Leadership Skills I Developed Through My Internship Abroad

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Imagine you’re going on an exchange. Which destination do you have in mind? What culture would you like to explore? How would you challenge yourself? What leadership skills would you want to develop? The list of opportunities is endless. 

By living a few weeks to a couple of months abroad, you have an incredible opportunity to develop yourself both personally and professionally. You can acquire important soft skills like adaptability, critical thinking, and complex problem-solving, which are considered to be the skills of the future

Ioannis Tsompanakis, an Economics graduate from Greece, went on a Global Talent internship in winter 2021 in Bucharest, Romania, for exactly this matter. He was happy to share with us his journey. Curious to know his story? Keep on reading.

© Ioannis Tsompanakis

Why did you choose this internship?

I found the announcement on Facebook, and it intrigued me. I did some research about AIESEC, and I felt like this internship was made for me. Even under the pandemic situation, I was excited to explore business opportunities in another country. The Romanian culture is similar to the Greek one. I thought that the adjustment would not be difficult. 

Thinking out of the box has always been my motto, and creating a new path, consisting of meeting new people and making memories, was the only way.

What were your expectations in the beginning?

After having some interesting meetings with AIESEC and the Marketing Deck team, I had to focus on the business part of the internship. I thought that I had to grab the chance to get close to another culture and live it like a local.

I had a strong desire to become a great Digital Marketing Agent. This was only possible, in my eyes, with determination and hard work. I wanted to improve my skills and build a bridge. A bridge that connects people, businesses, and ideas. Looking back at it, a smile appears on my face because the expectations were fulfilled to the fullest.

What tasks did you have?

After stepping into the office of Marketing Deck, Paul (the CEO) and I quickly grabbed paper and pen. We had a sincere conversation about how this internship could benefit us both, and we wrote down the conclusions. From this day, I had to become a junior CEO of the Marketing Deck Greece, an ambitious project born in Bucharest, aiming to develop in Greece. We like to view it as the small kid in the family.

My tasks were constructing the agency and translating the Romanian part’s philosophy and vision to the Greek market. 

We started building the website and social media. Then we created some ads, which brought us our first leads. This was the head start of the most challenging but also pleasant part. The meetings with leads. I had to communicate the value that our services add to customers. It was a great chance to improve my technique in sales and communication

Today, some months after my departure from Romania, the project continues. It stands as a partner next to businesses wanting to communicate their value to the audience in the most efficient way.

© Ioannis Tsompanakis

What difficulties did you encounter during your internship? What support did you receive?

The most challenging part was to get along with the pandemic conditions while trying to adapt to a foreign environment. The restrictions made social life difficult, and at some point, I was required to work from the student dorm I stayed in. The solution to the problem was given after a discussion with my partner Paul Ardeleanu. 

Paul did an excellent job regarding the ease of work and willingly opened the office to provide me with the most professional environment. Also, the AIESEC team was by my side. They were ready to solve any problem, and it made me see them as true friends!

What hard and soft skills have you learned from the experience? How do you think these will help you in your future endeavors? 

When I arrived back in Greece, I came back completely different. Undoubtedly, the most useful soft skill was teamwork and problem-solving. Having to cooperate with a team including up to 10 different people was a teaching experience for me. These skills will help me manage the Greek team of associates and provide them with great management techniques. 

How did you develop personally and professionally?

Personal development is a lifelong process. It is a way for people to assess their skills and qualities, consider their aims in life, and set goals in order to realize and maximize their potential. I always aimed for Self-Actualisation and tried to develop my vision by motivating myself to do so. I wrote down a development plan and set small goals. Achieving these goals boosted me to go further and climb the stairs to personal and professional success. Of course, I have to thank the Marketing Deck team. My partners played a big role in my development and stood by me in the most supportive way.

What are your plans after this internship?

I am focused on developing the Greek department of Marketing Deck to a professional level and provide help to businesses. After the pandemic started, businesses understood the need to advertise via online channels and needed experienced professionals to stand as partners by their side. 

I am ready to face new challenges and seize opportunities to spread our philosophy about marketing. After all, I would like to thank you for this great conversation and to encourage everyone who is thinking about participating in a program to just do it!

What advice do you have for people who would like to go on an internship with AIESEC?

It’s a life-changing experience. In my point of view, everyone should grab the chance to meet new cultures, people and places. Opening new doors will give new opportunities! Having international experience is also great for your CV, so don’t miss the chance to live it!

© Ioannis Tsompanakis

If you enjoyed Ioannis’s story, don’t hesitate to create your own! Find your opportunity here!

Ioannis Tsompanakis is an experienced Marketer and Manager of Marketing Deck Greece, with a demonstrated history of working in the entertainment and hospitality industry. He studied economics at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and he is currently finishing his Master in Business Administration. He describes himself as an ambitious person and aims to travel all over the world.


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