Intern Blog: "I have been able to work with the best team ever"

This blog was written by Stijn Dirckx, our most recent Belgian intern who has been working with ACOSVO over the past three months. He shares his experience being in Edinburgh for the first time, working in the third sector and explains how seeking discomfort can be beneficial. 

I have always dreamt of doing an internship abroad and I’m so happy ACOSVO gave me this unique opportunity. My English teacher studied in Edinburgh and he had already told me a lot about this beautiful city, and ACOSVO. That’s one of the reasons I applied for this internship but I’m also interested in the third sector. I stayed in a flat at Gardner’s Crescent where I had a great room. The location was perfect because I was only ten minutes away from Haymarket. Most of the time, I walked to the office because I just like walking but I could easily take the tram to York Place when it was pouring rain. In the beginning I was quite nervous and I didn’t know what to expect. I hadn’t much experience with internships, let alone in Scotland! But from the first time I walked into the office, everyone was very kind to me and made me feel welcome. I immediately felt a part of the amazing team ACOSVO are.

I had a variety of tasks and I never had a boring day. I made new TOIL sheets for my colleagues and helped with the organisation’s social media engagement. There was also enough opportunity to improve my design skills. I made a new, more visual brag card and an events infographic for 2018-2019. I was also able to show my Excel skills. I was asked to make some membership charts which are now used frequently. I learnt a lot about IT too. Now I know how to work with Salesforce and Airtable. Two amazing tools that made me better at managing data. This will certainly help me in my future career. I was also able to get creative by making a membership services and benefits video in Biteable, another great tool I could work with. Sometimes my work involved cutting and laminating, which I enjoyed a lot and considered as a break. I also got the opportunity to attend The Gathering in Glasgow and the ACOSVO Members Event. I also attended a reception in the Scottish Parliament where I saw the First Minister of Scotland.

Of course I didn’t have to work the whole time. I also enjoyed the city and did many nice things when my family and girlfriend came over. Arthur’s Seat and the Pentland Hills are amazing places for anyone who loves nature and beautiful views. Edinburgh is also a great place to run, one of my favourite hobbies. But also with the team I did many cool stuff. We went bowling, golfing and we took part in a quiz that we almost won! I had so much fun during all these activities!

Like I told you in the beginning, I was a little bit scared to take the plunge but I am so happy I did my internship abroad and especially with ACOSVO. Sometimes you just have to seek discomfort. In short, it was an amazing experience and I am walking away with so many new skills which I can use in the future. And let's not forget the most important thing: I have been able to work with the best team ever.

Stijn