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Meet Lieke in Wisconsin!

Meet Lieke in Wisconsin!

Looking for an internship and you like cheese?
Lieke is doing a 5 month internship in Marketing & Communications at a cheese company in Wisconsin. We asked her some questions about this amazing opportunity in the USA.

Why did you choose to go abroad?
I choose to go abroad because I wanted to try something else. Now I have the chance to see something, and in the meantime to learn outside my comfort zone. The decision was easier because I knew someone with a company in America where I could stay.

How did you find your internship?
My (old) neighbor started her own company in America. She always said that we should visit sometime. And then I had to do my internship, with the option of doing it abroad. She immediately agreed on doing my internship at her place.

How do you feel about your internship so far?
It’s amazing. I get to see a lot and experience all these different cultures and places. Meanwhile I am learning in a different working environment what broadened my view on things.

How does the American culture differ from your culture and what has impressed you the most?
Everybody is very welcoming. They greet you with a hug and call you ‘Honey’ the moment they meet you. In the Netherlands the approach is a little bit different. They first want to get to know you a little bit more before they take you in. That is one of the things that impressed me the most, along with the fact that they seem to exaggerate a little bit about everything. ‘Oh my god, I LOVE THIS.’ ‘That is AMAZING.’ ‘We love you’. It’s not a bad thing, but you have to get used to it.

Could you take us through a day? What is your routine?
Depends on if there is a show or demo or not. If I have a demo then I prepare everything the afternoon before. Get all the stuff and information I need to bring ready. In the morning I drive to the location of the demo. This normally is a couple of hours of a drive. At arrival I meet the people at the location and set up my little booth. People stop by to try the sample and ask questions. You have to be polite and a little bit bold at the same time. It’s a nice challenge. I tell them the story of the products or the brand, and sometimes they tell me their story. It is very interesting. In the afternoon I get my stuff together and drive back to my place. If there is no demo then I am working on the office. The company is very close to the place where I stay. I start with a cup of tea and do the emails. After that I work on different little projects. I am currently working on new labels and recipe cards. And then there is my intern assignment from school that I have to work on about the marketing instruments of the company and a report of the export to different countries

What is your housing situation? Do you live in an apartment? Roommates? Housemates?
I live with the family that owns the company. It’s a Dutch family, but all the kids grew up in America. I talk Dutch with the parents, and mostly English with the kids. But they can understand Dutch, and sometimes they use randomly some Dutch words in the house.  We do a lot of stuff together. The family takes me different places, like the movies or local events

Have you made any trips so far? 
I have been to Minneapolis a couple times for demo’s. I also visited Madison and Milwaukee. Last weekend I returned from an event in Atlanta. Chicago and San Francisco are cities with upcoming events that I have to visit. When I am done with my internship I planned a week in Florida, mostly Miami, before I return to home.

What are your future plans?
These trips are the future plans. Other than that I have to finish my assignments and projects that are handed to me.

How has this experience abroad helped you grow both professionally and personally?
For now I have already learned a lot more English, that is a professional and personal growth.
Other than that I have learned a lot about the way people connect with each other. And of course the experience of working in a business environment has taught me a lot.

Why would you recommend others to do their internship/traineeship abroad?
You learn a lot more if you just step out of your comfort zone and get out there! Now you have the chance to learn and experience a different culture at the same time.

If you could express your internship experience in three words, what would these be?
Impressive and educational.