I left Belgium three months ago, ready for a new adventure in another European capital: Berlin. I was lucky to find an internship at the Berlin start-up iversity. When I saw the job opening online it immediately got my attention: I liked the concept, I liked their style and I liked the idea that education can reach people all over the world. I couldn’t have been happier when they offered me an internship, and to be honest: my optimistic expectations have been more than satisfied.
From Belgium to Berlin
Today, I can already look back at my experience at iversity, and once you can look back at it, it means it’s over. It was my first real professional experience and I’m happy that I could start it here. I will never forget these great people, the wonderful atmosphere at the company and all the things that I learned at my time being there.
I started my first day a bit nervous: accompanied by my best friend Google Maps, I learned how to get around with the U-Bahn in Berlin and arrived safely at a little town called Bernau bei Berlin. Although the first days were quite overwhelming: with a lot of new faces, new concepts and impressions, my colleagues were very welcoming and friendly and I quickly got to know the people behind these faces, the way of working at the office and the company itself. I remember how pleasantly surprised I was when I learned more about the company that I was working for.
Into the MOOC factory
To be honest, my knowledge about online education wasn’t very advanced before I started working here, but who knew I could learn so much in such a short time? The MOOCs, the platform and the ideas behind it fascinated me so much, and I tried to keep my eyes and ears open all the time to make the best of my six weeks. One thing that was a big help in exploring the whole company was my first task; I was asked to write the ‘Meet the Team- blog series’. In these 4 blog posts, one department of the company (Marketing, Product, Academic Partnerships and Operations) would be highlighted every week and the blog post would be a great opportunity for iversitarians to get to know the team of iversity. In this way, by interviewing my colleagues and learning everything about the MOOC-factory here, I got a realistic view of the organisation, the different departments, their targets and aims, the corporate culture etc.
Writing the blog posts was a real challenge for me: after spending years of writing academic text, I had to make sure this time that people would actually want to read my work. Luckily I got plenty of help from my colleagues, who helped me with the copywriting I had to do. The package of tasks that I was responsible for was very broad, which was a great opportunity to learn about all kinds of different things. I learned how to do research, to analyse the data, to implement campaigns and to design things myself. One of my first tasks, and the one that I enjoyed most, was designing an infographic. They gave me the independency to choose a topic by my own inspiration. I was able to make a mock-up and I could work closely with the designer to give it shape. The result looks amazing and I have to say I’m proud of my own little project. Unfortunately I won’t be there anymore for the launch, but I’m sure I’ll see it passing by somewhere sooner or later.
Another thing that blew my mind was the innovative way of handling things. Put 30 young and creative people together in one company and the result can’t be something else then great. Every time a new problem came up; I was surprised by the solutions and the ideas that everyone had. The meetings and brainstorm sessions were always a nice opportunity to learn, and I realised that although I just got out of school, I still had so much more to learn.
All work, all play
And except for all this hard work I enjoyed the atmosphere in the office most. I always thought working wasn’t really ‘my thing’, that it would be ‘too boring’. It was nothing like that: I had so much fun while working; there was always room for a joke and on Friday we had our famous Frunch, a nice opportunity to talk to everyone. The company found a perfect way of growing, without losing its charm or the vibes that are so typically for a start-up. I think that this way of working makes employees feel more comfortable; they are able to be true to their selves, without too many restrictions. This open organisational culture stimulates the creativity and people get the change to get the most out of their selves. In a company like this, you can feel like home, you feel loyalty and you can be proud of the good results that you’re working for.
Now, at the end of this adventure, I can only look back at my time working there with a smile on my face. Thank you iversity, for helping me grow, for learning me so much and for giving me such a great time. I hope we’ll see each other soon!