Hmmm where to start?
I, ‘Frenchie’, am an international student. I came here for my work placement (my first experience in a working environment), hoping to find a company that I’d fit into. The apprehension was huge when I discovered I’d be working at Key especially because the company sells industrial and commercial supplies – it’s not really girly! My teachers told me I had to do it to gain some professional experience… but I found much more than that!
Week 1: As soon as I arrived, I met Clare, the HR Manager. She immediately made things easy for me and introduced me to all the departments. At the same time, I met the big big big big boss who gave me two kisses on my cheek – French style!
Later that week I visited all the different departments to observe what they did. I learned many interesting things. On the Friday, I discovered the biggest warehouse that I had seen in my life. Ok this may be the only one I’ve seen, but anyway it was really big. I met with Nicki the manager and Neil, Zdenka and Vlad the Team Leaders, they made me very welcome. There are 100 people in the company so I will not list them all but they all are really very nice people always smiling and who love their job!
Week 2: I’m now in the Marketing Department and THIS is my thing! From the first day I had a lot of work to do here, but I can’t deny I love it. Suddenly I’m in charge of 80 pages of translation and the planning of an event for 100 staff. I very quickly had to juggle my French/English dictionary with finding food, music and decorations for the Czech event.
With these projects I had a real sense of both responsibility and belonging to the company. The people I met helped me to integrate myself.
Week 3: I feel as happy as a lark because a lot of employees say hello to me and the best for last: I have my own desk and laptop!!! And then I met a person here call Stephanie and she was really a great friend to me. I liked to spend these few weeks with her because she is outgoing and great.
Week 4: Here it is, we are in the middle of my internship and the fear of being completely clueless in England has totally disappeared. I’m now stressing about my return to France because I really want to stay!!! I forgot Mark Thompson, the Photographer. During my time in Marketing I spent a lot of time helping with photo shoots. Mark is totally insane and totally magical at the same time. Even if I had a double chin in his photos, he was able to make shy people smile.
Week 5: End of my time in Marketing 🙁 With my head full of memories and new experiences, I head for the next step: the Sales Department to learn about building relationships with the customer.
Week 6: Observation week in the Sales Department. I was sitting with Kirsty (she is amazing) and I try but it’s really difficult to understand what customers are telling her on the phone. This is a very hard job and I have a great respect for the team. Then there is Sophie who always makes me laugh, and Marie is really nice.
Week 7: I finally began to understand the customer’s needs and how to help them! I get involved with the ‘Nature Project’ and do some gardening with some of the staff. This is a lot of fun!
Week 8: I’ve now come back to Marketing and I’m food shopping! I would never have believed in all my life I’d be food shopping with my manager in the supermarket! She is really kind and boosts me tremendously even though I know that my work is not perfect!
To close this week, I have organised some fun in the company – the Harlem Shake. Click here to read more about what I created!
In conclusion, I don’t want to leave! Everything I said is not to impress anyone so I can come back (I admit – I really want to come back). Words cannot express what I’ve lived here.
It should be noted that this story wouldn’t have been possible with my wonderful second mum Jenny. I have been living with Jenny for 2 months, without her I wouldn’t have been able to spend my internship at this great company.
Anyway long life to England and long life to Key, I will not forget you soon…