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The experience of a Chinese intern from our area

Yuren Zhou is a Communication student in the U.S., and this summer got his internship remotely with Katheti. In 2021, Katheti began a collaboration with the University of Illinois to offer remote internships to its students. A collaboration that will continue in the future and is very important. These people get to know our area and Greece through Katheti and act as their ambassadors in their place of study but also in their place of origin, which can be anywhere in the world. So, let’s see what is the experience of a Chinese intern from our area and how he describes his first contact with Greece:  

The romantic Aegean Sea, the legendary epic of Odysseus, the grand Parthenon temple… If you were to count out 10 things from Greece with your fingers, you certainly need dozen more hands. Greece, when I talked about these beautiful, islands of the thousands, come to mind with a sense of sacredness and… delicious yogurt. Besides its legendary and mythical stories, it’s a country that rather feels distant and unknown for a Chinese undergrad studying in the States.  

Even before attending the university’s virtual Greek studies program, I had never dreamed that one day I would luckily experience an actual “Greek life” during the summer holiday, though remotely online. But with a surprising intern opportunity that showed up in my college life, I grasped it as tight as I can. This opportunity led me here to the Katheti family. The non-profit organization that advocates improving the local environment and highlights the importance of culture in locals’ life through various social activities. Just by scrolling Katheti’s webpage, I felt like that I am provided with a sacred chance to improve the lives of the locals, especially from the perspective of a foreign student.  

The first aquaintance

Fortunately, I was eventually selected by Katheti. I received an email from Fay, one of Katheti’s founders and also the intern manager, that informed me to meet her for the intern debrief. For me, my brain suddenly surged with adrenaline the second I received her email. I still remember Fay’s warm-hearted face that popped up immediately after we met on zoom. Honestly,

Fay is the first actual Greek I have ever met in my life. Her image crushed any of my preoccupied schema of Greek people. She always smiles and might laugh out loud sometimes in the meeting; she also would dress casually as if we were about to hang out in any seconds… All in all, my previous nervousness was dissolved as we progressed and interacted further in the meeting. I am very glad to, fortunately, have her to be in charge and be the manager of my first internship. 

Our working progress

My first task in Katheti is to provide feedback for Katheti’s website, blog, and multimedia channels, such as YouTube and Facebook. I understand that Katheti desires to see the opinion from a younger generation towards the channels to demonstrate and market themselves. That also opened up a window to speak out my novel and unique thoughts. When I finally shared my ideas with Fay, she was quite surprised by some of my novel ideas. She responded with both satisfaction and uncertainty. Still, I appreciated that Fay addressed such uncertainties immediately before we conduct future tasks, which hugely improves our working progress.  

Besides short-term and regular tasks, Fay also introduced me the final project over the two months of internship. That is to write the internship experience and compose a video wrapping up Katheti’s summer. Since then, after each time I finished meeting with Fay, I always kept recording the meeting and assignment details in my journal. 

Project Resound workshops

Time flies. After weeks of regular work at the Katheti family, I would be participating in Ec(h)o’s Project Resound in the next following weeks, to help construct a platform for local experience providers in the area of Poros, Methana and Troizinia. Unlike the tasks given by Katheti, that of Project Resound were highly compact in a short two weeks of the time. That why it required participants to attend regular working sessions every morning. That sounds like a tremendous time attack for a person who studies during the day and works at night. As my passion for my work arose, it was instead transferred into my working energy.  

New skills and challenges

I also learned many business-related skills via numerous interactions with my colleagues. My colleagues were generally already graduated from university and have proper jobs. To me, they are far more mature and experienced in the aspect of remote work and dealing with business relationships. In addition to the skills acquired, I also faced challenges that were way out of my range of skills. For a communication major, tasks like estimating ROI (return of interest) in a few days seems to be a “mission impossible”.  

I struggled for a few days to explore the mechanism of ROI calculation and online marketing strategies. I eventually extracted the information I need for the final presentation held on July 26th. In front of dozens of audience, I successfully presented the part that I thought I was never going to finish. Along with applauses, hoorays, and smiley faces, the big rock in my heart eventually collapsed and was instead replaced by self-confidence and experience.  

As I am typing on my laptop, it is already approaching the end of my internship. During the short two months of intern experience, Katheti, Project Resound and I all shared numerous unforgettable memories that grind my experience as an intern and student.  

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