An internship with SocialForest

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What do you look for with a recently completed business administration bachelor’s degree? For me, the answer was: for work, but also for meaning. About a year ago, when I was looking for an internship, I stumbled across the blog entry of a former SocialForest intern and her enthusiasm immediately caught my attention. My criterion for where I would like to work was that I identify with the vision and mission of the organization and that through my work I can contribute something meaningful to society. SocialForest immediately seemed to fit perfectly into this picture.

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When I took a closer look at what SocialForest does and what the team around Joachim, the founder and CEO, stands for, I felt like I had hit the bull’s eye. The combination of commitment to the environment and to people appealed to me straight away. Bringing people closer to nature and the forest is a very positive and important undertaking. In addition to educating people about the relevance of forests and the environment to humans, SocialForest also works directly against climate change and forest extinction through its sustainable forestry. The fact that people who have difficulties on the job market for various reasons are given the opportunity to gain personal and professional experience and to set foot in the forestry sector is practically the cherry on the top.

I find SocialForest’s approach of involving companies in their activities via the two axes of Team Building and Sponsoring Forests particularly interesting. Due to their economic power, companies have a great influence on social and ecological issues. This is precisely why it is so important that companies recognize this responsibility and act accordingly. The term corporate social responsibility (CSR) can not just be a marketing strategy. During my time at SocialForest, it was exciting and encouraging to see that there are quite a few companies that want to live up to this responsibility, for example by working with organizations such as SocialForest to compensate for the environmental damage they cause and to promote in their employees an understanding for and a connectedness with the environment.

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My main areas of responsibility at SocialForest were communication and the selection and setup of a CRM system. Writing blog entries about the work of SocialForest and about topics like sustainability, CSR and everything related to forestry helped me to gain a deeper understanding of both the core idea behind SocialForest and the role of forests in context with our planet. This is definitely an important point that I take with me from my time here! The fact that Joachim took me to events in the forest also helped a lot with that. By managing the Social Media channels Facebook and Twitter, I was also able to gain experience in working with Hootsuite.

What I read in the blog entry of the former SocialForest intern about the respectful and relaxed work environment has definitely been confirmed. Since Joachim speaks German, English, Spanish and Catalan, communication at the workplace was definitely not a problem as well. Communication was always at eye level, and despite his years of experience and my lack thereof, Joachim was always interested in my opinion and always open to suggestions. He placed great value on me getting the experience I had hoped for from the internship and that I can work here very independently. I was particularly glad about his offer to continue maintaining the blog of the SocialForest website after the end of the internship as a freelancer. I’m happy that I don’t have to leave the SocialForest team completely, despite my departure from Barcelona!

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I can only recommend SocialForest to anyone who is looking for nature-related work with added social value in an employee-friendly environment!

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