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Paid Internship in Poland? Possible! Interview with the student from Peru

Have you ever been wondering how does it feel to be an international student studying in Poland? New people, new culture, studying and working in Poland... But where do you start?

Who else is the better person to talk you through all the questions and help you fill all the blank spaces than somebody who is already studying in Poland and has his or her own experience to share?

Meet our today’s guest - Paula who travelled all the way from Peru to Poznań and then moved to Kraków. Paula is a very interesting person that seems to have more energy than the rocket engine. She has ambitious goals and always reaches them. Paula has started her journey with Poland as a student and right now is working as a financial analyst in the Royal Dutch Shell.

And here is our interview with her:

Hi Paula. Please tell us your story.

Hello! I have been living in Poland for 4 years. I came here to get my Bachelor's degree in Management (major) and Financial Engineering (minor). As every university in Poland, my university has encouraged the students to search for internships while studying. At the end of the 5th semester, I have applied for an internship in Finance in Royal Dutch Shell (a Dutch oil company). I was super excited to join this summer internship. At the end of the day I succeeded, and the company has offered me a long-term contract. It was not as easy as it may sound like: there were many interns from different countries in this program and not all of them have received further contracts.

How long did it take you to find an internship?

Getting an internship, especially at huge corporations, takes a lot of time. I have applied at the end of January, however the first call that I got was in April. It was from Shell Company. There were three steps in the recruiting process: a CV application, a short talk with a recruiter, a meeting with a manager, and a face-to-face meeting with team members. From the initial step of sending the application to the first day of the internship, it took about 6 months.

If you come to Poland as a full-time student, you have a legal permit to work in Poland. There are no limits as long as you are involved in the studies.

What about the Polish language proficiency?

Was it required to be qualified for the position? In Poland, If you work for an international company –the Polish language proficiency usually is not required. You are working in a multicultural environment together with people from different countries. Fluent English, however, is a must-have skill for every employee, otherwise people will not be able to understand you.

In my case, as I am a native Spanish speaker, the company has assigned me to work with a Spanish-speaking sector. Thus, I mostly use Spanish in my work. However, knowledge of Polish is always an asset. The employer would definitely appreciate your willingness to learn the new languages.

In the small and medium enterprises which work in the scale of Poland, the knowledge of the Polish language is usually a must as you cooperate in the Polish-speaking environment.

Did you have a paid internship?

One of the main reasons I applied for the internship is because it was paid. Of course, the salary will not be as much as a normal worker salary, but it is enough to cover the basic living expenses like the rent of accommodation, the food, and clothes. However, I would not say it is enough to cover the living expenses such as travels and things like that.

In Poland, most of the internships are paid. Usually, the salary varies between 18,30 (the legal minimum payment) and 25 Zlotys per hour. If you work part-time, the salary would be around 1600 Zlotys. If you work full time, the average salary is 3200 Zlotys. Please remember, that in case of students over 26 years old, so-called zero-tax is not applicable causing the final salary to become less, than mentioned above.

What about the general job market in Poland?

The job market in Poland is huge. There are many opportunities you can take in the field of your studies or even something new.

For example, one of my first jobs here was being a Spanish/English teacher. For me, it was great, there are many vacancies in the schools, private companies, and language centres which require teachers of various languages. I did it part-time because I had to combine my work with studies.

In 2021 according to research commissioned by the Polish Ministry of Family, Labour, and Social Policy, the labour market in Poland lacks the following employees:

  • Qualified blue-collar employees in the field of trade
  • Drivers
  • Technicians, storekeepers
  • Engineers
  • IT specialists
  • Accountants, economists
  • Human resources staff

Where would you recommend to start looking for an internship?

In Poland, there are many ways to find an internship or a job. You can always start by contacting a Careers’ office at your University. The good thing is that most of the things happening at universities, especially during COVID-19 times, are online.

You may also take a look at the actual offers posted at the following websites:

  1. Glassdoor (https://www.glassdoor.com/member/home/index.htm)
  2. Pracuj.pl (https://www.pracuj.pl/praca)
  3. Aplikuj.pl (https://www.aplikuj.pl/)
  4. Indeed (https://pl.indeed.com/?r=us)

I know that in some countries you have to look for a job in the newspapers. I think, it is a dinosaur age... Here, in Poland, everything is happening in one place – at your computer!

Any advices on how to get through the process of recruitment successfully?

First, read carefully through the position description that you are about to apply for. For example, if the position says that you need 1/2 years of experience, and you do not have any, it means that you will not get this job. Thus, there is no sense to apply for it.

Apart from that, prepare your documents. Work on your CV, make it look good and attractive. Prepare the certificates you have, motivation letter, the confirmation from the university that you are a student there. The employer eventually will ask for it.

Then, pay attention to your phone. You can expect a call from the recruiter anytime. You should be ready to answer such questions as:

  • What do you do in your free time?
  • Why do you think you are suitable for the position?
  • What are your skills?

The company will definitely ask you how you can relate your knowledge, skills, and experience to the position you apply for. You will need to fit yourself in with the company's culture. If the position requires having flexible hours, emphasize to the recruiters that you are available anytime. You need to be able to confidently and honestly answer these questions. Be conscious!

And get ready for a small check-up of your speaking English :)

Any last thoughts before we wrap it up?

Sure thing! If you come to Poland to study, you may be able to find a job pretty easily. However, it all depends on you. So do it consciously and work hard!


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