Interview with African Agenda’s outgoing Dutch interns
For the past 7 months African Agenda has had two Dutch interns with us, Charlotte Vrins (CV) and Monsie van Diemen (MvD). It has been great having them on our team! As this is their last week with us, we asked them a few farewell questions:
Tell us a bit about you
(CV) My name is Charlotte, 23 years old. I live in a small village in the south of the Netherlands called Oisterwijk. My study is called International Leisure Management and I study this at the NHTV ”Nationale Hogeschool van Toerisme en Verkeer”. This study is taking 4 years and during the 3rd year we have to do a 30 week internship at a company abroad.
Next to my study I like to travel, go on holidays, ski, play hockey and go to parties and festivals with friends.
(MvD) My name is Monsie van Diemen. I am 20 years old and I study International Leisure Management at the NHTV University of Applied sciences in Breda, the Netherlands. This study program mainly focuses on marketing, accounting, concept development and project management within the leisure sector. During the third year of my bachelor program I have to do an internship abroad. African Agenda suited me as a company and fitted within my study program.
I enjoy spending time with my friends and having a social life. I work as a waitress in Holland and enjoy visiting big events and festivals. I also like writing, sports and reading books.
Why did you choose African Agenda for your internship?
(CV) I chose African Agenda first of all because I really wanted to go to Cape Town. I have some family living here and I knew the city and surroundings already a little bit because I have been here before a few times. And when people asked me where I wanted to spend 8 months apart from the Netherlands, Cape Town was the first place which came into mind. Next to the place of the internship, I wanted to do an internship in the event industry. I wanted to experience in real life how this industry worked because I am very interested in working in it later on in my future. I also liked it that African Agenda is a ‘small’ company and you can work closely together with all colleagues.
(MvD) While searching for an internship I found African Agenda within the database of NHTV. I knew that Caroline Tjebbes did an internship for African Agenda before, and she told me she had a lot of fun and learnt a lot from African Agenda. And after visiting the website of African Agenda I got even more enthusiastic! Being part of the conferences and events as an assistant conference coordinator in the city of Cape Town sounded like a dream to me. After making contact with Keith Burton, the internship sounded very promising. So I decided to pack my bags and leave for 8 months to Cape Town to do my internship within the company of African Agenda.
What aspects of conference organisation were you involved in during your internship at African Agenda?
(CV) I saw a lot of different aspects of conference organisation: programme, marketing, research, exhibition management, on-site management etc.
(MvD) I completed tasks as a program assistant at the office and onsite for all the conference that were organized during the time period I did my internship within African Agenda. I enjoyed working as program assistant together with Kristen Tremeer and learned a lot from this experience. The areas I worked on included: database management / administrative work, research for potential / future conferences, name badges, logistical management, and program management.
Explain what you are doing your school project on in 2 – 3 sentences.
(CV) During our internship we also have to fulfil different school projects. We had to start with a Placement Plan in where we explain what we are going to do and how we are planning on doing that. We also have to write interim reports after 10 and 20 weeks to show what we did, how we feel and how we are going to continue. Next to that, we have to create a professional product. In my case this is a Marketing Plan on the Attractions Africa 2015 conference. And lastly, we have to write a Placement Report: an evaluation on the whole internship.
(MvD) I am researching the current satisfaction level of delegates who attended the Actuarial Society 2014 Convention and Attractions Africa 2014 in relation to interaction and connection possibilities. I will provide African Agenda with improvement recommendations concerning this topic in order to give them the opportunity to enrich the experience and extent the satisfaction level of delegates in the future.
- IFAC 2014 Congress: This was our first conference. I liked the responsibilities we got during the conference and all the conference side events, like the dinner in Greenpoint Park etc.
- Experiencing working in a South African company and seeing the differences it has with working in a Dutch company. It took me some time to adapt but I like the working atmosphere in the office.
- Learning about the industry, seeing what it is all about and actually executing what you have learned during the conferences.
- Working onsite when the actual conferences took place.
- Handing out awards for the IFAC 2014 Congress in front of 2000 delegates.
- Being part for a professional company (African Agenda), for the first time.
And three highlights of your time in South Africa?
- I went on a road trip to Namibia with 7 other friends I met in Cape Town. We went canoeing on the Orange River, visited Keetmanshoop, Fish River Canyon etc. Next to all the nice things we saw along the way, the perfect experience of a road trip and the group atmosphere, this was probably the best 10 days in South Africa so far.
- Bungee jumping / Garden Route: together with 3 other friends we went to do the Garden Route for 4 days and we made a stop at the Tsitsikamma Nature Park to go to the Bloukrans Bungee Jump. It was not my plan to actually do it but I did it after all and it was a once in a lifetime experience.
- All the people I met during my time in South Africa. We stayed at the Best Western Suites Hotel, which is a hotel close to the city centre of Cape Town. A lot of students (especially Dutch students) live there for a few months during their internship or volunteering work in Cape Town. I met a lot of people who I am sure will be friends forever, and I am already looking forward to see them again back in the Netherlands.
- Meeting new friends, other international students and my current boyfriend.
- Travelling around South Africa, exploring a new culture, and the sun and good weather (being from Holland!).
- Going camping in a camp reserve and showing my family around in Cape Town.
What advice do you have for future African Agenda interns?
(CV) I would advise you to take a lot of initiative, be active and willing to be involved in the process of the conference organizing. In this way you will get the most out of your internship and learn the most you can.
(MvD) Take initiative and show your own input to the greatest extent possible. Have a conversation after the first couple of weeks with your company supervisor and discuss what you would like to learn during this internship.
Charlotte and Monsie, thank you for you both for your hard work. From all of us at African Agenda, we wish you all the best for the rest of your studies and future adventures! Stay in touch and come visit soon!
From time to time, African Agenda offers unpaid internships to foreign students. Interested in an internship with us? Send your CV and a motivation letter (explaining why you think an internship at African Agenda would be right for you) to email@example.com.
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