looking forward to spending more time with this team during the last week of my internship.

2 WEEKS WITH FINANCE:

My two weeks with Finance were really rewarding – I learned a lot! I had many tasks to complete and it was really great to feel that I was of use. Kevin, Charlotte and Karen showed me respectively what their jobs involve. They explained to me how to use the program which stores financial information relating to the company. I helped Charlotte to manage the petty cash and put it into the sales ledger. I also assisted Karen by inputting invoices and credit notes into the purchase ledger. I helped Kevin in making sure that the accounts were balanced and that every amount going in and out of the bank was correct. It was a great experience and the team was really nice to me.

2 WEEKS WITH ASPIRE-INTERNATIONAL:

My first day with aspire-international was absolutely amazing. I was shown some of the projects that the international team is working on and we talked a lot about the impact Brexit will possibly have on them. It’s during this conversation that Michael (their Project Officer) came up with a brilliant idea: I should give my point of view as a French citizen about Brexit, especially how it’s impacting education, and included this within their monthly Euroguidance Brexit Briefing. As a Politics student, it played to my interests really well. I did a lot of research and even called the Director of International Exchanges at my University to hear first-hand how universities are dealing with Brexit. I was really proud of the result and greatly enjoyed working on this task. I completed a similar task during my second week but this time, I studied how the relationship between Canada and the UK will be impacted by Brexit. It’s also during this last week that I completed my diary and created this blog post!

OUTSIDE WORK:

Of course, my six weeks here weren’t just about work. I’ve done a lot of things during my free time but two of them surpass all others. First of all, I went to London for four days. It was fabulous. I really enjoyed discovering the city and visiting almost all the famous monuments. I completely fell in love with Notting Hill and its lovely colourful houses. I was finally able to see Tower Bridge and I was surprised by a beautiful and unique street in Camden Town. It was a perfect weekend. My second favourite activity outside work was attending the Dragon Boat Festival in Saltaire with other aspire-igen employees. This day was amazing and really fun. We didn’t win the boat race but we had such a good time and that’s all that mattered. I’m glad Amanda offered me the opportunity to participate in it. I liked discovering a part of the company I never thought would exist.

Dragon boat photo

So, that’s it! This experience has really helped me come closer to deciding on my future career. It was my first time in the UK but most importantly, it was also the first time I went abroad alone. I travelled an entire day from my hometown to West Yorkshire using three different trains and I stayed with a family I didn’t know before coming. However, I wasn’t stressed at all (my mother definitely was, though)! The best thing I learned by completing this internship is that even if you are already independent and self-confident, I think that it’s very important as a student to go abroad alone. It really is a rewarding experience and it pushes you to challenge yourself. And on top of that, you get to meet a lot of people who have so much to teach you. I will remember this experience all my life.

Merci, aspire-igen!

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