My Erasmus + traineeship in Bordeaux is a valuable experience for my future career and personal growth. I’ve spent 3 months in a Museum of Wine & Commerce in Bordeaux, working in an international team with multicultural public. My main responsibilities were to welcome tourists at the reception, explain them what to expect from the visit and make the presentation of the wine-producing zones of the region, followed by the tasting of 2 or 3 local wines. Sometimes I also made the guided tours of the exposition and the wine-tasting master-class with 5 wines and a detailed explanation (2h).
Thus I’ve learnt a lot about the region, it’s geography, climate, types of soil and grape varieties, local wine makers, wine merchants, wines and how to promote an area through its product. I’ve also acquired an expectedly good skill of public speaking, self-organization, responsibility and critical thinking. Sometimes, there were too many visitors (130 persons per day) and not enough employees to serve all (3 or 4), so I have experienced work under pressure and quite stressful overall conditions.
Working environment in the museum was very international. I collaborated with other trainees from all around the world and we had tourists from dozens different nations. It was an amazing experience of intercultural communication and co-operation. I’ve enhanced a lot my level of English, Italian and French, the official language of inner interaction at the workplace.
Together with the staff, we experienced several big events of the city, such as Vin Expo, Fête du Fleuve and Les Epicuriales festival, where we represented the museum. That was very useful in terms of organizational, planning skills, flexibility and it was quite fun. We also had numerous team activities, dinners, parties and spent a lot of post-work time together, which gave us an excellent team spirit.
However, in the end of the traineeship I started to realize that for the higher management of the museum we were not considered as rightful human beings but more as a free workforce. There was some inequality in treating the trainees, not based on their professional performance but on personal preferences. One thing I found quite incorrect is that at some point personal relations were affecting the working process.
Anyway, I found this experience incredibly useful for my future career. I have acquired a lot of practical skills and specific knowledge useful for the sector, I feel much more self-confident and I know what exactly I could do as a job. I have also learnt some strategies of touristic destination promotion through its products, which is very useful for my thesis. Furthermore, this traineeship has enlarged my personal and professional network that could definitely help me in finding a job in the future.
I would like to thank SEND for this opportunity and their staff for being always available, fast to respond and ready to help.
Ekaterina Ufimtseva, MA Student at University of Macerata.