Most Americans can’t place Romania on a map. Truthfully, until three months ago, I personally didn’t even realize Transylvania was in Romania.
But despite my geographic illiteracy, when the opportunity to intern for Around25 via AIESEC emerged, I jumped on this unique chance to work abroad and visit Cluj-Napoca.
From the beginning, the team at Around25 welcomed me with open arms and made my transition experience very smooth. I received my own company email address, got added to the group Skype, and met with Paul and Silvia to determine my needs and goals for this internship.
I even got a big welcome pack of snacks from Emi! I was immediately placed in Around25’s Business Development team and was given freedom to work on what I wanted. Within the first week, I was attending DevTalks as a representative of Around25 and listening to speakers talk about AI, VR, and blockchain. Talk about jumping in head-first.
During my 3 months at Around25, my responsibilities were to help generate leads and bring in new clients. For active lead generation, I reached out to startups and accelerators all around the globe, with a focus on the US, Canada, and Australia. For passive lead generation, I worked on portfolio items and adding client reviews to our company Clutch page. In addition, I worked on case studies for the Around25 website and revamped the company Instagram.
One of my favorite parts of working with Around25 was how I got to shape my own internship. I was given considerable freedom in determining what I wanted to do in terms of business development, as well as my approach.
At the beginning and end of every week, we had an intern meeting, where we went over our weekly goals and progress. During these meetings, I had the opportunity to bounce my ideas off others and talk about what worked and didn’t work. These meetings helped me stay focused and innovative. Paul, Silvia, and everyone in the Around25 team was very responsive and open whenever I had questions or needed their help for a project.
In addition, I was a big fan of the culture and environment fostered at Around25; the open office plan and comradery of the coworkers made coming into work something to look forward to. I tried to capture these moments of my internship through photos, some of which you may see posted.
For the duration of my internship, I was lucky enough to work with another fellow intern from Germany: Simon. Throughout our internship we’ve become fast friends, roommates, travel buddies (thanks for putting up with my snoring, buddy!). At Around25, we’ve both even managed to break stereotypes: Simon has a sense of humor and I suck at ping pong.
Working and interning with a fellow international was really nice, it made the first few transition weeks easier as we found our way around Cluj together. Once we became more comfortable with the city, we started weekend trips together. For our trips we’ve worked out a partner system; Simon handles travel planning and navigation while I handle photography.
What was especially great was that the Around25 family cared about more than just my professional experience in Romania. They wanted to make sure that my overall experience in Romania was wonderful. This involved taking Simon and I to events and landmarks. We got to experience an international film festival at TIFF. Darius drove us around for a day visiting the Turda Salt Mines and Roman ruins. Silvia showed us around at the Electric Castle music festival.
They also suggested visiting nearby Romanian cities like Brasov, Oradea, and Timisoara. Besides travel and events, the Around25 team took us out multiple times for Romanian food. Now as a hobbyist in eating, this was especially enjoyable for me.
Beyond my personal experience, one of the most striking things about Around25 is how involved the company is in the entrepreneurial community in Cluj. From hosting events to attending pitch competitions with its own startups, the spirit and innovation of entrepreneurship is part of Around25’s fabric.
It was fascinating to get an up-close view of the active startup community in Cluj. As a member of the Epsilon Nu Tau professional fraternity in college (ENT), I was quite embedded in the startup community of Ann Arbor/Detroit and had a longtime interest in entrepreneurship.
Seeing a foreign startup community firsthand was both surprising and fascinating. Surprising in how similar innovation can be despite being on different continents, and fascinating in how startup approaches change due to different locales.
Looking back, I’m very glad that I took this internship. I’ve gotten to hang out with other AIESEC international participants, visit cities in and outside of Romania, watch movies with an outdoor crowd, and dance at a music festival. I’ve gotten to meet incredible people and experience fantastic things. And yes, I can find Romania on a map now. Thank you AIESEC and Around25 for giving me such an amazing internship experience!
P.S. Check out Simon's article on the adventures we had in Romania, together with Around25!
P.P.S KFC is really, really good in Romania. Just sayin’.