Following the India Route – Part One

(c) Pixabay
(c) Pixabay

Hey Guys ♥

It’s been less than a year since Terry’s and my big Ireland/UK adventure, but to be honest, I was already thinking about leaving again before we landed back in Germany. But first of all, I had to get back to work, start my last semester at Uni, write my Master’s Thesis, …. and start applying for jobs. Now, (reasonably well paid) intern- or traineeships in the publishing industry are hard to come by, so I pretty much applied for everything that seemed at least slightly interesting in hopes to avoid unemployment and get a foot in the door, so to speak. One of the offers I found was Springer’s Cross-Cultural Internship in India, a six-months paid internship at one of Springer’s partner companies in Pune, Maharashtra. The offer seemed too good to be true, so I actually debated whether or not I should apply for quite some time. A paid internship for one of the biggest science publishers worldwide, in India nonetheless? Surely they’d be flooded with applications and mine certainly wouldn’t catch their eye. Even though I was still convinced that I would never hear back from them, I did send in my application during the summer of ’14. The internship was supposed to start in February and the application deadline was in November, so obviously I did indeed not hear back from them for a while and completely forgot about my application. One rejection letter after the other came in, until I finally got a job at the Harry PotterExhibition in Cologne. Even though this was only a part-time position for a few months, it was better than doing nothing and moving back home.

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(c) Odysseum Köln

A few weeks after starting my job at the Odysseum, I received an email out of nowhere. From Springer. Subject: Invitation to Assessment Center. At first I didn’t even realize what the subject line said and figured it would be another rejection. Nope. They had actually invited me to their assessment center, which was supposed to take place about two weeks later. I was going completely crazy, but didn’t really have time to freak out because with the invitation came some “homework”, which was due a few days later. So with no functioning broadband at home, I found myself at Starbucks™ with a jasmine-orange tea and slightly wonky wifi the very next day. I still managed to complete and send the assignment (the latter took me three tries, it was very nerve-wrecking) and all that was left to do was wait, panic, google “assesment center what do”, panic again, google “job interview hALp”, write down some questions, practice answers, freak out at the prospect of going to India only to remind myself not to freak out because I’d only be disappointed if I didn’t get the internship, and wait some more. Finally, day one of the assessment center came, and I couldn’t wait to get started. I had literally spent the last two weeks preparing myself, researching the company and the internship program, writing down interesting questions to ask during a job interview, and planned on how to present my professional and academic experiences and goals in a way that screamed “HIRE ME! I’M RIGHT FOR THIS!” If you know me, you know that I absolutely loathe waiting and not being able to do anything, so I was anxious to finally start the assessment center and do my best.

(c) Pixabay
(c) Pixabay

In the morning, me and the other aspiring interns took a cab (or rather, a few cabs) from our hotel to Springer’s (Springer Science+Business Media, that is, not the other big publishing company called Springer *cough cough*) offices, where the assessment center was to be held for the next two days. Before we got to introduce and prove ourselves though, we first got an introduction to the company’s history and the internship program, which got started almost ten years ago. As far as I can remember, we were about 20 applicants, and 12 of us were to be chosen to go to Pune. We were lucky enough to hear an ex-intern who had recently returned from India talk about her experiences, and her enthusiasm and joy made me want to jump on a plane and go straight to Pune. We were also told more practical details about the internship, regarding our future positions and responsibilities at the company, the duration of the internship (we could chose between 6 and 9 months) our living arrangements, the social aspect of our stay (all interns get the chance to work with an orphanage and a mobile “School on Wheels” during their stay), and the numerous trips and events that would take place in and around Pune, organized by Springer and our colleagues at Crest (the company we’d work for). During and in between presentations, we were more than well cared for with cookies, softdrinks, tea and coffee, lunch and dessert. Seriously, the food at the assessment center was both a blessing and a curse, as my waistline will tell you. Now for the next 1 ½ days, it was our turn. I can’t tell you what the tasks were, but they were all very interesting, reasonable, and even fun 🙂 Nothing to be scared of in case you’re thinking about applying, too 😉 Even though we had all known each other for less than 48 hours, we were really sad to say goodbye after the end of the second day, but at the same time very hopeful to meet again in Pune 🙂

Now came the really hard part, waiting. Again. Thankfully, the wait wasn’t that long, and on the following Monday (the assessment center was on Thursday/Friday), I got a call from Berlin. The call came while I was at work, so during my lunchbreak (which I spent at the mall) I called them back.

Me: “Yes hello, you called earlier, but I was at work so I wanted to call you back ….”
Woman on phone [in very soft, sympathetic voice]: “Yes, thank you. I wanted to talk to you about the results of the assessment center … Is now a good time?”
Me: No, I’m in the middle of a busy mall at lunchtime I can’t have bad news right now

Me: “Yes of course.”
Woman on phone: “Okay. So we liked how you performed at this task and that task, and you were very convincing during that part ….”
[PAUSE]
Me: OMG THERE’S A BUT THERE’S A BUT
Woman on phone: “And we would like to invite you to India ….”
[PAUSE]
Me: OMG THERE’S A BUT THERE’S A BUT
[PAUSE]
Woman on phone: “Will you please think about the offer and give us your final answer by Wednesday?”
Me: OMFG THERE WAS NO BUT???? I’M GOING TO INDIA?????
Me: “Yes of course thank you very much!”

And thus I’m going to conclude part one of this little introduction to my Indian adventure 🙂 Next time, I’ll talk a bit about all the necessary preparations I had to go through before going to India, then there may or may not be a post about the introduction days we’ll have in Heidelberg (depending on how much time/energy I’ll have left afterward and how much I’ll be allowed to say) and the final, introductory part will talk about my arrival in Pune and will give you some background on the city I’ll be calling home for the better part of 2015.

See you soon! ✿✿✿

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