Focus on...

<b> Jobseekers – turn to EURES for information and advice! </b>

24-year-old Stephan is an Austrian engineering graduate with a life-long passion for photography. When earlier this year, Stephan was offered a five-month internship in a Hamburg-based photography studio, he figured it was time to put his passion and creativity into practice. His previous work experience within the architecture business had given him very little opportunity to develop his artistic skills, and Stephan was eager for the chance to use them, while gaining experience abroad. Germany therefore sounded like the perfect place, as it allowed him to fully concentrate on gaining new professional skills without having to worry about learning a new language at the same time.

As is often the case, however, the internship was offered on an unpaid basis, and living in Hamburg can be quite expensive. Things took a troubling turn when, shortly before his departure, the financial assistance he had counted on for his stay in Hamburg fell through. ‘I felt like my hopes were breaking into pieces when I first heard this!’, says Stephan, ‘Months of planning were in jeopardy ’. Stephan quickly had to start searching for new funding opportunities under severe time pressure, while not being sure where to look. The Austrian public employment service directed him to the IWE (International Workers’ Exchange), a network for workers interested in international and European mobility, where he happened to come across the contact details of EURES Adviser Günther Wilfinger.

EURES provided Stephan with concrete guidance on where best to look for funding opportunities. Stephan explains that at first he felt daunted by the amount of information and organisations he could potentially turn to in order to apply for maintenance grants. The problem for him was identifying those that were best to target and that were more likely to fund his internship. The expertise of the EURES Adviser eased the burden on Stephan and Günther gave him directions on the most suitable options. ‘For me, EURES acted as a helpful filter to find the right means of funding. Although at the beginning everything seemed difficult, turning to EURES was very helpful. After receiving Günther’s advice, I didn’t have to ask for help anywhere else,’ reveals Stephan. Finally, after about three to four weeks of phone calls and e-mail exchanges with various organisations, Stephan finally found enough funding to cover his stay in Hamburg.

Stephan is now in his last three weeks of training and is soon to return to Austria. Living in Hamburg has given him the chance to get in contact with many professional photographers from all over the world, and he is happy to have chosen this city as his destination. Had it not been for the financing EURES helped him to find, Stephen doesn’t know how things would have worked out. In the future, Stephan would like to return to study but is also interested in gaining more experience abroad – and will keep EURES in mind should he choose to do so!

‘My nature is to always find a way to do what I want to do, but it is hard to say what I would have done if I had not managed to secure funding. It has been a great help and I am very grateful that I came across EURES when I did!’

Text last edited on: 09/2010


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"Focus on…" articles are intended to provide users of the EURES portal with information on current topics and trends and to stimulate discussion and debate. They do not necessarily reflect the view of the European Commission.