Internship in the Netherlands

Good morning, people! As I woke up with a tremendous excitement of T.G.I.F (Thank God It's Friday) this morning, plus I have plenty of time on my hands to let my fingers type on my phone on my way to work, I think I will share my overflowing energy with you through a post about internship in Holland. Curious? Let's find out!

Posted by at Nov 25, 2016 09:10 AM

I arrived in Holland with zero working experience. And by zero, I mean literally nothing! After knowing that it was compulsory for me to do an internship as a part of my study program, of course it sent chills down my spine! Seeing my other classmates who have had some professional working adventures before, with some ‘previous job’ columns filled in their CVs, I honestly felt very nervous. But, it was 4 years ago. Today, I can gratefully say that I did one internship two years ago at Royal Friesland Campina, one of the biggest dairy companies in Europe, and currently working on my graduation thesis at TNT Express. Now, now… I must admit that getting a job offer is not as easy as drinking a glass of water, but it is not rocket science as well! I must say that, as a foreigner who come from 11,329km away, being able to work in Holland makes me eternally thankful, and here’s why…

  • The Netherlands = the land of promise

Having been labelled as the land of tulips, cheese and windmills for decades, for me the Netherlands is also a land of promise in terms of job offers. I was positively overwhelmed by the number of job offers here. There are so many opportunities for you in this land of windmill! Intern positions from various industry from dairy to nuclear energy, from multinational companies with billions of annual revenues to small start-ups, you are showered by the luxury to choose!

  • Opportunity, Openness, Optimism

As I said few sentences ago, I had zero working experience before. I also didn't even know how to write a decent cover letter to apply for a job position. Thankfully, my school prepared us very well for the application process. I learned how to grow as a professional individual bit-by-bit. Little did I know that I was going to be surprised on my first day of work.

The first company I worked at; Royal Friesland Campina

As you might have heard many times before, Dutch people are very well-known for their openness and directness. Apparently, it is also reflected in their working behaviour. I was really shocked that I could share my ideas and opinions directly to the Vice President of the company during lunch time. I feel really appreciated as an individual. Instead of being told to copy or scan documents and bring some coffee as an intern, I did full-time tasks, being given an opportunity to do a project for the company, being allowed a freedom to be opinionated, and respected equally as a part of the company. Working in that kind of circumstances really triggers me to be optimistic and eager to develop myself more.

  • You don't speak Dutch? It's ok!

I am able to speak a little Dutch. You know... Basic language skill that can help me order food to save me from hunger, doing groceries, making sure my hair isn't being cut more than I wish... Just simple conversation. I was worried that I might find some difficulties in the work place for having a limited Dutch skill. Apparently my anxiety was proven wrong. Now here's another astonishing example; I am currently doing a graduation thesis research for TNT Express, where I am assigned to solve a company's problem. In the department I am working at, we have a tradition of a stand-up meeting every Monday afternoon. In the short gathering, people are giving updates about how they have been progressing the previous week and what are their next targets. Here's the amazing part; ever since I joined the team, they change the tradition of doing stand-up meeting in Dutch to English. Because they really want me to feel accepted and be a part of their team. Again, I feel respected and welcomed.

  • Low power vs. high power

Pursuing my study at Hogeschool, the school prepared us for practical skill and knowledge before jumping into the real working world. That preparation includes a lesson from a wise Dutch professor called Hofstede who found an interesting theory called the power distance. When a country is classified as low power, it means that they have a small gap between the roles in the social hierarchy and equality can be felt in everyday life. Vice-versa for high power country, where you can feel the gap more between someone whose position is higher than you. Now, there's no good or bad in both cases. But for me personally, the fact that the Netherlands has 38 power distance index (considered as low) is really comforting. Especially when it comes to the circumstances at schools and offices. In classroom, I can be as pro-active as I want, engage in discussions and voicing my opinions. Behind office doors, my ideas are valued, I am welcomed like a family member, and I have an abundant opportunity to develop myself.

All in all, now that I have had some working experiences in my backpack, I have built my network here and it is like opening doors of opportunities! When I decided to study in Holland, it didn't even cross my mind that the studying experience here comes with a whole package of such huge career opportunity as well!

Have you had any internship experiences in Holland? I would love to hear it also, so share your story and comment down below! Or are you curious about finding out more about internship in the Netherlands? Stay tuned for my next blog post because I am going to give you tips and tricks for finding an internship position in Holland!

Posted by at Nov 25, 2016 09:10 AM