Five months, 800 working hours and countless chocolate cakes later, I am now back with another installment of my Swedish chronicles. This has been a period of growth in all respects – things I’ve gained include experiences, professional skills, lifelong friends and a few extra kilos over Christmas break – but I will try to not get ahead of myself here.
The “honeymoon” phase I was going through upon arrival was bound to eventually end, much like the warm fall days, giving way to everyday working routines and violent winds. I ended up having a fixed set of tasks (with an eventual “wild card” in the form of drafting a marketing campaign or the like), which included writing travel guides, press releases, editing a tourism news website and curating the corporate Instagram account.
Writing has always been a passion of mine, but it is only now that I can truly grasp the difficulty of urging travelers to visit remote towns with a population of 84 (eighty-four!) and the train station convenience store for a major shopping hot spot. One doesn’t need to try too hard to “inspire” people to go to Tokyo or San Francisco, but how would you go about coming up with 20 things to “Do and See” in Brian Head, Utah? More than once, my personal “Nightlife” recommendation would be to watch some Netflix in your own hotel room, rather than venture outside (the idea didn’t sit well with the head of Quality Control, so extensive research was needed to find alternative suggestions). It all worked out in the end – through tireless googling and executive decisions.
As the end of the year approached, pressure grew to make sure all our 600+ destination guides were up to par, with up-to-date information and inspiring imagery. The Content Department edited away looking anxiously at the ticking clock during most of December, while also not loosing touch with other ongoing projects. By the end of 2015, I had written and/or updated dozens of guides, doubled the corporate Instagram follower count, written countless press releases and even joined the Customer Support team for a few assignments. It’s hard to imagine a scenario where I’d be involved in more projects than I currently am – the experience I’ve gained is so multi-faceted, that whichever career path I now decide to take, the first step on it has already been made by me here in Gothenburg.
One of the things I enjoy most about working here is the people. My international co-workers are some of the nicest, funniest and overall greatest individuals I’ve met, and with the company actively involved in the Erasmus+ program, the intern count remains steadily high. The kitchen is never silent during lunch breaks, and the weekend “program” has included things like one-day cruises, island hopping, trips to Stockholm and Copenhagen, seeing the Northern Lights at a remote Swedish village and the like. Suffice to say that none of us are looking forward to saying goodbye in the coming month, when we all move on to (hopefully) no less exciting future endeavors.
It may be a bit early to write concluding words (I still have a full month of work ahead), but what has been clear to me for a while now is that doing this internship was one of the best decisions of my life so far, and I will tirelessly encourage anyone in doubt to abandon hesitation and try their luck abroad. I now know that the payoff beats pressing deadlines and extreme weather conditions every time.