Jason Cowley, a Business learner from SGS College, went on a 3-week Erasmus+ placement to Prague in Spring 2019 along with 19 other learners from his class. Jason will be going to University in September to study Business Management & Marketing.
I applied for the Erasmus+ placement because I wanted to learn more about my chosen career path and about myself as a person. I also wanted to understand what day-to-day life was like in an office abroad and wanted to see their working life compared to us in the UK. I could see from the outset that this would definitely benefit my future. I was encouraged by my tutors and my parents, but also encouraged myself to go as I wanted to get out of my comfort zone. I prepared myself by taking an online language course and by learning how to be independent (such as cooking etc.). I also researched the business that I would be working for as I wanted to get as much background information as possible about the business.
My work experience placement was at a company called Live Sweaters, a business that sell Merino Wool sweatshirts and have also expanded into the golf market. The owner (Michal) wanted to take his business to the UK and asked me to carry out market research, coming up with a marketing plans and strategy and conducting research such as to who his completion would be in the UK. My work placement was fantastic as everyone was friendly. If I needed help I was not scared to approach my superiors and ask them any questions. The working life was brilliant too as they are all like a little family and treated me like part of it too by inviting me to the works BBQ.
The biggest learning experience I took away from this is that I want to work harder towards my goals and wanted to be able to learn more about myself. It was also being able to compose myself when given a responsible task and to be able to follow it out to make a real- life impact on the business.
I feel that my international internship will help me out professionally in the future as it had taught me a good life lesson and has also taught me how to do my future job. It has also taught me how to be mature as I feel that I matured massively from this whole experience. My favourite thing about the Prague was how easy it was to get around with good transport links. I really liked the whole culture and especially the many of good destinations you can go to and see. It was a very cheap place and when I came back to the UK and go to a pub I feel like I have been ripped off! The food was amazing too as I tried a lot of Czech food which allowed me to broaden my horizons and to try new things.
Next year I will be going to university to study business management with marketing. My advice for future participants is to embrace anything that comes to you and don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone. As this was the longest time I have ever been away from my parents it allowed me to learn a lot about myself as a person. Another piece of advice was that make sure you do everything you want to whilst out there as this really is a very good life experience.
Having this kind of work experience behind me and being able to put this on my CV gives me the edge when applying for a job.