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Sophie Wehnelt

Published on

September 12, 2018


Global HR, Global PR, HR, International PR, internship

Improve your language skills by doing an internship abroad.

The first thing many students want to do after finishing school is to leave home and go out to explore the big world! But, what do you do when you’re suddenly totally alone in a place you don’t know? The possibilities are quite literally endless. As a school leaver myself, I decided to go and do an internship in another country. So now I’m here, working for LEWIS in London for the next three months, exploring London and getting to grips with the world of PR.

Although London is not that far away from home (Munich), it’s still a two-hour flight away and in another time zone. Apart from the incentive to just be away from home and explore, I was interested in doing an internship for two different reasons.

The benefits of interning – from school to the workplace

On one hand, interning offers a great opportunity to get to learn more about the workplace. As a student I could never really imagine what it would be like to work all day long in an office. I’ve very quickly realised that it is really exhausting but, also quite cool to leave the office in the evening, knowing you have achieved something without the pressure of having to do anything at home afterwards.

I have already completed a lot of different tasks. I started off with easier ones like reviewing and saving media clippings and then working on feature lists or media lists. This might not sound that interesting, but it really helps you to get to know the publications and the clients better. It also taught me that every client is different and helped me to understand what is important for each individual client.

One task I have particularly enjoyed is the research-based tasks. You could spend hours on the internet reading articles about a client, an event or whatever it is that you’re looking for. But, trying to get the information you’re looking for as fast as possible is not that easy. I’ve quickly learned new research strategies and this has been really interesting.

Another task I’m really enjoying is pitching. Being in contact with the journalists regularly and seeing a task through from the start to the end, until you’ve got a piece of coverage is definitely amazing. The moment I secured my first piece of coverage was unbelievable and just such a great feeling. It’s as exciting for us as it is for the client!

So far, pitching has been the most stretching task for me during my internship. I have learnt that every pitch should be different and to carefully select which publication to target. For example, I have learnt to write a pitch in three different ways, to ensure the language is appropriate for the target media. This means understanding when to include technical terms and when to leave them out.

Becoming a confident English speaker

On the other hand, interning abroad is really important to me to help improve my language skills. I learned English for 5 years, from the 6th to the 10th grade at a “Gymnasium” in Germany, but for me this is not enough. In a world where the ability to speak English is so incredibly important, I wanted to immerse myself in an environment where I’d be communicating with native speakers. It’s great that I now have three months to improve both my everyday English and my understanding of key business terminology. I’m already becoming a more confident speaker and writer.

The first month is already over and it’s still a lot of fun. I’ve noticed that my tasks are becoming more and more challenging, but that I am also becoming more familiar with everything. Every day it gets easier for me to speak English confidently and at ease.

Coming to England for this internship has been one of the best decisions I have ever made and I’m really enjoying the experience. In the new country and also at LEWIS, I already feel really comfortable. I would recommend working abroad to anyone to develop their skills and gain a new perspective.

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