Joshua Wales is a Marketing graduate from the London South Bank University. Josh was a part of the Placement Slovakia team for several months, before he left back to UK to pursue another career opportunities. You can watch and read how he enjoyed his experience in Slovakia in the video and article below.
1, How did your story first begin and why did you decide to take an Erasmus+ internship in Slovakia?
I had just graduated with my degree in Marketing at London Southbank University at age 21 and wanted some international work experience. My university coordinator was Slovak and so she told me all about the offer at Placement Slovakia and it sounded promising and something beneficial to me, so I took the opportunity.
2, Can you tell what responsibilities the company gave you at work?
I edited and uploaded all of the video content for the YouTube channel, uploaded most of the social media posts, replied to all inbound emails, scheduled the interviews and recorded the data onto Excel. I was responsible for making flyer designs on Canva and Photoshop; we printed 400 units of my flyer design to be used at job fairs in different countries across Europe. I also participated in five presentations at five different universities across Slovakia with a fairly large student based audience. I was responsible for talking about my Erasmus+ story to promote the brand.
3, What skills did you improve the most during your traineeship?
I improved my presenting and public speaking skills the most, doing more presentations gave me a platform to use my voice and develop a more effective interactive presenting style.
4, What were your expectations and were they met?
I somewhat foolishly had never visited Slovakia before now so my expectations were not particularly well informed. However, I quickly learnt about the culture and definitely had a valuable experience. Overall, I was expecting to get better equipped in marketing internationally and that has certainly been achieved.
5, Were there any tasks given to you that you had no idea how to complete? If so, how did you solve it?
I didn’t know how to operate the website admin page because I was only used to WordPress sites before coming here. When I needed to add new HTMLs and wasn’t sure how, I consulted my manager and I was able to learn and remember what to do for next time. I also did a simple Google search to find the answer to more minor issues, resolving things very quickly. So now I have learned new skills in other programs such as Joomla, diversifying my knowledge in this field.
6, How did you find out about our programme and how would you evaluate our assistance provided during your period here?
I found the program through my university coordinator who told me about Placement Slovakia. The assistance was really consistent and valuable; it’s always there if you want it.They picked me up from the airport and got me a taxi to the accommodation, we went out on many organised trips and they even offered help when I wasn’t particularly in need, they just asked out of courtesy. So yes the assistance is a pleasant bonus.
7, Do you have any suggestions or improvements to our placement programme?
I was lucky enough to go to Prague on arrival with other trainees and that was a great ice breaker and short holiday. Since then, other trainees have not taken this same opportunity. My suggestion would be to organise more welcome trips to nearby countries if trainees want to participate. I think this would be a lot of fun for the new trainees and help them get to know each other better. For me, it was very memorable visiting Prague when I first started the traineeship and I’m grateful for it.
8, What do you think of the life-style in Slovakia?
It’s a lot different to the United Kingdom because of course we have different histories and our own cultural developments. However, it is still very compatible with my lifestyle in terms of warm people, scenic countryside, hearty food, great beers and nice hospitality.
9, What did you find as the most different from your usual environment, country? Was there any culture shock?
The cost of living in Slovakia is much lower than the United Kingdom. This brought many advantages and allowed me to not let my budget hold me back as much when in Slovakia.
10, What did you like the best here in Slovakia (food, place, cultural aspect, work…whatever you can think of)?
If you come here on holiday, a weekend break will suffice due to the small size of the capital city. There are affordable restaurants, bars, parks and general entertainment. However, if you’re going to stay for a long time i.e. 5 months I would say you get a different experience. You get to learn about the history and true culture because it has been through a lot of changes over the decades. This also expands your understanding of European history in general. I liked learning about the history here a lot.
11, Did you have any work or social difficulties during your stay in Slovakia? If so, how did you solve them?
Only the language barrier but that was to be expected of course. I learned very basic communication in Slovak for everyday shopping and commuting and I also talked to international people to overcome this minor obstacle.
12, 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?
Yes I went above and beyond my travel expectations, from small Slovak towns in the mountains, to numerous large capital cities across central Europe. I returned to Vienna again and again, over four times because it always feels like a breath of fresh air. The vast amount of beautiful museums leaves you with a sense of cultural enrichment.
13, Which moment of your stay in Slovakia has been the most memorable for you?
For me it was having my girlfriend over, we hopped on trains from Bratislava to Budapest and to Vienna which was lovely. We also took flights to other countries during my stay which were very memorable and nice.
14, What are your future plans after finishing the internship?
My future plans are to get a full time position in the United Kingdom as a Marketing Assistant. In the meantime, I am also enjoying my marketing blog and would like to format all the blog posts into one big book.
15, Is there anything you would like to say to students still deciding whether or not to do an internship in Slovakia?
Fully assess your options, do your research, write a personal development plan, keep a notebook containing your research and ideas, pick the option that will best help you in achieving your desired aim. All the best! Oh and I nearly forgot… have fun whilst you’re at it.