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 June 20th of 2019 , 06:49 hs. Argentine Time (GMT -3:00)

Magdalena M. from Poland tell us about her Internship in Mar del Plata

Find out what it is like to intern in a travel agency in Argentina from the first-hand experience of Magdalena Michalak from Poland.
Magdalena Michalak agreed to an interview with Connecting Worlds about her travel and tourism internship in Mar Del Plata, Argentina, for the travel agency Mar y Pampa which was arranged for her via PractiGo.If you like what she has to say about the experience and you are interested in finding out more, Connecting Worlds has lots of programs to offer and lots of information about the programs offered by PractiGo too. Contact us and we will take care of all your needs.

So… Magdalena…

1. Where are you from and what made you choose to intern in Argentina?

I’m from South – Western Poland, from a city called Wroclaw (Breslavia). I have been living in London since 2005 though and I am currently studying there as well. Since I started the University I was thinking about coming to Argentina to study on my compulsory third Year Abroad, as my University had a student exchange contract with the University in Buenos Aires.

However, due to the lack of demand and recent economic fluctuations, the University has narrowed the choice of destinations for students. I did not want to give up on my dream, so I decided to come here anyway for an internship, which will have a greater value for my future employers.

2. How did you go about finding your internship abroad and what made you choose the internship in Mar Del Plata via PractiGo?

I did not know how to look for an internship. It was my friend who I met at the Spanish classes, that went to Buenos Aires right after finishing Uni. She explained to me how things worked and she talked me through some difficulties she had encountered, but as everything turned out OK I decided to give it a go.

During the semester I am studying and working, so looking for an internship in the meantime would have resulted in nightmares and headaches. I preferred to leave it in the hands of professionals.

3. Can you tell us a little bit about the company / organization with which you are interning?

My internship is taking place in a Travel Agency called “Mar y Pampa”. It is a small company run by a family, they mostly occupy themselves with the inbound tourism, however also have trips available outbound, but these are not so popular. They are very active though, as every single week they organize trips around Argentina, mostly in the province of Buenos Aires, but also farther destinations, like Córdoba or Patagonia. Apart from the excursions, they do the city tours.

4. What have you been doing so far during the first few weeks of your internship?

I have been in Argentina for one month so far. At the beginning, the first week I was getting to know the city, route to work, and meeting people at work. In the second week, I was lucky to meet an owner of a travel agency, who offered me and my boyfriend work in the Peninsula Valdez office. There they specialize in the Whale Watching, and had two passenger boats. I was helping with the lifejackets, watched how the office is organized, and once went as an official translator during the cruise. The experience was amazing.

Back in the office in Mar del Plata, I research and plan the trips to new destinations, join the presentations of new destinations, and go to the Tourism Expo in Buenos Aires.

5. What do you hope to be able to focus on throughout the remainder of your internship?

I would like to concentrate on contacting London and the UK travel agents, and promote Mar del Plata. I am going to assemble all the holiday components, calculate the price and sell the packages. If they will not be interested, then try to persuade UK travel agencies to include Mar del Plata as a part of their holiday packages.

I have associated myself recently, here in Mar del Plata, with an NGO called “Surfrider Foundation”. Their mission is to protect the coastal environment, they run many projects in which I want to participate.

6. How do you believe this internship will benefit you in the future?

Very much so! The experience is so broad, that in the future I will be able to get a better job. The employers demand experience in the tourism field, and also independent trips and knowledge about the countries, apart from having a degree.

Another language is also a plus.

This experience will bring me more knowledge, about myself, life and the World. Not to mention how many new friends I will make, and the places I will see.

My next trip is in one week, I’m going to Buenos Aires for the International Tourism Expo, where I will accompany the Mar del Plata’s representatives of various travel agencies (including the one I am working for). Then right after the Expo I’m going to Rio de Janeiro for one week. Traveling around Latin America will broaden my horizons.

7. Do you plan to travel around Argentina at some point during your internship?

As I mentioned already, yes I do, absolutely! While I am here in Latin America I want to see and enjoy as much as I can. My plan is to travel up to Ecuador, through Bolivia and Peru. I am also going to cross over to Chile and travel around Argentina.

8. In addition to this particular interning experience, is there anything else about being in Argentina that you are particularly enjoying at present?

I enjoy everything here! The food is delicious: dulce de leche, medialunas, seafood, empanadas and the pastries from the confiterias…to die for! I hope I won’t put on weight here… I am also trying to be culturally active, so I went to concerts, visited the museums. I’m planning to go to the International Film Festival and the Iberoamerican Theatre Festival.

Apart from that, Mar del Plata is a city of 42km coastal line, so I’m enjoying the beach and walking along the promenade. I also intend to learn surfing, I bought a surfboard three days ago!

I joined an NGO here last week, that is protecting the coastal environment called “Surfrider Foundation”. I am looking very much forward to join their projects!

9. What advice would you give to someone wanting to intern in Argentina? How might he or she prepare?

I believe the language is a must. It is really hard to live in a country not knowing the language. Besides people are lovely here, so it would be a shame not being able to communicate with them!

Also save up some money to travel around. The distances are long, but it’s really worth it. In general be prepared financially, as the life is not as cheap as in Europe it is assumed.

Apart from this I don’t really have any other special advice. Just try to mingle up with the locals, don’t stay in your comfort zone, don’t call home every single day, don’t judge, don’t compare things with your country and do not criticize. Accept things as they are, or join associations, NGO’s or create a group to make the things change.

10. Is there anything else about the experience that you would like to share with us?

I was really lucky to live 2 minutes from the PractiGo coordinator. She showed me the town, the route to work, introduced me to many great people, gave so many advices! She is a really wonderful person and very, very helpful. She made me feel very welcome, without her the beginning would be harder in here, as in every new town.

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