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Once Erasmus – forever Erasmus

Once Erasmus – forever Erasmus

During my master’s degree, I realized that it would be interesting for me to gain more knowledge in the field of wine tourism. I believe that this is a tourism sector that has a very high potential for development in the future. And I would like to continue my future study in this field.

Portugal is one of the leading countries in the field of winemaking and wine tourism. I spent my summer semester on the Erasmus+ exchange program in Portugal. And I decided that staying after studying for an internship is a great chance for me to gain new experience and knowledge in the field of wine tourism.

In my opinion, an exchange internship is a great chance to test and try yourself in a new environment and gain new knowledge and experience in another country. Such an experience provides me with the development of professional skills and my personal qualities, which are very important for my professional growth.

When I decided to stay in Portugal for an internship, I sent my CV to several large wine companies.  And I received a response from the Porto Cruz company that they were ready to accept me as an intern. We discussed my responsibilities and signed a contract. I was excited because this is one of the most famous port wine companies in Portugal known all over the world.

The company’s activities are very broad. And I was invited to work at Espaço Porto Cruz. This is a project dedicated to the culture of port wine, combining modernity and tradition. The building is located in the city of Porto and consists of 4 floors. And I worked on the ground floor in a wine shop and at a wine tasting.

The company greeted me very friendly. On the first day, I was introduced to all the staff. I was given several sets of new work clothes. And I began to get acquainted with my work responsibilities. Everything was new around and I was a little shy, but the staff was very kind to me and helped me with everything. I also met my director and supervisor, who oversaw me.

My duties included a daily inventory of the store’s items, preparing the store hall for work, meeting clients at the reception desk, preparing and conducting various wine tastings for clients depending on their wishes, consulting customers in the store and providing information about the wine and wine culture in Portugal.

In the first days, I began to study the theoretical bases of winemaking and port wine production. Thus, in the first days of my work, I was able to advise clients on basic varieties of wine and port. Thanks to my colleagues, every day I learned more and more and by the beginning of the next week I was available to conduct basic wine tastings for clients on my own.

In the second week of my work, our supervisor conducted a large training master class on wine tasting for all new staff. It was very useful and interesting for me. I have deepened my knowledge of wine culture and wine production. I learned and tasted not only basic varieties of wine but also special collections. I became available to conduct more complex wine tastings for clients and could advise guests in more detail. On the third week of my internship, I was available to conduct wine tastings in combination with special sets of cheeses and chocolate.

During the two months, I have deepened my knowledge in the field of wine tourism and wine culture. I learned the process of wine and port production. I gained a lot of experience working with clients and becoming more adaptable in stressful situations. The coordinator always paid a lot of attention to me, helped me, and answered all of my questions.

I did not face any serious problems. All the staff were always very helpful and tried to assist me. Sometimes the problem for me was the language barrier. I could only communicate with the guests in English. But many of the guests were from Spain, Portugal or France and could not always speak English. I learned the basic phrases in other languages, but it didn’t always help.

We worked with a lot of people and sometimes I didn’t agree with my colleagues on issues regarding clients. But I tried to be flexible and non-confrontational, which allowed me to always negotiate. I also felt that I definitely improved my communication skills in English.

I also noted for myself the exchange of cultural experience. I noted that the Portuguese are very open and very friendly people. when you go somewhere you will definitely be greeted with a smile. I also always greeted our clients with a smile, not because I was told to do this. I wanted to always smile at people and be open with them by myself. Because the environment around me was conducive to this. And when I left this place, I left with the feeling that I had learned and grown a lot, both professionally and personally.

I would like to express my great gratitude to my University for such an opportunity that I was given. The exchange experience and internship are definitely one of the best and brightest moments in my life. I was glad to be part of the Erasmus “family”. Thanks to this experience, I felt how I became more confident in myself and grow as a person. I met new interesting people in my life who gave me a piece of their life experience, and I gave them mine. It was an invaluable experience for me, and I am happy that I got such an opportunity in my life.

Erasmus experience with warmth will remain forever in my heart.

Elizaveta Ibragimova
Fakulteta za turizem

Porto, Portugalska
Obdobje mobilnosti: julij 2022–september 2022

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