My experience with ProfIntern

Program: Individual internships

15 декабря, 2018

I am almost a graduate in the career of nutrition and dietetics so I was looking for a place where I could practice and apply my knowledge in a professional way; I picked Moscow because of a family opportunity. I didn´t choose ProfIntern, ProfIntern chose me… I was about to give up in the look for an internship company in Russia when I clicked accidentally on their webpage link. You can call it coincidence but I ended up submitting my application as quickly as possible and asking Anna as many questions as I could regardless of the time change (there is an 8-hour difference between Russia and Ecuador).

ProfIntern showed such concern towards my needs and specific likes that it wasn´t hard to take the next step. I was never alone and they were always there to help me; whether it was paperwork or silly questions like the typical “what if my Russian level is subzero?” Well, now I am happy to say I am finishing my internship with a lot of experience in my career field, new friends, a huge cultural exchange and basic Russian! I´d totally recommend it to anyone wishing to explore Russia and the marvels inside of it.

My internship was connected to the field of health and nutrition; I was placed in a company that developed a health app for smartphones. This app measures levels of stress and productivity from your heart rate variability and gives you recommendations to improve your overall health. I got the opportunity to apply my knowledge of nutrition into specific tasks such as:

Investigation and research of nutrition and health data correlation.
Nutritional assessment based on specific dietary and user data.
Spanish translations for the App store and Play store description.
I liked the fact that I had to step out of my comfort zone a bit because I didn´t have much experience in the investigation field… There was a lot of reading and I had to keep myself updated with many scientific articles. The interesting thing was that I had to download the app for myself in order to get familiarized with it and the job I had to do…by doing this I discovered a lot about myself. So I didn´t just learn about nutrition and health but about how my own body copes with stress and manages energy levels. As a nutritionist, it´s important that what you recommend is something that you would try for yourself or have tried… “Practice what you preach”; now I feel like I can give better advice to patients having learned more about myself.

I totally loved the experience, including the times I felt a bit under pressure or at the edge of closing the computer and say: “I´m done!”… Because that is part of every job and is what makes it interesting. There is a famous quote from Goethe that states “Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do”. I think this is exactly what internships are all about, getting an inside look into what awaits for you out there. Scary? You bet! Worth it? Every second of it!

I am really satisfied with the experience I gained from this internship, especially with the level of commitment and professionalism I witnessed during my stay. The team is composed of people from different careers, the weakness of one is the strength of another…also the team is pretty small and the app is gaining recognition and improving so they all need to give a 100%. At first I didn´t understand how could they not pass out from overwork load! I was in charge of investigation and research in the nutrition and health area of the application; I also got the chance to use my native language as an advantage and help with some Spanish translations.

The internship program not only gave me a chance to get immersed in my professional field but also to meet people working towards a common goal. Unfortunately, I didn´t get the chance to meet all the team since they are spread all over the country; but I did meet 2 important team members that made me feel as comfortable as possible and where always willing to take my Russian experience to the furthest. And this takes me to the “life in Russia part”! The question here is what can I NOT say about Russia?

My internship took place in Moscow, one of the most intriguing and historical capitals of the world… since I arrived, Moscow has taken my breath away and now that I´m at the edge of finishing this chapter, it still does. Everyone has stereotypes about Russia, even those who think they don´t…they do! It is inevitable because as a foreigner you relate this country to cold people, cold weather, cold language and basically everything that gives you the chills. It´s ok, don´t worry because the city itself will break through all those prejudices and you´ll end up taking a plane back home with a whole different perspective! Despite the cold weather during winter, you will find out how warm people are and how welcoming they can be if you give them the chance and get to know them. I got the full Russian package: food, people, snow, architecture, transport service…you can´t get enough of it!

My favourite part was the architecture and the subway; the whole city is a museum and all metro stations have an incredible design… you can find history traces anywhere you go. Also, how can I leave Russia without saying something about its winter…I could sum up winter in Moscow in one phrase: “a sugar-coated fairytale town”; because it literally looks like a place taken from a story book (it´s worth the cold). When you arrive and pass through migratory service in the airport in order to get your passport checked you will definitely feel scared because in fact, you are entering a whole new world where language is a huge barrier and everything moves so fast. This is just your first encounter so don´t worry because the country is waiting for you…Russia wants to mesmerise you, so let yourself be mesmerised.

Andrea Soledad Lanas Morales (Ecuador)
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