18.05.2018. When you join Interholco for an internship, you will gain hands-on experience to develop what you learned into new skills that are important for your future work.
Many employers want to know whether you have what it takes to get the job done: can you work independently and still be part of a team? Can you communicate effectively, in writing and in person? When you participate in team activity, do you demonstrate flexibility? How do you react to criticism? Are you a problem solver?
Whether you choose to join Interholco to learn what forest management is all about or to put yourself to the test in trading and/or logistics, the key to a successful internship with us is extracting the maximum learning value from what you do. Keeping in touch with your mentor and other staff members will be the first step to building your future professional network.
Listen to Alexandre Kion, a French intern who joined us for 3 and a half months at our production site IFO, in Congo Brazzaville.
Hello Alex, why did you choose to join us in Congo?
AK I have lived abroad since I was very young and later on I continued to travel, including to several African countries. I study as a forest engineer with a specialisation in tropical forestry at the Gembloux Agro-Bio-Tech campus of the University of Louvain (Belgium), a famous international research centre. When my professor told me about the internship opportunity at IFO I did not hesitate!
So how did it go? What have you gained?
AK On a human level, my experience has been very enriching. In the village of Ngombé, where IFO is located, I soon made friends with several people. I really like the Congolese culture, the warmth and openness of the people are incredible. IFO staff showed me the ropes of my work in the field, taking me to the forest and showing me how data are collected for the forest inventory. Those data are key when wanting to study how the forest (and trees) are able to regenerate thanks to sustainable harvesting. Once back to IFO, I harmonised the figures, creating a database that makes analysing complex data simple, through an electronic tool. The tool is open source and already existed; I created a script to facilitate the analysis that comes after data collection; that was part of my thesis work.
What is the next step?
AK Thanks to my experience at IFO, I have refined the digital tool and will be able to discuss my thesis in the next coming months. It makes complex calculations simple, you only have to insert data and the tool spares you a lot of hard work. I hope that many in the forestry sector will find it useful. After my thesis, I would like to join a forestry company.
A piece of advice to prospective interns?
AK In a foreign country, things are not always the same as they are at home: in my case, internet connection was sometimes so slow, that I preferred to work late at night, to have less users connected to the Internet. Keeping an open mind is essential. But then, travelling is experimenting and that means, making discoveries. Where you think you will discover another country, you will discover who you truly are.