Interview: Trainee at REM Consult
During the past ten-plus years, more than 40 trainees from Europe and around the world have joined our office. With this interview series we would like to introduce our trainees, give them a voice and allow interested applicants to get first-hand insights into our office life.
Ihar Buika worked as a trainee at REM Consult during last summer. He is currently finishing his Master’s in Human Geography at Bayreuth University. Ihar, how did you come across REM Consult and why did you apply for an internship?
Already before the internship I had a clear enough idea about the subject of my master thesis: cross-border territorial cooperation. To gain profound insights into the topic, I decided to apply for an internship. For me, the most important factor at REM Consult was that the company has a high level of expertise precisely in the INTERREG projects and has extensive experience in their implementation. Besides, I thought it was especially salient to be able to test and/or train hard and soft skills in the real professional world. An important factor was also the fact that the internship is remunerated. And, last but not least, the location in Hamburg excited me so that I applied immediately.
How would you describe your tasks at REM Consult?
The tasks have been relatively diverse, even if predominantly technical in nature. This means that they have primarily served the operational business. Some of them took a few days to be completed, while others could be done in an hour. Still, there is always space for the creative development of one’s own ideas – be it that you further develop already existing project ideas or sketch new concepts for future projects. While the latter sounds easy at first glance, it is actually much more complex and requires knowledge on the topic, the involved partners and the numerous funding arrangements.
Which of the tasks did you like the most, which ones surprised you?
I would say that I was not “surprised” by any tasks. I perceived them all with interest and ambition, no matter whether we are talking about simple tasks or, for example, profound content analyses. Thanks to the proofreading of project reports for funding programmes (a task that did not seem very exciting to me in the beginning), I was able to comprehend the underlying processes of project implementation. Moreover, my colleagues took me to transnational partner meetings twice, which was a good experience that allowed me to experience the “project reality” and to meet many interesting partners from all over Europe.
What career aspiration did you have at the age of seven? How does it relate to your job at REM Consult?
As far as I can remember, I wanted to be a salesperson in my early childhood. Children – and me at that time as well – appreciate the “simple” occupations, as they come with immediate and visible results. Besides, I could count well! Looking back, this passion cannot be wholly reconciled with project management. A few years later, after I changed my school for the first time and discovered geography, I wanted to become a diplomat. The approach to the everyday life of a project manager has clearly shown me that diplomatic skills are essential in project work. Wise people had long ago realized that one should dream with caution – all dreams come true!
Can you imagine to continue with project development and management in the EU context in the long run?
My field of study – human geography – is thematically very diverse. My personal interest lies in political geography and in particular on issues of pan-European territorial integration. That is why this area, and especially the management of European Structural and Investment Funds projects, is of great interest to me. However, I must also acknowledge that many project management skills are “artisanal” in nature. This means that they cannot be sufficiently studied or learned at university and can only be acquired in practice. From this internship, I definitely took some of these skills with me.
Last but not least: How to you like Hamburg and will you stay here after your internship ends?
Hamburg is the first maritime city that I experienced in my life; the first time I was here was for a short stay in December 2013. Back then, the city had left an overwhelming impression on me. Formidable architecture, a vast harbour that looks like a city in the city, shrouded in seagulls screaming, a lot of water and the wet and cold nordic wind – my first impressions of Hamburg. Last year I had an even shorter stop in Hamburg on my way to Flensburg. Now, in the course of the internship, I had an opportunity to discover the size and diversity of Hamburg systematically and sufficiently – like city researchers have to. After the last working day, I left Hamburg, but I will come back one day.
Thank you for the interview, Ihar!
If you are enrolled at a University and would like to join as as trainee, please find our current vacancies here.