With my final exam finishing on Thursday afternoon, I rushed back to try and move out of my Selly Oak cave, before my begrudging lift home arrived (in the form of my dad). Having only had one day to organise and hopelessly pack for the next 8 weeks, I checked in at Heathrow Saturday afternoon. Upon arrival, I was delighted to find that a system error meant my name was incorrect – however, after sheepishly handing over my mismatched boarding pass and passport at the gate, I was off!
After a somewhat eventful taxi journey, I arrived at my apartment.
The next morning I proceeded to try and do some food shopping. A local man, who on gathering I was from England seemed to forego the use of the barcode scanner and compute the prices himself – I was charged somewhere in the region of £30 for water, bread, and milk.
After an imaginably bleak dinner, given my limited shopping experience, I settled down to contemplate my new surroundings. My concluding thoughts on my first 24 hours are as follows:
• I must source a barcode scanning supermarket.
The next day I woke up early, and hobbled to work in an unsuccessful attempt to minimise my blister accumulation – thanks to my new shoes. Arriving at work was a relief in many ways; not only because I was able to talk to people in English at last. Firstly, I was introduced to the department who were incredibly welcoming, and I was given a particularly nice office. I then met two other interns, from Casablanca and neighbouring Rabat respectfully. We had a very amusing chat about my culture-shock moments so far and they gave me tips about living here whilst we ate lunch. After work, my colleague showed me a supermarket where I could buy everything I needed (and pay barcode prices). I then managed a much more successful taxi journey home and ended the day feeling a lot more settled.
Day 2, myself and my fellow interns had a presentation on GSK’s company structure, (both globally and the North African region), which was very insightful. I then spent the next few days attending brand planning meetings for various departments and getting to grips with the accounting systems used here. Day 4 and I got my company laptop. I proceeded to successfully lock myself out of the system within an hour and instigated a lengthy reset process. However, by the afternoon I was very much online and received a variety of tasks from my department director, which took me through to the end of the week.
I finished the week going for drinks with my colleague and then spent the weekend drinking mint tea and exploring the local area. I paid a visit to the famous Hassan II Mosque before facing the reality of cooking, cleaning, washing and ironing. Despite the myriad of obstacles I seem to have faced this week, I end it feeling very much at home and looking forward to the next 7!
By William Preston