"I was sick of not finding an interesting job where I lived!"

25.08.2009

Géraldine Couvreur, from Belgium, headed to France for a three-month-internship at a famous TV channel, and ended up with a fixed term contract in the company she had always dreamt of working for. In September 2008, 24-year-old Belgian Géraldine Couvreur, who had just graduated in journalism, was looking for a job but was frustrated by the lack of vacancies in her region. Surfing the website of her local public employment agency, FOREM, she saw that EURES was offering the possibility of internships abroad. Immediately excited, she applied straight away.

Géraldine quickly got an offer – and not just any offer: just one month later she would start working in Paris as an editor in the programme communications services of Canal+, the French TV channel where she had always wanted to work.

As soon as she received the offer from Canal+, she contacted her local EURES Adviser, Nicolas Dardenne (whose details she had found on the FOREM website), for help with the administrative aspects of her move. She ended up meeting him several times before leaving, and he explained the whole application process to her.

Nicolas prepared all the administrative work and helped her beyond his EURES adviser’s role; he made sure Géraldine would be clear on the social security side and notably that her internship would be assimilated as a “stage d’attente”, compulsory in Belgium for a recent graduate before being able to receive the unemployment fees. Géraldine just had to sign the final documents. At the end of her stage, Géraldine would also receive a certificate – signed by her EURES Adviser, her placement supervisor and herself – detailing in full the tasks undertaken and the skills she developed during the internship.

“Nicolas also gave me a EURES brochure before I left, which offered me very comprehensive information about France. Though it was not really necessary in my case, as I had already spent a year in Paris during my time at university, it would have been invaluable for people who didn’t know Paris as much as I did.”

When she arrived in Canal+, Géraldine was immediately hooked: “I had the coolest job. My role was to promote Canal+ TV programmes to the media, which meant watching exclusive TV series and documentary films, and writing briefing article for journalists.” She also created more general press kits for TV magazines, especially on the series broadcast exclusively on the channel. Géraldine was combining two of her dreams; living abroad in a beautiful city and working for Canal+.

On the social side, although she initially thought that Parisians were not very easy to approach, she had no problem finding friends: the company employed many interns who rapidly become her friends. She also very much enjoyed the flourishing cultural life offered by the French city. But what Géraldine will definitely always remember about her French experience is her attendance in February 2008 at the Césars (the French Oscars) where she came across both Sean Penn and Diane Kruger, and got to nose around behind the scenes.

Géraldine’s experience was a real example of how flexibility can lead to greater things – “I felt very proud to tell others where I was working, and still do! I’ve just signed a fixed-term contract and, from July 2009, will be an official editor in the programme communications services. I couldn’t be happier.”

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