Jessica Pillinger - 2016 Program Participant

What inspired you to go abroad?

"If we were meant to stay in one place, we would have roots instead of feet." I think this sentence describes my reason for going abroad in a really accurate way. There are so many beautiful places in the world, so why just live in one of them? When you are young and free you should appreciate the possibility of going abroad and seeing differents countries, new cultures, and new people!

Why did you choose Liden & Denz?

Due to my studies at my university, I had to complete an internship related to the focus of my studies, and to my chosen foreign language - Russian. In the third semester, I decided to choose marketing as a focus. Therefore I wanted to gain work experience in a marketing department of a company in Russia. A colleague told me about Liden and Denz and I was really amazed. So I did not hesitate to apply for an internship.

The Gulf of Finland, Russia
Enjoying the atmosphere at the Gulf of Finland.

What was your favorite part about Russia?

The beautiful places I have seen and the awesome people I got to know. I think this is one of the most special things when going abroad, there are so many people you get to know from different countries!

What made your experience abroad unique?

There are lots of things which made my experience unique. But I think it is mainly the country. Russia is not a typical country for a stay abroad in my opinion. This fact makes me really proud, especially because Saint Petersburg is such a beautiful city!

How did local staff support you throughout your program?

My local staff put a lot of effort into supporting me. We had some meetings, and my leader often came to me and asked me if everything was okay, or if I had any questions. I always felt appreciated and welcomed.

What's one thing you wish you would have done differently?

I think I have enjoyed my time here in a very efficient way! The only thing I would have done differently is maybe my mindset. At the beginning, I was a bit scared of the new challenges in a foreign country. But there were no problematic situations and therefore it is unnecessary to worry in advance!

Describe a typical day in the life of your program.

Waking up and having breakfast, going to the language course in the morning, having lunch break and after that, working as an intern! After work, I often went to the gym or met some of the people from my course at a nice restaurant or café.

What did you enjoy doing in your free time?

I really enjoyed discovering Saint Petersburg's hidden places and hanging out with the people of my course. Due to my passion for taking photos, I captured almost every moment with my camera.

What was your accommodation like? What did you like best about it?

I shared an awesome apartment with a fellow student. The location was really great, because it was situated on Nevsky Prospekt, in the center of Saint Petersburg! The interior was pretty and comfortable, and there was far enough space for us. So, really nothing to complain about!

What is one thing every participant should know before participating in your program?

I would like to point out that an internship at Liden & Denz offers a casual working atmosphere, and everyone is willing to help you and to support you. I really appreciated that!

Neva River in St. Petersburg, Russia
The beautiful Newa River

Now that you're home, how has your program abroad impacted your life?

I think my time abroad has impacted my life in various ways. I believe that I am more open-minded and that I also appreciate things in a more accurate way. In addition, I collected a lot of beautiful memories and got to know great people. It was simply a priceless experience!

What was the hardest part about doing an internship abroad?

Well, I think the hardest part in general was the beginning. A new living situation, a new city, new people, and of course a new employer. It takes a little time to calm down and to adjust to it.

What surprised you most about St. Petersburg?

I think the biggest surprise, which was positive of course, was the fact that the city has a kind of European touch. I also heard people saying that St. Petersburg is like the Russian Venice. Since the very beginning, I really liked the city!

How difficult was it to communicate with locals?

Of course, in the beginning it was difficult. But I must say, there was no situation where I felt completely lost. Lots of people in St. Petersburg do have English skills, which has helped me in some situations. But after some time it gets better and you feel more and more comfortable talking with people in their local language.

If you could intern abroad again, where would you go?

That's a hard question. But I think I would also like to improve my English skills. So, Australia would therefore be my dream destination.

What do you feel the biggest benefit of doing an internship abroad is?

There are lots of benefits. Improving your language skills, getting to know new people, getting to know new cultures, and seeing a lot of new places are the main benefits. In addition, you gain work experience in a new working environment. I think this fact is really important, and it definitely will help you for your future professional life!

Do you have any packing tips for individuals headed to St. Petersburg?

Yes, warm clothes! You really must not underestimate the Russian climate.

Would you recommend Liden & Denz to others? Why?

Yes, I would definitely recommend this program provider! Liden & Denz offers great internships and language courses. 

Improving your Russian language skills and gaining working experience at the same time is highly valuable.