Erasmus trainee Nadine from Germany sitting in the library at the GetBloogingNi week and reading her book
My name is Nadine and I completed my four-week Erasmus traineeship in Belfast, Northern Ireland at the two companies “Trainingmatchmaker” and “Watson & Co. Chartered Marketing” which were founded by Trainer Christine Watson. Before the traineeship I had written a personal learning plan which included all of the goals I wanted to achieve during the four weeks in-company. In the following blog you can read what I achieved during my traineeship in Belfast.
Photography and Video skills
Together with my fellow trainee Krzystof from Poland I joined some Today at Apple courses (you can find them pisted on the trainingmatchmaker.com website). They took place at the Victoria Square shopping Centre. We chose three courses which we were interested in:  
  • Photography on iPhone
  • Recording Techniques with iPhone
  • Getting Started with iMovie
Every day we were tasked to take good photos and videos on the business IPhone for the business social media channels, so these courses were perfect for us! In the first course we learned how to take an optimal photo with the camera of an IPhone and how to edit it after. In the next session we went outside and tried to implement the skills we had achieved. The last course showed us how IMovie works and which options we have to make videos and add music. The free workshops were of short duration – around a one hour time investment each – I can say the courses were worth it and I improved my Photography and Video skills. Quik by GoPro is another useful editing tool that I was introduced to on my traineeship with Trainer: Christine. This free app helps you to create easily a short video out of your pictures. I created one video of my great time in Belfast at my placement as well as a video of a business event that Trainer Christine presented at.
Writing blogs
I finished my first ever blog – my Learning Plan where I detailed all of my Learning goals which I want to achieve during this traineeship. This Learning Log is my second blog I ever wrote. I also attended a Blogging Inspiration Session in Derry Central Library and heard from authors and bloggers as well as Trainers Christine and Tina.
Culture and Northern Ireland
I had added many places to my bucket list – places which I would like discover and/or experience during my stay. On my first weekend I explored the North of Northern Ireland as well as the coast. I visited the Giant’s Causeway, the dark hedges – a street with remarkable trees where some scenes of Game of Thrones were filmed, the Iron Islands – also a location from GoT and the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. This was an unbelievable experience that I think everyone should make! My trainer Christine also showed us Newcastle – where she grew up. We had time to discover the seaside town and to try the famous wheaten bread at the Cookie Jar Bakery which is famous for Irish wheaten bread. Another stop was café mauds where we tried the famous “Poor Bears” ice cream with Honeycomb. This visit also included a trek around Tollymore Forest Park, Dundrum and Clough Castle ruins and the Castlewellan Peace Maze. Krzystof and I also had the opportunity to visit the Belfast City Hall – a client of Trainer: Christine’s and we attended the free tour. It was a nice experience and I like the building very much. During the guided tour we were allowed to move upstairs the grand staircase and to get an insight into the history of Belfast and the council chambers.  Another great experience was the free guided tour through the Parliament Buildings at Stormont and CS Lewis Square. Whilst on traineeship I was introduced to the working culture and the concept of both working from home and working as a digital nomad – ‘on the go’ – this introduction to working meant that I got to visit and work productively from lots of coffee shops and libraries right across Belfast city and beyond! My time at Holywood Arches library during Book Week NI meant that I got to visit CS Lewis Square in the East of Belfast. My favourite library was Lisburn road library.
Training sessions and events
During my traineeship at “Watson & Co. Chartered Marketing” and “Trainingmatchmaker” I was really glad to have be able to join some training sessions and events. We had the opportunity to join the “Ulster Bank Boost” tourism opportunities business breakfast which took place at the luxury Slieve Donard Hotel in Newcastle. It was a business event with over 100 attendees. My task was it to take many pictures and videos to document the event and the presentation by Trainer: Christine. The #GetBloggingNI Blogging Inspiration Session for Libraries NI during Book Week NI and Get Online Week was another great event which was really interesting. I also attended a customer service training delivery at Hillmount Garden Centre in the Castlereagh Hills – a client of Trainer: Christine since 2010, a LinkedIn training delivery for Mallusk Enterprise Park and a social media marketing training delivery for the Lough Neagh Artisans in Rosehill House near Dungannon. But my favourite event was “the irish curry awards” which took place in Dublin and where we were in attendance to provide social media marketing support for blogger Lynne Crowther from Eating Ideas and her client Ali – the founder of the Irish Curry Awards.
Canva
Photos of Erasmus trainee NadineOn my first day of work I created the first graphic for Christine’s client Hillmount Garden Centre using canva for business. It was the first time I used this tool and I think it’s an easy way to create graphics for your own business. On the same day I had also the opportunity to teach the staff of Mallusk Enterprise how to create a new LinkedIN cover graphic using a canva template for their profiles. In the following weeks I had many chances to improve my competence using canva because I had to create different graphics for my trainer Christine and her various customers’.
Here is an example of one of the graphics I produced:
WordPress
Wordpress is a nice tool to build your own website. It is relevant given that both watsonsmarketing.com and trainingmatchmaker.com websites are both built on this platform. According to Forbes 75,000,000 websites worldwide were using wordpress in 2016. I had got my first short lesson in my first week with Geremia – a trainee from Italy, who taught me how to upload my own Learning Plan. After a subsequent deep dive with my trainer Christine Watson (in a coffee shop over coffee) I am now proficient at uploading blogs and at changing website content. I was working on the blog “Navigating the Tourism EcoSystem of Northern Ireland” alongside my Trainer: Christine and I had to add hyperlinks throughout, for example for the Tourist Information Centres across NI.
Social Media
I also aspired to improve my skills in social media and the creative areas of marketing whilst on Erasmus. After this traineeship I am proud to say I reached this goal! During my placement I created and drafted many Instagram posts and stories. For this I completed some free online courses which I found listed on Trainingmatchmaker.com. Furthermore I joined the Social Media sessions directed by trainer Christine Watson, for example the LinkedIN training for Christine’s client Mallusk Enterprise. Because I don’t have a profile on LinkedIN it was really interesting to get an insight to this platform.
Google local guide
As part of my traineeship I became a Google Local Guide – a contributor to Google Maps. After my four-week traineeship I reached my goal and achieved the 4th level with 256 points as a local guide. I posted 30 pictures and I contributed 9 reviews.
English skills
Of course I strengthened my English writing and speaking skills. Sometimes it was a little bit challenging to talk to people in Northern Ireland when they had a strong accent. But after this traineeship and my stay at a host family it is easier for me to talk to other people as well as to understand them. Because of writing my blogs I am more confident to write in the English language too.

