As every good story has an ending, my four-week Erasmus traineeship abroad has ended today and that’s why I warmly welcome you to my last blog – the learning log of my traineeship abroad in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

This is me.

My name is Michelle Bichler and I’m from Bad Ischl in Austria. Currently, I’m 20 years old and completing my second year of an apprenticeship as an industrial clerk at KTM AG in Mattighofen in Austria.
I have now completed my four-week traineeship at Watson & Co. Chartered Marketing and Training Matchmaker founded by my Trainer Chartered Marketer Christine Watson. My work place for the last few weeks is called ‘Creative Space’ – it’s located on the 6th floor of Belfast Central Library. At the beginning of my traineeship, Christine and I talked about the many learning opportunities that I could choose from to develop my skills. I recorded the goals that I wanted to achieve during my stay in Belfast, Northern Ireland – you can have a look at them in my Learning Plan.
In the following blog, you can see what I achieved during my four-week Erasmus work placement at Watson & Co. Chartered Marketing and Training Matchmaker and which goals I have reached.

LANGUAGE SKILLS:

Through the contact with various clients of Christine, who works as a Chartered Marketer and Licensed WorldHost Customer Service Trainer, I was able to significantly improve my English skills. Even though the locals of Northern Ireland speak very fast, my stay abroad had made me more confident with my English skills, especially speaking.
During my first week abroad, I had to go to a language school where I learned some parts of the Belfast slang. It’s a quite funny slang to me and I heard lots of it during my stay, at work and Christine taught me some of their words too. Indeed she gave me a mug made by Jeff from Belfast Times – one of her friends in business – it has lots of different phrases printed on it.
For example, I thought ‘dead-on’ was used to say someone’s very serious, but I was totally wrong – it really means you’re cool!
Or do you know what the word ‘craic’ means? – First of all, I thought it means something like ‘moron’, but then I got taught that you use it in a phrase like ‘It’s good craic’ and that it actually means you’re having a fun or good time.
So, if you’re going to Northern Ireland you should really try and get to know some of their slang, otherwise it could happen that you don’t understand anything!

WORDPRESS:

WordPress is a web content management system. It was originally created as a tool to publish blogs but has evolved to support publishing other web content, including more traditional websites, mailing lists and Internet forum, media galleries, membership sites, learning management systems and online stores.
Due to my traineeship I had to write different blogs, so I learned how to use WordPress to write and publish blogs. After being shown how to use it I am very comfortable with it, I find it easy to use – the back end which you log in to kind of looks and works like microsoft word which I am very familiar with.

CANVA:

Canva is a graphic-design platform that is used to create social media graphics and presentations. The company has announced it intends to compete with Google and Microsoft in the office software category, with website and whiteboard products.
The tool uses a drag-and-drop format and provides access to over a million photographs and graphics. Thanks to my Trainer Christine who has signposted me to free training resources on Canva and my fellow Erasmus trainee, Romana, who has already used Canva before and kindly agreed to share her knowledge and experience with me, I learned a lot about the platform.
I really enjoyed working with Canva whilst I created a lot of different content to use for clients, social media and in private. This traineeship was my first time using Canva but I’ll definitely use in the future even if it’s for my company or just for my own content. You can find some of my canva creations on this very blog – the hexagonal banner for this blog was made by me in canva using a template which I could easily edit with my own pictures, colours and words.

INSTAGRAM:

When I started my Erasmus programme in Belfast, I already was quite competent at using Instagram on a personal level. But because of my traineeship at Watson & Co. Chartered Marketing I created a new public account called michi.belfast, where I uploaded posts of my blogs and work-experiences during my stay here.
An Instagram tool I never used before was to create a Reel. Christine taught me some tricks for creating some really nice Reels quickly using the ‘Use Template’ cheat (I liked it so much, I created some for my private account too).

TODAY AT APPLE:

One of my favourite pictures that I took on my iphone from the Today At Apple course ‘Photo Tour: Framing Architecture’.

I always wanted to improve my photo and videography skills. Thanks to Christine, who told me to have a look at the Today At Apple courses in the Apple store – I didn’t even know FREE courses like this existed – at Victoria Square shopping centre in Belfast City Centre. My colleague, Romana and I attended four of the apple courses, which were free for us as we’re iPhone owners.
It was Christine’s desire to grow awareness of learning opportunities such as these that inspired her to create TrainingMatchmaker.com in the first place!
The Recording techniques with iPhone course taught me how to make my videography look more professional and at the Photo tour: framing architecture course I learned many new skills about my iPhone camera and I discovered loads of functions I didn’t even know existed.
Two other Apple-courses which I can highly recommend are Photo skills: editing on iPhone and Photo tour: taking portraits on location.

WORLDHOST ‘PRINCIPLES OF CUSTOMER SERVICE TRAINING’:

Christine running the WorldHost customer service training workshop at Mallusk Enterprise Hub.

WorldHost ‘Principles of Customer Service Training’ is an interactive, engaging experience for your staff, covering real-world situations. Delegates can quickly apply their newly acquired skills and knowledge, so the customers feel the benefits, fast and at the same time, WorldHost training develops delegates’ transferable skills which they will be able to utilise for the rest of their lives.
As part of our traineeship, my colleague Romana and I were given the chance to complete the WorldHost ‘Principles of Customer Service Training’. This opportunity was kindly gifted to us by our Trainer Christine Watson, a licensed WorldHost Trainer as she was running an open access course during the period of our placement. I’m very thankful for the accredited learning that she gave to me, and I also got a certificate for successfully completing the training which I can now add to my CV!
To find out more about my experience at the 1-day WorldHost training programme check out my blog about the course: ‘Not Your Fault – Always Your Problem’ – The Principles Of Customer Service Training.

