Came back a few years later to intern with the same company
Matthew Hopkins wanted an abroad experience during his studies at the University of Alberta, and thought a great way this could be achieved was through a co-op term. After learning about the Alberta-Saxony Intercultural Internship Alliance through the U of A’s Co-op office, he applied for a four month internship in 2012.
During his internship at Iproplan Planungsgesellschaft mbH in 2012, Matthew worked on various projects involving designing buildings to be more energy efficient. After his internship was unfortunately cut short, coming back to work in Germany was always in the back of his mind. Matthew had talked with his supervisor before leaving in 2012 and was given the offer to come back and work for them once he had finished his undergraduate degree. After graduating from the University of Alberta in December 2014, Matthew applied to the ASiiA program and came to work with Iproplan Planungsgesellschft mbH again, but this time for eight months.
One of the main reasons Matthew applied for the ASiiA program again was the job opportunity it offered. He found his previous internship at Iproplan Planungsgesellschft mbH with ASiiA very interesting, and the opportunity to work in this field is not widely available in Canada. There are only a couple of Canadian companies that do the same type of projects. Not only this, but this internship allowed him to get firsthand experience with building design and technical programs. With a longer internship period Matthew had the opportunity to work on larger scale projects, and contribute more to the whole process. His time in Saxony has also got Matthew thinking about pursuing a masters degree here in Germany, especially after gaining relevant work experience in the field.
Living in Saxon culture was a great experience. Although the Saxon dialect can be at times hard to understand, everyone’s always friendly. The work place works slightly differently from the typical Canadian office. As an intern in Germany, the focus is more on learning using real world projects, as opposed to the typical Canadian way of becoming another employee. When it’s time to work it’s down to business. Matthew thinks his experiences in Saxony as well as the skills he’s gained while doing his ASiiA internship will be helpful when seeking jobs back home.
Matthew’s tip to future ASiiA interns:
Try to meet Germans. Getting to know fellow internationals is easy and fun, but knowing Germans can make you feel more at home and allow you to experience the culture and local things. Knowing some of the German language can be a huge asset! It is possible to get around not knowing any German, but it can be difficult at times depending on which city you live in.