by Anna Cherentsova
In the summer of 2005, I had my last year of high school and was considering different career strategies. A Master of Science in Speech Technology was my priority, but that only promised a full time position in the office for the rest of my life. I felt like I would be happier working with people and applying my technical knowledge in favor of some large international project which I identified with a lot more, both emotionally and intellectually.
Thanks to my fluency in foreign languages, I decided to grow in International Marketing and Sales, and then planned to get back to my area in science in a new role. This alternative scenario worked just fine after I completed my internship in Madrid with Bestprograms, as a web translator and marketing specialist. It is a common practice in Best to have participants choose 3 areas of expertise and mine were Linguistics and Speech/Marketing/Content Web Management, according to what I had studied. The perfect combination of the three was a position in the Language club (“Club de Espanol”) where I got to administer the Ru version of their web and promote the school in the Russian market. As a bonus offered by the company, I was invited to take the advanced Spanish language classes for free after hours. I felt a friendly attitude from the team I worked with, and together with my flat mates I explored Madrid cultural and night life under their caring eyes . We went on one-day trips outside the city and even managed a trip to Barcelona and Granada!! The three months flew by, leaving warmest memories, and by then I already felt at ease with Spanish and had my first web translation in my portfolio. The marketing research I did during my internship provided me with a database of contacts for advertising in Spain. Last but not least, my resume was shining with international experience! I got responses from big name companies at home and before graduation had a position in my area of science, with a company selling speech tech products to Spain and Latin America. Later when staying at home with kids, I did marketing and translation distantly for them, and would probably have proceeded to their sales department, if not for switching to Best Programs local development.
What has served me most has been the general attitude BEST has developed and not something specifically about our Russian branch. Having spent a while living and working in Tallinn, Estonia, I would emphasize that even inside the small world of Europe, where people have no difficulty going to study or intern between countries, and plenty of providers work on capturing students’ choice, Best remains a desired source of summer and year-round programs and a service preferred by many. The reason would be the individual approach taking all our clients’ professional ambitions in consideration. Having experience with all sort of enterprises from private businesses to huge international corporations, we have something to suggest for a candidate in search of a specific company, a certain shift in career, or on the contrary, willing to have a small family-style office as a placement. Each time Best prospects an individual placement according to one’s profile, thus being able to match the current needs of a company with a particular request from a student.
It is important to travel and experience new cultures because the historical background of most prosperous societies have an element of travel between the biographic lines of their most outstanding people, leaders and explorers. A brain capable of processing practical experience from living abroad has to deal with a lot of information: perceive, identify, compare, analyze… our identities become stronger when we merge into an alien mentality, find ourselves in specific frames of stereotypes and have to take into account deep underlying aspects of culture, attitudes and beliefs of people. Not to mention that all changes stimulate us to think and act, aesthetic impressions inspire, new language keeps us concentrated and good food makes us work on our diet and feel healthier. All this refers to a type of person open to these discoveries and looking for something new to happen, this is why as program providers Best underlines that mature and self-motivated students will get the best out of their internship or volunteering. Still, for those who feel stressed we try to provide support and advice, encourage group activities with language schools and other interns to smoothen the immersion stage. Learning to adapt is also a skill one can use throughout one’s life.
Finally, from the perspective of years that have passed, my personal life and work style has been enormously affected by having lived and worked in Spain and with the Spanish (as well as the US and France). All those different details like daily and corporate communication, relationships in and outside the office, specific codes of success that one can read from mere appearance of a person with a different mentality – everything contributes into building new milestones for business in Russia. We are still learning from our Western neighbors to create an enjoyable atmosphere in teams, truly cooperating within projects and embracing the talents of the young. What if I say that most of our national companies in Russia had never before had an intern when I started working in Russia? It is more than true, and we have gone all the way developing legal aspects of professional practice for foreigners. I wouldn’t have dared to do it if not for admiring how well it worked outside my country.
Anna Cherentsova has been a BEST Programs coordinator for the Russian region and for Russian-speaking applicants since 2012. Having a broad personal work experience from tourism and hotel business to science and technology and fluent in four languages, she is very enthusiastic about welcoming young professionals from all over the world in all areas. Soon after taking on the coordination in Saint Petersburg Anna boosted the Russian branch to a new level of client flow capacity, simultaneously processing up to 20 placements, maintaining an individual approach and caring attitude. Anna is currently living and promoting BEST services in Tallinn, Estonia, exploring new ways to ease connections between Europe and Russia and contribute to creating stronger cultural ties with her native country. Anna travels to Saint Petersburg and Moscow multiple times yearly to supervise internship venues and do on site orientations.