“Of all the books in the world, the best stories are found between the pages of a passport.” – Saber Ben Hassen
I touched Canadian ground for the first time in the summer of 2013. The first story in my passport is four weeks long. It’s the story of a family travelling from Vancouver to Jasper and on to Banff. We were totally overwhelmed by the beauty of Canadian nature. Those four weeks were the beginning of my love story with a country uniquely different from anything I’ve ever seen before. Six months later, I returned to Alberta. I lived far away from home for five months, surrounded by horses and nature all day long. I learned about the magnificent power horses have. I learned how horses change you if you give your heart to them. This story could fill a hundred pages. The experience changed me and shaped my life in a way quite unexpected. I sometimes wonder how life would have been without this adventure. I am glad I will never know.
Why am I sharing this with you? I guess because this is the reason I’ve taken the path I am on right now. Those experiences led me here. They taught me about the power of horses and the beauty of Canada. I experienced the wonderful open-minded and caring attitude Canadians have. When I decided to take International Management, knowing that an internship abroad was part of my studies, I already knew which country I wanted to come back to. And the company? I didn’t expect to do my internship at such a special company as The Mane Intent. All I knew is that I would do something different. I would do something where I could feel that the work I did would have a positive impact. I didn’t want to be just anyone getting lost in the “company-jungle” of a big business.
So many people asked me: ‘You are studying international management. Why are you going to such a small company? Most of your fellow students start their internship in a big bank or a company known to everybody. You could have had a company like Google or Volkswagen written in your CV.” It’s true that I could have had that, but that is not what I wanted to do.
I think management is about so much more than a big company experience. I think management is about people. It is about getting to know your workforce, learning to read them, seeing who they are and what they need. I know there is nothing more supportive than a horse to find out. This is one reason I am here. The other reason is that I think helping people find their way back into life, while also finding trust and hope, is one of the greatest things you can do. When I applied for this internship, my intention was to support Jennifer Garland, The Mane Intent’s owner, in what she is doing. I am grateful to have the opportunity to do so. I think there is nothing more wonderful than seeing the change a person can make when connecting with a horse.
About the Author: Viviane Burmester is a third year student of International Business Management at the University of Applied Science in Hamburg, Germany who is spending a 5-month internship at The Mane Intent.