It’s Never Too Late to Start Again: Interview with Foreigners’ Marketing Intern Leman Oktay

#ForeignersTeam Leman Oktay (originally from Istanbul, Turkey) decided to press pause on her career in architecture to pursue marketing. And because she had fallen in love with Brno during her Erasmus stay, she didn’t have to think twice about the location of her internship. As a PR & Marketing intern at Foreigners, Leman has gained experience in content and copywriting, social media management, public speaking, communication, and more. Learn about her story in this article.

Leman working in the Domeq lobby

Leman working in the Domeq lobby

 

Returning to Brno as a marketing intern

When Leman decided to apply for PR & Marketing internship with Foreigners agency, she hadn’t been exactly looking for one. The offer caught her eye for several reasons, mainly the location, the company’s friendliness, and the fact that it was marketing

“I had studied in Brno in 2018 on Erasmus and had fallen in love with the city. I always used to tell myself I’d return eventually. One day in 2021 I was scrolling down my Instagram feed and suddenly I saw that Foreigners, whom I had been following since my Eramus stay, was looking for marketing interns. It took me about two minutes to decide whether I wanted to apply. (laughs)”

After several long months of (ironically) visa-related struggles, Leman arrived in the Czech Republic in April 2022 and finally began her internship. Since then, she’s been working hard and gaining skills in the various aspects of Foreigners’ marketing, including content and copywriting, social media management, communication, and presenting.

 

From architecture to marketing (and back)

Leman used to be a PhD student of architecture before deciding to go in a slightly different direction.

“Architecture is a lot about theory and you can become very lonely and isolated in this field. I also realised that I needed to learn more about the digital world. My goal in the future is to combine my skills in architecture and marketing.”

Leman believes that these days it’s necessary to master more than one discipline. Her intention to combine architecture and marketing makes a lot of sense as these fields have a lot in common and can heavily draw from each other

“My architecture background taught me to research and plan, which comes in handy when I’m writing articles. On the flip side, learning how to promote products will be useful to me in architecture. You have to know how to market your projects as an architect, especially if you decide to participate in competitions.”

 

Foreigners’ CEO Andrea with Leman during a live stream 

 

The value of Foreigners’ marketing internship

Foreigners’ PR & Marketing internship is meant to provide a well-rounded experience for those who wish to work or improve in PR and marketing. We accept both applicants with marketing education and applicants who are only just starting out or decided to change their profession, like Leman. All we’re looking for is talent, creativity, enthusiasm and the courage to get out of your comfort zone. 

When asked what all she learned during her time with Foreigners, Leman barely remembers it all, because there’s been so much.

“I learned about researching, writing, and editing articles and really improved my writing skills. I also learned about the technical aspects of social media. One of my favourite experiences during my internship was the organisation of live streams with Foreigners’ CEO Andrea Tkačuková. It gave me so much more confidence in terms of public speaking and presentation skills.”

As Foreigners agency is not a huge company, we sometimes have to help each other across our positions. In Leman’s case, this meant taking care of the reception at the Foreigners Brno office for a couple of days as well as sitting at the Domeq reception at the end of her internship when the receptionist fell ill. She values these experiences, as they allowed her to switch gears and do something else for a while aside from sitting at a computer and writing.

Working at the Domeq reception has been a lot of fun! It’s allowed me to improve my communication skills. I’m actually thinking about maybe getting a part-time job as a receptionist in the future! (laughs)”

 

Next stop: University of Sussex 

Once Leman’s internship is over, she has big plans for the future. She had been accepted into a one-year Master’s programme in Marketing and Consumer Psychology at the University of Sussex in Brighton.

“I can’t believe I’m going to be a student again. I suppose my education will go on forever. (laughs) I’m really excited. The programme focuses on both psychology and marketing and I believe it will give me a great foundation for working in social media in the future.”

As she says, the ideal next step would be to find a marketing position in a company that deals with architecture, real estate, or construction, so that she can use all of her knowledge and skills. She’s planning on staying in the UK after she finishes her studies, but she’s not anxious about moving again if the opportunity arises.

“My dream job is to become a freelancer. I would love to be a digital nomad for a while. I enjoy being free, getting to work in different places, and always improving myself.”

 

Foreigners team saying goodbye to Leman

Foreigners team saying goodbye to Leman

 

Czechia, Brno, Domeq

When it comes to working for Foreigners, Leman has enjoyed its friendly environment and appreciates that she hasn’t felt unsafe or isolated at the office. The same goes for her feelings about Czechia in general and Brno specifically.

“Expats are sometimes vulnerable but I never felt vulnerable here. I was also able to not ‘get stuck’ in the Turkish community. For the first time, I’ve been able to really communicate with Czechs and I’ve found them really nice, especially here. Brno is such a great city – much more slow-paced than other cities. People know how to have fun and socialise.”

When it came to choosing where to live during her internship in Brno, Leman opted for the coliving complex Domeq, built by CTP, and operated by Foreigners. Its international community allows all kinds of foreigners – including Leman herself – to feel right at home.

“There’s always someone there to help you if you have a problem – be it the reception, the security or the maintenance. I really enjoyed using the lobby and taking walks in the garden along the Ponávka river. I would definitely recommend Domeq to others.”

When asked about how she’d sum up her Foreigners internship experience in 5 words, Leman described it as fun, unique, informative, horizon-broadening, and friendly. And we’re very glad she’s enjoyed her time with us. She has been a valuable addition to the Foreigners’ PR team and she’ll be sorely missed here.

 

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Reminiscing on Leman’s work during her internship, Foreigners’ CEO Andrea says: “Leman was one of the most capable interns we ever had. Her attitude was amazing. She was always ready to learn new things, improve herself constantly and also help whenever needed. I love such interns because this is the only way to get the most out of our internship. I wish her a very warm ‘good luck’ for her next adventure in the UK. You will always be welcomed in Brno, Leman!

Foreigners’ Content Marketing Specialist Tereza worked directly with Leman, often supervising her tasks and editing her writing. She says: “Leman was a delight to work with. She was always happy to learn something new and she wasn’t afraid to ask for more. I was also impressed by her hunger to learn more about Czech culture while she lived here even though she knew she’d be moving away. I will miss her kind smile around the office.”

Leman became an instant favourite with the whole team due to her positive attitude and sunny personality. We wish her all the best in her next adventure. 

Are you interested in applying for PR & Marketing Internship at Foreigners? Check out the details and requirements on our career page and contact us! We look forward to meeting you!

Tereza Walsbergerová

Hello! I'm Tereza and I'm a wordsmith and literature nerd from Brno. Although I was born and raised in the Czech Republic, I know all too well from my time living in Texas what it's like to be a "stranger in a strange land." I am excited to share all kinds of information with y'all!

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