About me

Trainee Nadine Nipko from Germany sitting in the Mac Cafe on her first day of workMy name is Nadine and I am 21 years old. I live in Germany and currently I am doing an apprenticeship as a marketing communication clerk at the company “Stroer” which is mainly known for Out of Home Marketing solutions. In the future I would like to study business administration with the major subject “Marketing”. In my free time I enjoy meeting my friends, playing guitar and I love to travel. I am really glad that I had got the opportunity to do the Erasmus traineeship, to work abroad and to get to know a new country and culture.

About Erasmus

Erasmus (European Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students) is a Higher Education exchange programme for students, teachers and institutions, run in Germany by Arbeit und Leben Hamburg who have worked with Intern Europe in Belfast to find me my accommodation and traineeship opportunity. Basically, it’s a chance for universities and students across 33 countries to mingle, learn new skills and expand their horizons. Over two million students have done Erasmus since it first started in 1987. Of course it isn’t all about socialising; Erasmus gives students the chance to study, do a work placement or work as a language assistant in another European country during their time at school. You don’t have to be a language student to get involved either; as long as your university or school offers Erasmus for your subject, you can do it. There are different kinds of Erasmus – you can stay abroad for few weeks, few months or for a year.I decided to stay here for four weeks. I think the Erasmus programme is a perfect way to get know a new culture and a different daily working life. It was an amazing experience and I think everyone should take this chance.
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