After lots of ‘umming’ and ‘ahhing’, I agreed to accept an offer to take part in a graduate programme to work and live in a European city. And so on the 16th September 2016, I did something I never thought I would ever do. I got on a plane and travelled to Prague to work in a youth theatre for three months.
My plans were met with many questions but if I’m honest, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. “What will you do when you get there?” asked my grandma, my aunty, an elderly gentleman on the bus and the barista in the service station on the way to the airport.
All I know now is that my time spent interning in Prague is probably one of the best things I have ever done.
The benefits of interning proved to be varied and unlimited but I think the three most important factors of which, for me, are: WORK EXPERIENCE, for the valuable and challenging opportunity to work as a valued member of an established arts business. TRAVEL, for the chance to casually pop on a plane and experience a new country, its lifestyle, its culture, its food and its ‘pivos’. And lastly, PEOPLE, for the wonderful people I was able to work with, live with, the wonderful kids that inspired me at Prague Youth Theatre (PYT) and even all the characters I encountered on the tram.
Here’s a breakdown as to why these three factors were so important to me and how they could benefit you:
- WORK EXPERIENCE
For me, the experience of working in the Czech Republic has provided valuable experience and skills for working within the arts. Every week was different whilst at PYT, each filled with new and diverse experiences both in the office and the theatre with the guidance of the brilliant team. From day one, I was thrown into reorganising a library of theatre books and plays and cataloguing these into an online database so that students could easily access and return books. In the three months, I made props for the end of year performances alongside my Prague Youth Theare rock and fellow intern- Mira! I l lead warm-ups and activities for students during rehearsals and lessons. I choreographed dances. I managed sound and music during performances- something I never thought I would be capable of doing (even if this did mean missing an important doorbell cue!). I shadowed Rebecca’s LAMDA lessons and updated and maintained this blog. My time was filled with completely new experiences and has introduced me to and developed completely new skills.
Interning abroad helps you to gain transferable skills such as the ability to work in a team, interpersonal skills or problem-solving skills, favoured by new employers. It will help you to gain experience in your field and give you a better understanding of your strengths and weaknesses by gaining and testing new skills. An internship abroad will make you stand out, especially as you’ve travelled a distance, soaked up a new culture and lived like a local which benefits you both professionally and personally.
Living out of a suitcase was a challenge in itself. There were some tears the night before I left for Prague when my dad had to convince me to take my dressing gown out of my suitcase so that it could actually close. In my spare time, I was able to experience Prague like a local. I ate Czech food (sometimes difficult as a veggie although I recommend the vegetarian restaurant Etnosvet which served one of the best meals I have ever had- veggie Peking duck and pancakes!), drank Czech beer, went on an intensive language course, visited galleries and museums, saw ballets, plays, concerts and even attended a quiz night hosted by The British Council! I explored the ins and outs of Prague in three months and no walk home to and from work will ever beat walking across the Charles Bridge.
With Prague being so central, I also visited other parts of the Czech Republic such as Kutna Hora and its bone church as well as trips to Munich and Budapest at a small cost. I enjoyed every minute even if that meant not really understanding how the metros worked in Budapest which meant being fined €30, but hey its all life experience!
Travelling and experiencing new cultures as an intern gives you a lesson in independence. Navigating your way around your host country benefits your personal development in so many ways whether this is becoming adaptable to new and challenging situations, learning new things, or becoming more open to different ways of life. Plus, you can increase your proficiency in a new language!
Interning in Prague gave me the opportunity to meet so many new people and make friends for life (cheesy). The whole of the PYT team were very supportive and welcoming and having a fellow Liverpudlian at PYT-Assistant Artistic Director, Rebecca- made all the difference too, making me feel a lot more at home in a new country. Scousers are everywhere. I interned alongside Mira from Germany, who I was able to share skills with, help one another and watch each other grow over the three months.
Interning abroad gives you the chance to meet an array of people, share experiences and make memories. You will adopt cross-cultural skills from interacting with people from different backgrounds, countries, experiences, ages by sharing knowledge and skills as well as providing networking opportunities.
Interning at Prague Youth Theatre proved to be a diverse and exciting opportunity which I was able to mould to suit me. I surprised myself in many ways. I’m more capable of things than I thought and I am definitely more curious to throw myself into the deep end, try new things and meet new people. Thank you so much, PYT!
If you are interested in an experience like Hannah’s, get in touch with us here to find out more about internship opportunities.