During their Double Master's program in Technology Management our students complete an internship in a company. Some students travel around the world to gain new experiences and broaden their horizons. NIT Alumnus Miguel Wesselmann from Class 19 travelled to Nigeria for his internship. We met him for an interview on his experiences:
I am Miguel Wesselmann, a 27-year-old German-Portuguese, from Hamburg in Germany. I am studying Mechatronics Engineering at the TUHH and Technology Management at the NIT and am about to finish my master's. In the end of 2019 I completed my 8 weeks internship in Nigeria in a university close to Lagos and want to give some insights and advice for future interns in Nigeria.
Just about a year ago I felt the interest to discover Africa and so I was looking for an internship in Africa in the field of management. I didn’t really know what to expect but I am sure that doing an internship in a foreign country is the best way to understand the culture and to be really exposed to their habits on a daily basis.
The job offer description didn’t match with what I ended up working on, but that was actually great, because the work I did there, was way more interesting. I supported the accounting department to start a research project for an accounting software application. The goal is to develop an easy-to-use application for SMEs to help them keep their financial records straight. This project was perfect for me and it allowed me to apply so many things I learned in my study specialization in entrepreneurship. It was about finding innovative ideas, form a motivated team and organize the project.
I was really happy to have such a great supervisor. She helped me with any issue and gave me a lot of freedom to coordinate the project start. I felt, that my opinion was welcomed and well-received and that all the staff trusted me from early on. So, I felt welcomed in a warm (work) environment.
During my spare time I travelled to Abuja and Lagos, hiked at a waterfall, strolled around at local markets, visited enormous churches and mosques, and met very interesting Nigerians. Sure, many things are different, but isn’t that the reason to go anyway? I really liked to speak to as many people as possible and to engage in semi-deep discussions on the state, religion, work, life, etc. to find new interesting viewpoints and opinions.
In my opinion, though, you should have made long-stay travel experiences in foreign countries and been exposed to different cultures before coming to Nigeria. This isn’t meant as an adventurous challenge. You might encounter shortages of internet, electricity, and water and should be prepared to not go out (at night) as freely as you normally do. Also, you should be advised that depending on where you stay, religion might play a very important role and you should be open to it.
However, you will also meet many interesting and inspiring Nigerians, who are curious to know about your beliefs and culture. I have bonded with many colleagues and I am looking forward to speaking with them after my stay. Furthermore, I will remember the conversations and stories of Bolt-drivers, students, university staff and business owners I met in the two months.
Based on my experience I´d recommend the internship for future managers and entrepreneurs. During my internship I experienced a very supportive supervisor. She helped me whenever I needed it and definitely made my stay more comfortable. Because of her and the interesting project I worked on, I would rate the internship as a success. I want to thank the association IAESTE for making this experience happen and helping me with the organization.
Thank you very much for your insights, Miguel. We wish you all the best for the future!