An open mind and keen to help out with anything
Max studies Public Administration in Germany, and as part of his studies needs to do an internship abroad. According to him, when working for the government and public authorities you also deal with people’s welfare. Since he wanted to leave Germany’s cold winter, an NGO internship abroad seemed like a logical next step.
“It would give me new perspectives and experiences for my work back in Germany. I was looking for great spots anywhere in the world. Some of my friends did an internship in Cape Town, so I decided to also go there for an Events Coordination internship with Greenpop. It seemed like a great opportunity to make a difference and have a great time while chasing a bigger aim. The first contact was also great! I applied and had a very nice Skype conversation, which made me even more hungry for Greenpop, the people there, and Cape Town. And it was a great idea!”
From the beginning, Max told the team he would be happy to help with anything they needed help with. With the Platbos Reforest Weekends coming up, there was enough to do! He helped with coordinating, planning, and preparing these events. Apart from that, he also assisted with market research, direct marketing, and organizing the information evening at the office for people interested in coming to Greenpop’s annual Festival of Action in Zambia. It turned out, no week was like the week before! “There are often many different tasks coming up, so you need to try and solve the ‘problems’ efficiently. Sometimes it’s not easy to solve a problem quickly, but this is how you grow, develop and get better!”
Don’t underestimate the Events Coordination Internship beforehand
One of Max’s main tasks was to coordinating logistics around one of Greenpop’s biggest events for the year. This would mean arranging all the necessary elements to run the event, such as lighting, tents, security, etc. He also connected with partners and suppliers to confirm the necessary supplies for the festival. Looking back, he thinks preparations for the set-up and event itself are often underrated. It is essential to get all the necessary materials ready for the event. Well begun is half done!
Max went on-site one week before the festival started to help build, which meant assisting with structural builds and preparing the whole campsite. So, he spent the week working hard setting up tents, laying cables, and getting the electricity to work. He was making the whole space ready for two great weekends for people to enjoy their stay in the forest.
During both festival weekends, Max and the rest of the production team spent their time keeping the space running. For example, making sure there was enough fuel in the generator, the fires are burning, tents aren’t blown away, lights are working, etc. “What we did at Platbos Forest makes me proud. Setting up a festival with a great team and seeing how the people enjoyed it made me very proud to be a part of it! I can definitely call these sixteen days in the forest the highlight of my Event Coordination internship. It was hard work, but so much fun. The team was great, we did amazing work and I made some really ‘lekker’ friends!”
According to Max, the whole Greenpop team is just amazing! “Everybody appreciates and likes each other, which makes you feel good and ready to do a good job. If you have questions, you can just ask. It doesn’t matter who you ask; everybody will help you out! My supervisors were just as great, as I was always welcome to give my opinion or suggest another way of doing things.”
When we asked him what he learned during his Events Coordination internship? “First, I think I improved my English. It is still not the best, but it’s a lot better now. And I learned to appreciate leaving my comfort zone. During this internship, I had to do that quite a few times! But it has only brought me forward. I got closer to the environment I live in, and learned to take better care of it.” Max is not sure (or just being modest) if he made an impact or a difference. According to his supervisor, though, he was a “key role player in making our largest festival of the year a success. He gave great strength and much-needed energy to create a significant event.” So we would say YES… you definitely made an impact!
After his internship, he took some well deserved time off to travel around and explore South Africa before going back to Germany to do another internship. There is only one thing he would say if someone would ask him about the Events Coordination Internship with Greenpop: Do it!!
Photo credits header: Veronique Bayle Orban