Commercialists from Croatia on Practice in Italy
In January 2020, when life and business activities were still unaffected by the coronavirus outbreak, a group of 15 students and two accompanying teachers from a Croatian high school spent 3 weeks in Milan, Italy within the framework of an Erasmus+ project.
Bjelovar’s Secondary School of Commerce and Trade educates and prepares students for professions connected with economy, commerce and trade. With its Erasmus+ project “Challenges of Commercialists from Croatia on Practice in Italy”, shortened to “3C on Practice in Italy”, fifteen students were given an opportunity to work in selected companies in Milan. The objective of the project was to enhance the students’ skills of handling work in an international environment and to provide an insight into the Italian business environment and culture. As a junior student, I was one of the chosen ones to experience what it is like to work in Milan, Italy’s second biggest city .
Getting to know my way around
On my first day I woke up early enough to get read and leave for work on time. I was accomodated in a hostel and had to catch a bus and subway train to my work place. When I got on the bus I was really nervous since I was going alone and I was scared that I would get off at the wrong station. Luckily, I survived the trip and headed down to the subway. The subway was the scariest experience since it had a lot of train lines and it was very loud and confusing, so I was scared that I would board the wrong train. I got on the train and I travelled for around six to eight stops to my destination, and then I took a 10-minute walk to my company.
I was placed in a small company called “Fortune International”. Their work is based on the transport of goods by ship, plane, truck and train. When I arrived, I was greeted by my co-workers and they gave me a cup of coffee to start my day. I met my colleagues and my mentor showed me my workplace. We talked in English so we didn’t have problems in communicating. Surprisingly, there was also a dog called Boris in the office but he was very scared of me since I was new to him!
My mentor introduced me to their computer program “OneWay” which I used in most of my work to update their shipping information. During our break, one of my colleagues asked me if I wanted to go to the restaurant with her and I obviously said yes. Every day I tried different food like pizzas, pastas and I even tried Hawaiian Poke. I really had a blast trying new things to eat every day.
I learned about new documents such as “Bill Of Landing”, “Truck Bill” and such. I found the work they gave me to be interesting and I tried to carry it out the best I could. I believe that my mentor was satisfied with my performance because at the end of my three-week-practice she assessed my work with top marks. After work my friends and I sometimes went to the city to have something to drink and eat before we went back to the hostel, and when we came back, we would keep our internship journals, talk, play games and get ready for the next day.
Sightseeing in Milan
At weekends we had various activities. We mostly went to explore the city with our teachers. We saw Milan’s famous San Siro soccer stadium, and visited a lot of museums and galleries such as the Pinacoteca di Brera. We also saw the more modern part of the city, where we got to see the famous Bosco Verticale apartments. We also saw the Duomo Cathedral, La Scala Opera House, Naviglio Grande canal, Sforza Castle, Leonardo da Vinci Museum, but my favourite building was the Galleria Vitorrio Emanuele II.
The Galleria Vitorrio Emanuele II is the oldest shopping centre in Italy. The Galleria got its name from the first King of Italy, Vitorrio Emanuele II. The whole building was being constructed for 12 years, from 1865 to 1877. The Galleria provides fantastic experience for shoppers since it houses some of the biggest fashion houses, such as Gucci, Prada, Versace etc. It also has some amazing restaurants and beautiful hotels.
3C practice – a priceless experience
This three-week Erasmus+ mobility provided me with an opportunity to perfect my English speaking skills, learn some Italian, become more confident and learn to manage my time and work better. It gave me more motivation and a better chance of finding work outside my country and has even inspired me to go on other Erasmus+ projects in the future. I recommend that everyone who is interested apply because this was one of the best experiences in my life so far.
Written by Ivan Šešić , 3rd grade (junior) student at Bjelovar’s Secondary School of Commerce and Trade