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My experience with ProfIntern

Program: Learn Russian and get professional internship in any field

27 декабря, 2016

What is rare is valuable. An internship in Russia is a way to prove to yourself that you are valuable. An internship in Russia is a way to prove to your future employer that you are valuable for his company.
From Belgium, few people are going to Russia to work, few people in western countries really “love” Russia. Be in the few, be valuable. Be in the few and learn to love Russia. It will make you even more open to the world you live in.

I worked for a company that first didn’t know what to do with me. It’s pretty logical; it is just but written “international communication” on my resume, the blurriest act of communication ever.
It was two companies in one: an aero club based on 5 airfields in SPB and Retro club, which provided tours and rent retro-luxury cars.

My company(ies) were absolutely not dealing with foreign customers or the foreign touristic market in general. I thus proposed to my boss to open our activities to the foreign market. The first month of internship has been dedicated to study-market and preparation of multiple marketing materials such as prices offer lists, pictures, presentation documents. When I had been totally aware of the business I was about to deal with, I started to send dozen of e-mails to foreign tour-operators. I then realized that the best target were the DMC-PCO-MICE (destination management companies). They are the real link between the VIP tourists and the activities they are going to do in SPB. I also realized that my targets had to be VIP-Incentive customers, because they usually ask for tailor-made trip.

I was “my own boss” to set up this commercial opening, but I made everything checked with my boss, waiting for his green light before proceeding. I always asked for, and followed his expectations, needs, advices and corrections.

The particularities of this job. Neither my boss nor I, knew how the international touristic business use to work before. So we tried, we learnt, we improvised. But most of all, we were alone in this business, practically no competitors. It was such a feeling of freedom to do business under those circumstances! And most of the time, tour operators, DMCs, luxury hotels, were really glad to hear what we have to offer. Because in SPB, tourism sector is underdeveloped. Hits are working well (cruises, hermitage, Peterhof), but once you have more time, envy and money, there is definitely more to do in Russia. This thought helped me all along this internship. For the high season, my company will certainly have a lot of requests from abroad.

Guillaume François (Belgium)
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