From Holland to Vancouver: One intern’s experience
10 Jun 2011
- Last Updated on Friday, 10 June 2011 06:17
- Published on Tuesday, 29 November -0001 16:00
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My name is Paul Ooms and I’m a journalism student from The Netherlands. For the last two months, I have been working as an editorial intern at the Vancouver Business Journal. Even though the Pacific Northwest is beautiful, it’s not the most logical place for a Dutch student to intern. However, I have a very special reason for choosing Southwest Washington. Next year, I will marry a rather wonderful girl, who happens to live in Battle Ground. This means that after graduating from school, I will live and work over here.
The last two months at the VBJ have given me new insight in the working environment of my new home country. In this column I write about the expectations I had before I came, and how things turned out even better than I had originally thought.
After sending out resumes to a few different local newspapers that I found through Google, the Vancouver Business Journal was the first to get back to me. This was a little scary for me, because “business journal” sounds very intimidating to someone who never liked the economics classes in college. But, desperate as I was, I was willing to go anywhere that would be close to my fiancée.
There were a few things I was a little anxious about. First, I had no idea what kind of people I’d get to work with. I didn’t know anything about this newspaper and thought the people working at such a publication must talk about taxes, unemployment and recession all day. Turns out, they were actually quite nice and pleasant co-workers.
Another thing I was afraid of was the business environment that I’d be working in – business people in particular. In my mind, to be a successful businessman, you have to give up being nice. Fortunately, I was wrong again. The business people I met were all great people that were very nice to me. At one point, John, Nick and I were invited to attend a business meeting inside a bar. For a 20-year-old intern, this wasn’t the best place to meet because I wasn’t allowed in. Instead of having me sit on the sidewalk outside, they moved the meeting to an alcohol-free space inside an office building across the street.
Finally, I thought a business journal could only report on boring stories. I’ll admit, some things went over my head, but there were many fascinating stories that I got to work on. The proposed plans for the baseball stadium, retail spotlights on great local businesses, a charming little community theatre and a film set in downtown Vancouver were among the interesting topics I came in touch with.
When I look back on the last two months, I think I have learned a lot. My expectations were exceeded and I had a great time. I’m glad the VBJ welcomed me and introduced me to my future field of work and the community that I will live in.
Oh, and the best part: I never had to get anyone a cup of coffee.