Internship in Dubai with IDEA StatiCa
For a few years, living abroad and gaining some work experience there had been high on my wish list. While some people need to approach change slowly, others can change their lives almost overnight. I consider myself belonging to the first group. That is why, at the start of 2022, I found myself with a suitcase in my hand relocating to Dubai.
Travel broadens the mind
After successfully completing my Bachelor's degree at the Faculty of International Relations in Bratislava, Slovakia, and undertaking my first work experience, including one of the largest commercial banks in Slovakia, I decided to move to the Czech Republic. Brno had been close to my heart for a long time, so I decided to start studying for a Master’s Degree at the Brno University of Technology (BUT) in the field of International Economics and Business.
I enjoyed my studies very much at BUT and met very nice and inspiring lecturers there. After two years, I had put another cum laude and the Dean's Award on my shelf and started writing my academic title in front of my name feeling satisfied that all that hard work had paid off.
Meet IDEA StatiCa
In the midst of all these changes, including the pandemic, I joined IDEA StatiCa in September 2020. As I was starting my Master’s at the time, I worked part-time at IDEA StatiCa as an Assistant, helping out with administrative work a couple of times a week. Gradually, I worked my way up and, today, I am working full-time as a Sales and Marketing Coordinator. I am mainly responsible for handling incoming orders from the global sales network, managing licenses, providing business, marketing and administrative support mainly to our Channel Managers, helping organize events, educating our reseller network, and working on activities related to legalization cases.
I feel lucky to be part of a company that is actively changing the standards and contributing significantly to shaping the structural engineering industry. Every day, I am surrounded by interesting, inspiring, and intelligent people with very different professional backgrounds.
Time for a change
My desire for foreign experience and the joy of working at IDEA StatiCa definitely went hand in hand. At the beginning of 2022 after several discussions with the owners, channel manager and our foreign partner, the idea of my reallocation to the United Arab Emirates began to emerge. I wanted to see how the field of international business, in which I both work and studied, can be perceived from a different perspective, from the side of our customers and resellers. I felt that this could bring valuable information to the company about what works and what we could do better. After all, we have built a global brand that is a big name among structural engineers.
Once my short-term relocation had been agreed with a local reseller, I was able to arrange departure dates, buy flight tickets and spend weeks browsing the accommodation portals. Searching for accommodation is, after this experience, officially my least favorite activity of all. Despite a lot of issues with this part, not only before the internship but also during my stay, my time in the United Arab Emirates itself was a very enriching experience. So, fasten your seatbelts as I share some of my epic journey with you!
Getting closer to our resellers
Although when I left for my trip, it was still quite warm and summery in Slovakia, this in no way prepared me for Dubai. When we landed early that mid-September morning, the thermometer was already showing very high temperatures.
My first accommodation was in Jumeirah Beach Residence, which is close to the beach, Dubai Harbor, and the beautiful Dubai Marina Walk surrounded by the tallest buildings I had ever seen. Yet they were still not as tall as those in downtown, as I would later learn.
During these first days I got to know my new boss, Prakash, who offered to show me around. Learning to navigate around Dubai is relatively easy, especially when using public transport. He took me to some of the Dubai hot spots and showed me where Tech Assist’s office is located. It was conveniently close to my flat by tram and right next to the beautiful Palm Islands. Two girls welcomed me at the reception of Concord Tower in Dubai Media City and showed me around. Tech Assist has its Dubai office in this building, currently with two employees, Prakash and Mohana. Both guys were very friendly and helpful. The first days were about introductions, agreeing on my agenda, getting to know the processes, and trying to get familiar with them. During the whole internship, I was also still performing my activities and tasks for IDEA StatiCa headquarters.
At the end of week one, there was the first visit of a potential client. Traveling through non-stop-busy Sheikh Zayed Road and downtown, passing by the first tall building in Dubai, which is now only approximately one-third of other skyscrapers, we finally reached old Dubai, where the office of this potential client was located. This part was totally different compared to new Dubai, mainly due to how it was constructed.
The other side of the reseller coin
During September, there was a live event in Dubai, the WETEX & Dubai Solar Show in Dubai World Trade Center. Our resellers visit these events to present themselves and our product and, of course, it is a great source of potential clients. During my stay, I had the opportunity to visit one of the biggest conferences in UAE, ADIPEC, in Abu Dhabi, and explore all those amazing companies presenting their fascinating products.
My internship in Dubai was also a great opportunity for our reseller as we talked a lot about how things work at our headquarters and in other resellers‘ offices, what can be improved and how to do it. I got great support from my colleagues in our Czech office on helping educate our resellers.
Approximately every three weeks, my agenda changed slightly. Besides taking part in client visits, not only in Dubai, but also in other Emirates, I was exploring how Prakash and Mohana conduct business. My “Dubai agenda” also included updating data on several lists of contacts, finding a way to improve and work with the lead process. Also, some changes were made by our HQ while I was abroad, so it was a good way to make the process of their implementation smoother while being in that territory. Sometimes, it is better to explain certain things in person than remotely.
An experience for all
On a personal level, this internship has also taught me a lot. Going alone as a woman to the Arab world, culturally very different from Europe, was very challenging, but it didn't even cross my mind when planning this trip. I have become more open-minded, mainly thanks to the mix of cultures I had never had a chance to meet before. Moreover, I had an opportunity to see a part of the world I had never dreamed I would live in. I had traded a rainy autumn for an unrelenting summer, the beach and the sea.
Despite a lot of work, I set a goal to see as much as possible and create incredible memories. I saw the dancing fountain at the Burj Khalifa many times, and both day and night, it is my top memory. For sure, there are many more, and I really miss walking on the beach at sunset thinking about how blessed I was to have this opportunity. Seeing camels and doing dune bashing in the desert was unforgettable. I was blown away by the view at the Palm and by the view from the tallest building in the world. It is remarkable what man can build, and in such a short time. Arabic food, dates, ice cream from camel’s milk would all form a massive section were I to go into detail here. During my stay, I met some people whom I had the chance to share mostly good and a few bad experiences with, and who helped me a lot.
Apart from Dubai, I also had the opportunity to visit Abu Dhabi on a one-day trip and saw all the famous spots, starting, of course, with the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Its beauty is beyond words! I finished my Dubai journey by visiting the largest flower and butterfly garden in the world.
Lessons lived and learned
To conclude, I consider my foreign internship with our reseller in the United Arab Emirates, Dubai, a success for all. I not only saw a new and very different part of the world, learned how to operate better in a multicultural environment, but it also helped me better understand how business at IDEA StatiCa works as a whole. I believe that my time spent in Dubai has additionally had a similarly positive impact on both IDEA StatiCa and Tech Assist.