While I am sitting in a cozy cafe in my neighborhood in Brooklyn, writing this blog, I recall how this journey started and my motivation to apply for this program exactly one year ago. I am Esma, currently located in New York and placed as a data analyst at Skanska. It has been 4 months since I moved to New York to pursue professional training and I can definitely say that it has been a fulfilling and purposeful experience for which my future self will be proud and thankful for. I would like to walk you through my journey and hopefully it will inspire you to jump into this next challenge in your professional and personal life.
One year ago, I decided to apply for the AADF Internship program and with the encouragement of my best friend I managed to send the application slightly before the applications were closed. Although I always wanted to experience living and working on another continent, I had many doubts and was not convinced if the experience would pay off in the end. Was it worth it to leave my job, family, and life in Tirana for 6 months? Would it be difficult to find a job when I get back? Would I get decent training? These were some of the questions crossing my mind at the time which were holding me back.
By mid-June I got the first invitation for the interview and sometime later the second interview. I was selected for the program. Amid uncertainty and excitement, I started the placement process of looking for a suitable company with the program coordinators in the US. During the process I had two interviews with Skanska and in October, an acceptance email indicated that the training would be pursued in the New York office starting in December. Having said that, an exciting chapter had just begun for me.
Moving to a new country is not easy and most of the time life does not play us the cards that we want. It may happen that the perception that we have about the city, or the workplace and the reality do not match. However, the beauty of this experience relies on the fact that during the way you get to know yourself better by confronting situations which you would not face in other circumstances.
For example, I moved to New York where I did not know anyone and managed to find accommodation. Trust me, this was the first important milestone in the big city.
The company where I work turned out to be a great match for me. Skanska is a construction company located in 28 cities in US and Europe and it has a data centric strategy to incorporate data in their decision-making process but also in the construction processes and models. During my traineeship, I have come across the latest technologies that the company applies which have given me a completely different perception on how technology and data can be incorporated into construction processes. I have met some professional yet so friendly and empathetic coworkers from whom I have learned a lot.
In addition, I have met new friends which have made this experience exceptional. This experience would not be the same if it wasn’t for the people I have met here.
And the city is so special. It is controversial and yet so exceptional. They say that you could live in New York your entire life and not eat in every restaurant, see every Broadway show, hit every jazz club, or live in every neighborhood. You never run out of new things to do, places to visit, or people to meet.
As a resolution after 4 months here, I would say that the journey has been a rollercoaster with many ups and downs. But I am thankful for the opportunity and the lessons learned on the way. My new year resolution is finally achieved, and I am looking forward to completing this traineeship and the opportunities that will come along the way.
One last word to all the readers. If you are considering applying for this program, don’t miss this opportunity. You will have a lot of questions and uncertainties in the beginning but eventually you will figure out the answers on the way.