My experience with ProfIntern

My program included:

Program: Individual internships
Destination: Russian Federation

March 22, 2018
Carlo Malpezzi

I have been experiencing Russia for quite some time so far; I never concentrated too much about stereotypes since I walked my first steps in Russia; of course I knew some, but in general I do not get affected by them; I actually find them funny; I was quite curious about Russia because I knew is a totally different world; that was actually a stereotype in my mind; well, of course each country is peculiar and unique, but I found myself home since the very beginning. My first impression was extensively confirmed along my whole stay. I experienced a city full of energy and initiatives like Moscow; it is a massively huge capital, compared to which you may feel tiny and small, but you don't; you easily find your place in it.

As for people, I love Russians, probably because I felt loved too, and probably they are like me; I was curious about Russian culture, people and everything around me in Moscow, and so were people to me; they were interested in knowing me, why I was there leaving such a country as Italy, which they consider like Heaven, and why I was that crazy to want to live in such a cold country; well, I would definitely settle down in Moscow honestly; so during those conversations I did not say that to please them :); plus they are very giving and helpful; my first day in town I was alone looking for the metro station, not knowing a single word of Russian, not even спасибо; a Russian guy helped me and walked me, not only to the closest metro entrance, but directly to the platform itself; although we communicated by gestures we accomplished the mission.

I chose ProfIntern after staying in Russia for one year already; I was looking for opportunities to stay in Moscow and keep on both my studies and Russian experience; they provided me with possibilities of having a work experience for a foreigner with very basic knowledge of the language; at the beginning I was skeptic and people around me suggested to check before applying and bind money; I did check and I found very present and helpful people, giving an answer to all my doubts; they introduce you to the company you are supposed to intern with, by being with you even during the interview.

I interned in a Russian IT startup; obviously I found that tech field very cool; my fields of interest when starting were about marketing and event management; I achieved knowledge and experience in using company's marketing software, Hubspot, with certification out of online course; I used it for basic activities of updating information and data; I created a landing page for a new entity of the company; moreover the company usually participates in a lot of industrial conferences and there was the plan to make me attend one of them in Germany; at the end this was not possible unfortunately.

The company was pretty small; very few people, all my age, and, like all Russians, they treated me kindly and openly; overall only 2-3 people at the office spoke English, but that was not obstacle to acquaintance with all of them; I became friends with all of them (when you have only 6 people it is easier to interact with the whole office) even more Russian speakers; I was studying Russian and improving a bit day by day and they helped me with Russian as I helped them with English; being such a small business there was not a team to work on specific tasks and I had to top them off myself; I love team working, even because make things easier, but I guess that working alone and finding solutions by myself made me grow even more.

To conclude I would say that yes, there is one stereotype I would like to break here; In Russia there is very high respect for personal space; that is often translated with: Russians are cold and aloof; well, I guess that they just prioritise the fact that maybe you don't want to be bothered, but they really want to know and experience different cultures; and believe me, just strike them up and they can talk for hours.

Carlo Malpezzi (Italy)
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