Hello! My name Maija Lepistö, and from October 2018 to March 2019 I have been an intern at the Giovani nel Mondo Association; within this article, I try to summarize my experience in these months as preparing an international-scale event, organized by a small-scale association with a team full of passion.
First of all, it was an amazing experience to carry out this 4-day-event with over 800 participants and 50 staff members.
The basis of the successful outcome of the event is to rely on people who give so much of themselves to make the best out of the International Careers Festival.
It was interesting to get to know more and more people who were pulling the logistical strings behind the festival.
The event seemed far away when I started, and even one week before the festival there were still things to be done, but one week seemed long enough to do everything.
My internship started right away. I got my own email address and was asked right away to dive into getting more collaborators and supporters for our event.
When I started working, I found it interesting to see how I worked in a day-to-day job when “always doing the same”, meaning working on a pc and in a virtual world from 10AM to 6PM every day.
But it was not monotone, because the tasks changed a lot during the whole internship.
First it was important to get more sponsors and supporters for our event, so I started to get in touch with universities and other supporters which helped me becoming more demanding and more confident to promote our event.
During the festival, I received some feedback that me having sent out information about our event was a fruitful activity. In fact, some participants told me that they heard about the event by an ad, initiated by me.
The amount and content of my work changed a lot during the six months I was preparing the event from being proactive in contacting collaborators to theoretical and mechanical work to structure the participants.
Additionally, I really enjoyed the small moments of being active at events (promotion events at universities) to spend time with colleagues and to work “on the field”.
I learned to manage multiple tasks, see which ones were really urgent and which ones could be managed later.
Also, I was able to see that my tasks were of the same importance as any other tasks of anyone else. That gave me confidence in what I was doing.
During the preparation phase I was in charge of helping participants with the registration, sending out a bunch of emails, being in contact with the tutors and officials of each project making sure, everyone had all the necessary documents to apply for the visa. But moreover, I also learned something new every day by the participants who had a lot of questions and also concerns. I supported them with information about simple things like the dress code or the weather forecast, but also I prepared different documents and tried to give them support on every possible subject.
Even though I felt well-prepared for the festival that lasted only 4 days, it was nothing like I expected. I did everything where I could help. From finding lost phones, helping lost participants, hosting ambassadors, to sewing on buttons and negotiating with taxi drivers. I met in person many people with whom I have been in touch for several months via email and messages, and it was a huge pleasure on both sides. .
Despite having really busy days during the festival, I managed to make a lot of new friends.
Many people showed me their appreciation of my work for the past months. An important skill that I deepened during the festival was flexibility. Even though we had plans and lists, there were a lot of things that weren’t to be expected and needed to be dealt with on the spot.
Patience is also a big word that I can appreciate more now. In combination with stamina.
In retrospective, I have to say, that a little more concrete time scale would have been helpful to know better how to manage the many tasks or when it was time to finalize the documents that were needed. But in the end, the festival turned out great and me and my colleagues were happy to have spent time in the magical city of Rome! We were already planning on how to prepare the next edition. I have the feeling, that if you become part of the Giovani nel Mondo family, you are in it to stay.