Get Global

Creating together

Our students tell us about their ‘Ideas in Motion’ global internship in Kigali Rwanda. To find out more about our Global Internship opportunities, visit our website.

Anna tells us about the first week

Week 1

Switching to Rwanda Time

Hello, my name is Anna and I’m a 20-year-old Business Management student from Edinburgh! David, Borja and I are currently out in Kigali, Rwanda taking part in the ‘Ideas in Motion’ GEO internship.

After some eventful journeys (a 24-hour delay in Amsterdam and missing luggage in Addis Ababa) the three of us finally settled into Dignity Guesthouse, located in the south west of the city.

 

I am spending the next month working for a business called Altec Ltd, who primarily specialise in lightning rods, electrical cable supply and plumbing works. Over the past week I have shadowed several employees, which has helped me become more familiar with how the business operates. This has involved looking at invoices, reading over bids for several large upcoming projects, interviewing the managing director and his assistant, combined with visits to their factory, warehouse, office and shop. I have so far been impressed with how established the business is; with clients including the Rwandan Civil Defence, US Embassy and the Rwandan Aviation Authority and am really looking forward to working alongside my entrepreneurs Lucie and Manu over the coming weeks. David and Borja have been equally busy, David is working for a local wine company, and Borja is helping a coffee manufacturer. We have all been surprised by the laidback culture, and have quickly come to realise that a 9am meeting really means you’ll get a text at 10am telling you they’re on their way! All of our entrepreneurs have been so welcoming, inviting us to watch the World Cup games, attend dinners and even a bit of Karaoke on Friday night.

 

 

Rwandan’s have really nailed work-life balance, our first working week consisted of two bank holidays, allowing us to really start exploring the city. None of us have been to Rwanda before, so our first challenge was trying to navigate the busy roads and avoid being hit by the ‘Moto Taxis’- it seems pedestrian crossings are for decoration rather than use!

We celebrated Rwandan Liberation Day by the pool at Hotel Milles Colline, where the film ‘Hotel Rwanda’ was based, then spent the evening in the Nyamirambo district with fellow Dutch students from Groningen trying local foods such as brochettes, ibiyari and pili pili. David and Borja also spent a humbling afternoon at the Belgian Soldiers Memorial, situated just two minutes walk from our Guesthouse. This weekend we are going to spend some time with the local children at Root Foundation (where two of last year’s interns worked), and visit the Genocide Memorial Centre to try and understand a little more about Rwanda’s past. At the boys request we are also going to have to try and find a local bar showing the England game on Saturday; the enthusiasm for football out here is next level- and some locals were kind enough to buy us a drink after England’s victory against Colombia when they realised we were from the UK!

None of us can believe how quickly our first week has gone, and we are so grateful to have been given the opportunity to spend some of our summer out here. Now that we have finally adjusted to ‘Rwanda time’ we can’t wait to see what the next few weeks may have in store!

Week 2

Borja tells us about week 2

GETTING USED TO LIFE IN KIGALI 

 

 

The second week at Kigali, Rwanda, began as the first one finished; with the whole group enjoying the incredible experience that we are all living here in central-Africa. It needs to be said that we have all experienced a change; a change from the first week where everything was new for everyone to a period of beginning to get use to our new life here. We feel safer and used to the city and that helps to increase even more the relax and happiness of the whole group.

During this week, David with his wine company has been working on the design of a website as they did not have one yet. Anna has been in charge of analysing the market in which her company is involved; analysing competitors and recent trends, while I have been updating the business plan of my coffee company as well as designing new flyers to be distributed to potential customers.

 

 

All this work that we are making for our companies is helping us develop different business and management skills; David is getting use to work with different software  systems that he did not know before,   Anna is developing a new and more productive way of market research and researches in general and I am learning incredibly about business plans in general and how to develop the general approach of the company and its objectives, developing also new marketing and flyers design skills.

Generally, we have all experienced the differences between the way European countries Rwanda work. These differences can be clearly reviewed in differences in punctuality; we are therefore getting used to wait for half and hour or even more for the different meetings with entrepreneur and staff that we are having. These differences can be seen in restaurants as well. Moreover, linked to that, we are experiencing a slight lack of productivity as well; it is easy to find on many businesses one person working and five people just looking at how he/she works instead of giving a hand. This is something that we have seen as a clear cultural clash to which, after two weeks in here we are all beginning to get used to.

 

 

Finally, apart from each one´s work on the different projects, during this week we have spent the afternoons after work, living unforgettable experiences. It all began on Saturday meeting the very nice children of the Root Foundation (NGO who makes and excellent work helping street children by teaching and playing with them) with whom we spent the day playing and dancing. Moreover, we have learnt a lot about the Rwanda´s history in general by visiting the Kigali Memorial Centre and two churches where many people suffered the horror of the genocide (these places made us think about what went wrong with humanity to let these things happen and made us wish similar things won’t happen ever again). Additionally, the Kigali Natural Museum (Kandt House) allowed us to see diverse animals like snakes and even a crocodile! Finally, we have not missed the opportunity that the Kigali´s cheap prices were offering us, therefore, we have made a “tour” through the city bars and restaurants enjoying really good local and European meals.

 

 

 

We all hope that the coming weeks will be as awesome as the last!

Week 3

David tells us about week 3 in Kigali

 

 

Our third week in Rwanda began with a trip to Lake Kivu in which we stayed there for the weekend. The journey took around 4 hours each way which when packed into a small minivan driving around mountains rather than being able to get from a to b like the UK was slightly tedious in comparison Western Europe’s roads. Although regardless of all this the constant driving up and down of these mountains was worth it alone for all the breath-taking views throughout the whole journey.

