Koen Blezer in Berlin
Today we share the story of Koen Blezer, third year student at CMD, currently residing in Berlin for his internship. The third years’ internship is, for most students, their ‘first look’ into the professional world. It’s a glimpse into how things are actually done and a way to get a taste of what it’s like to be in a professional working environment. Some decide to stay closer to home while others look for an internship abroad. Koen, who is currently doing his internship at the Agora Collective in Berlin, is one of them and was willing to share his experience with us.
What is Berlin like?
The first thing that became clear after we fired up the Skype session with Koen was that he was really enjoying his time in Berlin. Not only the city is different, but the people are too. He says that he has the pleasure of meeting a lot of warm people in a city that can otherwise be a bit cold (which is not particularly a bad thing). “There are so many people here who do crazy things, that have travelled so far, which is very cool. But they also bring a completely different mentality to their work and this is very inspiring” starts Koen, who meets most of these people at the place where he does his internship: the AGORA Collective.
The AGORA Collective is a co-working space and art collective unlike the ones we know here. At a place like Carbon 6 (in Heerlen) for example, you usually rent an office space to work with your company or collective. In Berlin, co-working spaces are more centred around common sets of values than direct working relationships. These spaces are popular with the so-called digital nomads but also with a myriad of other free spirits for whom the traditional office doesn’t quite cut it anymore. “Apart from the fact that their working lives are irregular and they simply can’t commit to long-term contracts, these people also tend to live in small apartments with little light that make working at home boring and isolating”, explains Koen. These circumstances combined with access to facilities like a fast internet connection and printers, mean that co-working spaces have an important role to play in shaping the different ways of working that are emerging because of digitalisation.
So, Koen, what do YOU do?
Of course, Koen isn’t just there to meet cool people and be inspired, it’s merely one of the great side effects of working at such a company. He’s mostly working on the communication (online and offline), on keeping track of the website, updating social media and organising events for the community. Which, in his opinion, becomes exciting because of its context. He started out his internship by working on a structured planning for communicational activities but has now changed his overall focus to creating a journalistic piece that reflects on the turbulent changes that Agora has gone through during the time that he’s been there. “Analysing a group and figuring out what would be the best way to approach them in terms of content instead of end products is worth it’s while because of the story that you get to build up around all the interesting people involved. I learned a lot by defining the different ‘users’ that Agora has. Even though the output might be slightly different from where I started out, it’s still the same story, only more sincere.”
Over the years the Agora Collective has gathered (and still gathers) a lot of social capital and Koen is very glad to be a part of it. “Working with them is an absolute pleasure. All of the crew members work there for the sake of Agora’s ever-growing network of creatives and to prototype new ways of working. Everyone is helping everyone, wherever they can, meaning that there’s basically no hierarchy. Having the chance to work in this way and to meet so many people from all over the world, who have seen so much and done so many things opens up new perspectives towards my own work ethic. I love working with this diverse set of people, sharing stories and simply building memories. I’ll be back here soon, that’s for sure”, concludes Koen.