Internship in Iran
Is it worth doing an Internship in a completely foreign country?
It is definitely worth it to do an internship in a country different from ours, but why exactly?
The last topic we deal with in our English class in grade 12 with Ms. Wedy shortly before our Abitur examinations is: Studying and Working in a Globalised World. Since one of us was interested in internships abroad, specifically Iran, we arranged an online video call for Tuesday, the 24th of January, with Malte Mowlavi, who did a 3 months long internship in Iran at the German Iranian Chamber of Industry and Commerce in May. His internship took place before the demonstrations throughout Iran started. He is currently interning with the UN in Thailand. Beforehand, he studied Economics at the University of Cologne. While working in Iran, he researched the German market for Iranian companies that would like to expand. From personal experience, Malte supports visiting foreign countries for new valuable experiences that you probably would not have when staying in your well known environment.
Internship – a great way to get to know a new culture
He told us about his Iranian roots from his father’s side, which is why learning about his second nationality had a significant importance for him. He still has a family who lives in Iran, which is why he didn’t struggle there. The internship in Iran wasn’t the first time he visited the country, as a child he has been there with his family. Finding new friends was never a problem for him, since he already knew a lot of people there but even if that weren’t the case, the friendliness and genuine curiosity of the locals wouldn’t have made it hard for him to fit in. He told us that when he visited a city called „Isfahan“ he had goosebumps when he first saw the city and reminisced about a historical pretty city, big bazaars, good food and artistic handcraft. According to Malte, people in Isfahan were very warm hearted like the tour guide he met in a museum, who recognized his foreign way of dressing. This local was thrilled to teach Malte about his cultural knowledge of his city in a 4 hour long extensive tour of Isfahan. Enthusiastically, he asked him many questions and showed a lot of interest in him. This shows us that a lot of Iranians are quite open towards foreigners so that you will not feel lonely when spending time there.
Moreover, he also felt the hospitable positive atmosphere in his work environment. He reported that his colleagues were very open to him and were also very eager to talk to him. When having a Persian boss the atmosphere was definitely very relaxed. They drank the Persian tea “shay” and ate lunch together. However, he reported the atmosphere being additionally strict when working under a German boss. So internships abroad therefore allow us to perceive and reflect on our own culture and way of working differently. In this way, we learn intercultural sensitivity and skills that we must and should often apply in an increasingly global working world.
An Internship increases your career chances
Although internships are often not paid, one of the biggest benefits you gain after completing an internship is the increase in chance to be accepted for a job – maybe even at the company where the internship was done. In addition, work experience is highly valued by companies and increases the overall chance of landing an interesting position in the labour market after graduation. Malte suggested to intern in countries where the cost of living is lower. Iran and Thailand are recommended in this respect, however of course the current situation in Iran is not favourable for interns. He also told us that he worked student jobs while studying in Cologne and was able to put some of the money aside for the internships.
An Internship abroad broadens your horizons and perspectives
So why not take the opportunity to experience a whole new culture and to get a new perspective of the world? An internship broadens your horizon and perspective. You get work experience, open-mindedness towards new people and you get a step closer to being independent. He also recommended that we always inform ourselves thoroughly about the political and social security situation before starting the internship and to weigh it up for ourselves. Malte does not regret his internship, and we are sure you won’t either.
Lennox and Domi, students of Q2/ grade 12 Gymnasium – Cologne International School