Wiktor Blaszczyk took part in an Erasmus+ placement in Prague earlier this year, at an organisation called called Recola, a bicycle rental company. We heard from Wiktor about his month-long placement to find out all the benefits it had.
Completing a work placement is a requirement on my Business course. So I thought, why not do one abroad! My tutors had shared the opportunity with me but the desire to travel, meet new people and throw myself into a completely new environment, made me motivate myself to work hard and earn a place to go to Prague for 4 weeks.
I began researching the company that I would be working with beforehand, and discovered that it was looking to expand internationally into European markets. I read up about some of these in advance, and greatly impressed my employers with my insight during my first week on the job!
Getting to see how a business works internally was a great benefit. My area was in sales for the company’s bicycle-renting project, and my main role was in identifying and making international contacts, in order to introduce the project into cities across Europe. I used my initiative to develop a communication guide from the company’s existing documents, suited to the individual countries which I had to interact with. My confidence, inter-personal skills and problem-solving ability were greatly boosted through this experience.
Living away from home in a foreign country in an apartment full of other students, gave me a taste of independence and responsibility, which I would not have had otherwise. Prague is a haven for delicious food, beautiful architecture, museums and general activities, so there is always something to do! The host organisation even organised an evening at an escape room which the whole team enjoyed! Our in-country contact helped us to sort any issues which we might have and would always reply to our messages immediately. He even brought food for us on our first night there when we arrived from the airport, which was much appreciated!
A moment to remember in the local community, was when an elderly Czech gentleman heard me speaking English to some other students on a tram, and turned to greet us warmly. He even stepped off the tram at our stop to point us to a restaurant he recommended, before he boarded again to continue his own journey home.
My efforts throughout the placement earned me the praise of my boss who asked me to continue working with the company once I returned home, and I gladly agreed! I am still carrying out my tasks whilst completing my Business Course at Bath College, and I know this will look great on my CV when I apply for a job after. The placement made me realise that I prefer developing my skills in an actual workplace.
My advice for future participants is to stay focussed on what you are doing and your goals to make the most of the experience. Be flexible and always look for solutions. It was a great experience for me from which I gained a lot of life lessons and skills. Thank you to Erasmus+!