 

 

Once we had arrived we went off and started exploring the area, walking along the beaches passing many weddings on the way. We began to walk towards the direction of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and once we got to the border you could look into another country which regardless of what that country is, is always fun to do. On the night time we headed off to different bars meeting many of the locals and getting involved with their culture especially the way in which they like to blow off steam.

 

 

On the Sunday we all went on a boat trip taking us around the lake showing us views of the active volcano in the distance as well as over looking into D.R Congo and learning about the methane gas breakout that effected the residents of Lake Kivu, explaining how the gas is being collected to generate power.

After being away for the weekend we have all been a lot more work orientated than the previous weeks. We have all been working on our individual projects in a lot more depth, being in frequent contact with our entrepreneurs. With Borja learning and helping with documents he has never had to encounter before e.g. grant applications. Anna has had many meetings with her entrepreneur and has been continuing with her research work, whereas myself have been finalising the website for my entrepreneur and figuring out the next step e.g. making the website go live.

 

During the week we visited Kimironko market which is the busiest market in Kigali, selling items such as fruit, vegetables, fabric, clothing, shoes etc. The market was nothing like anything we have seen before with crowds of people trying to draw your attention to every stand, with so much crammed in such a small radius. As previously pointed out to us every stand in each section of the market sell exactly the same items which you don’t realise until you are around 10/15 different souvenir stand all selling identical products, which makes it very hard for each business to differentiate themselves from one another.

Finally, the more we are seeing of the country the more we are loving it, there is so much going on in this country with development all over the city and is noticeably trying to expand further into the countryside. The main difference that we all find when working in Rwanda as opposed to the UK is the speed at which people do things. There is very little urgency to get things done, which when coming from a place where speed is a necessity it increases your patience. For example, when responding to my entrepreneur it takes on average a day to get in contact, even when they have the tools to reply straight away they don’t, which is one of the main reasons the development is needed in both the infrastructure but in the ways in which objectives get achieved.

Week 4

Anna, David and Borja tell us about their final week with Ideas in Motion

 

Anna

The past four weeks have gone so quickly and I can’t believe we leave Kigali on Sunday evening! I have loved every moment, and will definitely miss the relaxed lifestyle over here.

My last week has been spent finishing off a lengthy report for my entrepreneur on the current Rwandan business market and their competitors, as well as innovative new marketing strategies and cash flow management techniques they could adopt. I also used an online software to design new business cards, flyers and interactive visuals for the business.

My entrepreneur was especially impressed by the software, not only is it free and very easy to use but it also looks professional, as business in Rwanda is becoming increasingly digital I’m hoping my entrepreneur will be able to take really good advantage of this and use it to improve her businesses online presence!

This weekend we are planning to climb Mount Kigali and after a month of convincing, David and I have finally managed to persuade Borja to come for a rooftop cocktail at Ubumwe Grand Hotel which has insane panoramic views over the city.

For anyone considering this internship I would absolutely recommend it, it has been such a unique opportunity to not only improve my understanding of business but also travel and explore a completely new culture. Say ‘yego’ to everything you can and never turn down a brochette and SKOL.

 

David

From working with Karisimbi Wines, I have been explaining and demonstrating the impact at which digital marketing can have upon organisations especially new start-ups. In my first meeting with the company I had to help them identify elements that were missing on their branding and how to make the brand look more professional and appealing to consumers. Whilst my knowledge in the wine industry is very minimal I was still able to pick out basic information which was missing e.g. Percentage, manufacturer etc. I had to research major brands as well as local competitors to see how these brands were successful and how to apply their digital branding techniques to Karisimbi.

Once they saw how effective different types of digital media can be, they assigned me to creating/designing their website as well as helping with the rebranding of the company. I believe that by developing a website for the organisation as well as developing other digital marketing channels e.g. social media, will help their future goals of expanding throughout Rwanda. Throughout this process I have learned new skills such as using new programmes and software that I had never came across prior to this internship.

Overall this internship in Rwanda has opened my eyes to how different tasks are carried out, outside of Western Europe. It has also shown the difference in attitudes to succeed and the urgency at which this passion is expressed.

 

Borja

Last week in Kigali! I cannot believe that our time here has gone so fast!

Our last week in Kigali started with a weekend that we probably will never forget. On Saturday we enjoyed a very interesting guided tour (guided by a women association who helps Rwandan women and equality) through one of the most populous areas of Kigali (Nyamirambo) and then we headed by bus to Ruhengri from where on Sunday we were going to hike a volcano; Mount Bisoke.

It must be said that, apart from having to wake up really early and that the 2 hours 45 minutes going up and 2 hours down were incredibly exhausting (three days after we still felt the pain in the legs), those views from the top and the chance to hike literally through the jungle really deserved the effort and made it be an incredible experience.

Once back in Kigali we planned well our week as it was going to be the last one; therefore, during these days we have enjoyed a really good Indian meal, we discovered a small souvenirs market that we did not know before, some local restaurants where we tried the goat and a traditional fish and even a birthday celebration for one of the dutch students!

It has also been our last week working with our entrepreneurs.

In Braimpire LTD I have been trying to finish the list of tasks that I was given at the beginning of the month to be done. Therefore, during this week I have been developing a new logo for the company, trying to make it more visually appealing, I have finished some business plans that were left, I have updated the Company Profile that was a bit out of date and old-fashioned designed, and I have been creating some attractive pictures to be used in the website and the social media. All of these has helped me to develop further skills in designing and creativity that will be definitely very useful when working in further marketing projects.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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