MYSTERY SHOPPING:

In the last week of my Erasmus traineeship abroad, I got the opportunity to be a mystery shopper and that’s such a funny kind of job!
But what is a mystery shopper? – Mystery shopping involves anonymously visiting businesses to check specific standards like, in my case, good customer service.
My colleague, Romana, and I went to three different shops and tested their customer service. We were looking for a specific item, which had to meet certain criteria, we had to purchase a coffee and needed WiFi access to work from there. Lastly, we visited for lunch. This task was an eye opener and because of my WorldHost training there were so many touchpoints that I reported back on in a constructive way to help the business to develop their customer service.

IRISH CULTURE:

My Mentor Christine, founder of Watson & Co. Chartered Marketing and Training Matchmaker, has loads of customers in different parts of Belfast and across Northern Ireland, so I got to visit many places for work like Newcastle and Bangor as well as many trips to Mallusk Enterprise Hub. Romana and I also got to the chance to work at some libraries like the Lisburn Road Library (there are 96 different libraries in Northern Ireland), at 2 Royal Avenue and at theatres with coffee shops like the MAC Belfast.
My top places to visit and things to see in Belfast:

Ormeau Park

  1. Ormeau Park – this Park was very close to my accommodation and definitely my favourite one
  2. Botanic Gardens
  3. Titanic Museum
  4. Belfast City Hall – I enjoyed a free 1 hour tour
  5. Ulster Museum
  6. The Big Fish – it’s official name is the salmon of knowledge and rumour has it if you kiss the fish you get it’s wisdom!
My top places to visit and things to see in Ireland (our Trainer advised us that Dublin is not so far away so we took a train ride down to this city and returned by bus on the same day):

Kinder-Bueno Bubble-Waffle from Cloud Nine in Dublin.

  1. Cloud Nine
  2. Dublin Castle
  3. Dubh Linn Garden
  4. Saint Patrick’s Hall
  5. Wall of Fame
The inhabitants of Northern Ireland are very friendly people and Belfast is such a beautiful city because of the buildings – they are different to ours – the architecture is more historical.

That’s an Irish Stew.

The Irish culture is rich in diversity and joy to discover. It includes myths, literature, music, dance, art, cuisine and language. The Irish cuisine is very different to the Austrian and sometimes my tummy couldn’t tolerate it that well, but some of the food isn’t even that bad. My favourite food was scones in a variety of flavours, like apple-blueberry or coconut-white chocolate – I even got to taste it straight out of the oven. I also sampled Irish stew and wheaten bread and given the bank of clients that my work host has delivered marketing mentoring or training to I got to sample lots of different coffee – my favourite was Roasty Toasty – they told us they use Bailies coffee beans in their ‘wee’ cafe. Wee means little in Northern Ireland!
 

ABOUT ME:

Erasmus trainee Michelle from Austria working from Ormeau business park south Belfast

That’s me, working al fresco at Ormeau Park in south Belfast on a sunny day in Northern Ireland.

My name is Michelle and I´m from Bad Ischl in Austria.
Currently, I´m 20 years old and completing my second year of an apprenticeship as an industrial clerk at KTM AG.
In my free time I go to the gym and love to spend time with my boyfriend and my best friends.
My impressions of Belfast were very positive – the buildings are beautiful, and the people are really nice. I really enjoyed my four-week stay abroad and had lots of fun to get to know the Irish culture and landscapes of Belfast, Northern Ireland better.
You can follow me on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

ABOUT WATSON & CO. CHARTERED MARKETING:

My Trainer Christine Watson.

Watson & Co. Chartered Marketing is a marketing consultancy and training company established in April 2005 by the multi award winning and industry experienced Chartered Marketer Christine Watson – my Trainer during my Erasmus work placement in Belfast.
Christine and her team of talented Chartered Marketers, SOSTAC Certified Planners and Licensed Trainers work with businesses to deliver creative and effective marketing and customer service solutions to achieve optimal results for them.

ABOUT TRAINING MATCHMAKER:

At Trainingmatchmaker.com you can find all different types of learning opportunities. Free or paid, online and Face-to-Face Courses, categorised by topics so that you easily and quickly find what you are interested in or a brand-new topic to inspire your next learning journey. Trainingmatchmaker.com exists to inspire learning.
Training Matchmaker was founded by my Trainer: Chartered Marketer Christine Watson. She has been a Licensed Trainer for over 10 years. Delivering training to over 1,000 individual clients herself personally, Christine understands first-hand the desire to have all seats on a training course filled as well as the juggling and time pressures of trying to develop a training business whilst at the same time delivering energetic training to delegates.

ABOUT ERASMUS:

Erasmus+ is the EU’s programme to support education, training, youth and sport in Europe.
The 2021 – 2027 programme places a strong focus on social inclusion, the green and digital transitions, and promoting young people’s participation in democratic life.
It supports priorities and activities set out in the European Education Area, Digital Education Action Plan and the European Skills Agenda. The programme also supports the European Pillar of Social Rights, implements the EU Youth Strategy from 2019 till 2027 and develops the European dimension in sport.

ABOUT INTERN EUROPE:

Intern Europe is a Belfast organisation working closely with European partners in delivering mobility projects in the framework of and Erasmus+ Lifelong Learning Programmes.
Intern Europe manages all aspects of participants’ mobility and work placements.  As part of their mobility programmes, Intern Europe facilitates work placements and arranges accommodation in self-catering apartments shared by participants from different countries, as well as homestay accommodation in local families.
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