Finally an update from beautiful Tunisia! My fifth week has just come to its end, meaning that I have been at Oriflame Tunisia for about a month now. I can still remember how slightly nervous I was before my first day and the time when I actually did Ramadan light here (only drinking, no eating before 7.43 PM) and it certainly feels like another era here.
My days at the office nowadays start at 9 AM and I finish around 4.30 PM. Even though I have my own project and questions that need to be answered, I always have more than 40 colleagues who are always ready and there to answer any question about the company that I might have. Especially the management team (Marketing, Sales, Operations and Finance) is a great support for me, and the last week I had a lot of discussions with Emira, who is head of Marketing. I really enjoy how I can see how things that are being discussed actually getting executed - and that quite fast - at Oriflame Tunisia. I like how I can discuss my ideas with the management team, and know that I could actually - with permission of course - try some of them and get literally practical experience, instead of just be a little, tiny part of something which's result I would never get to see with my own eyes. That, I would say, is absolutely one of the most fun things with my internship at Oriflame, and something I believe that few companies can offer an intern.
Oriflame ground floor
So - last week was spent with the customer service, cashiers, in the warehouse and by interviewing all the staff at Oriflame Tunisia, since one of the questions I have is how we perceive ourselves. Another example of one of my tasks is to do a SWOT analysis and several questions about customer service; how the consultants perceive us, what we can do better, online/offline etc.. That is why a great part of last week also went to collecting material for my questionnaire, make it and to translate it into French (not the best of the languages I speak, even though it has become significantly better here).
Me (in front of my computer) with Marwa who is responsible for claims on phone and of the walk-in customer service at the ground floor - it is important for me to take my own initatives and not be shy to talk with people and ask them to tell me about what they are doing and ask questions
There was a total of 6 people coming with feedback and who wanted to make certain changes, until I finally (!) launched it today. It is the first questionnaire that Oriflame Tunisia hands out to its consultants, so it is very important that everything is just.... perfect. And it of course feels great to have been trusted with the responsibilty to create that one, make sure to collect enough answers and to analyze it :-)
I feel quite relieved now that the questionnaire is launched both online and offline, which means that I can focus on collecting answers and doing more analysis during the week - and prepare for my presentation. Deadline and presenation is next Friday. I know I wrote in the beginning that I would try to finish in a couple of weeks - but I realized quite fast that this kind of project you do better if you do it really profoundly, and that there is always more that can be done and more material that can be collected.
The guys working within the operations team in the warehouse - super friendly and always taking good care of me when I'm visiting/disturbing to ask them about everything from how the back office process works to what they think are the company's greatest strenghts and threaths ;-)
Outside of work, I have been taking standard Arabic lessons - and am proud to announce that I now know the alphabet and can read and write (!!!) - at an 8 year old's level then, of course. It's an amazing feeling when all these strange Arabic letters turn into something that finally makes sense. I did military service as interpreter and interrogator in Russian before, and have always been curious about the challenge that those who studied Arabic faced (there was always an argument, and still is, which language that was hardest to study, since we were eliminated if we didn't pass the weekly exams and always had 400 - 600 new words and grammar/week). I still know a bit too little about Arabic to compare with Russian, but I can say for sure that Mandarin Chinese (which I studied when I lived in China) is way more complicated to write and also harder to pronounce and speak anyway. So there you go, all fellow polyglots out there who must have wondered! ;-)
During the weekend I went with Safa and her fiance Rami to Safa's cousin's wedding in Nabeul and also swimming in Hammamet. Yesterday was fortunate enough a national holiday, so then we went to one of their close friends' engagement celebration, which was really nice and actually more like a pool party - Tunisia keeps surprising ;-)
The bride and her family enters
Me, Safa (MD assistant at Oriflame who really has become my best friend here in Tunisia) and her brother (who could be her twin) and her fiancé Rami (who then probably has become my second best friend in Tunisia) at the wedding on Saturday
On the beach in Hammamet, during my Sunday run
Tunisia is keeping to treat me well, which is due to a great internship and kind and amazing people who are "taking care" of me outside of work. I couldn't have had a better internship, and I realized today at the management meeting, how much I actually know and understand about Oriflame now, that I didn't when I started - and how I also have started to really care about the company.
Hope you guys enjoyed my small update (which takes longer than you think!), and that you keep having an amazing summer.
All the best and bisous from Tunisia,