Emilia's experience as an intern at SOLEQ.travel:
My internship in Quito started in October 2021, after I had already stayed with Diego’s brother Xavier and his wife Dorit in the partner office in Germany for the month of September. Xavier and Dorit welcomed me very well and I was able to learn a lot of new things with them, e.g. how to work with WordPress, Elementor and Photoshop. I also learned how to work with the new system for travel offers so that the system can be introduced at SOLEQ.travel in Ecuador.
After I arrived in Ecuador, I came to the office on Friday and was welcomed by everyone. Afterwards we went out for lunch together. Every Friday, everyone goes out for lunch together to a restaurant nearby, which I think is a very nice tradition and I have always considered it a nice way to end the week. I felt immediately at home in the office. Julia, who had already been in Quito for a month, introduced me to the work processes and our tasks as interns, which made the beginning a lot easier as I was never alone. But the whole SOLEQ family is extremely nice and helpful, it’s a very pleasant working atmosphere, so I was always happy to come to the office. Dayana also helped me a lot when I had problems with my first accommodation and supported me with everything.
Being half Ecuadorian and therefore knowing the country beforehand and having my family around me all the time, I didn’t have much difficulties adapting. However, the time of my internship and actually living in Ecuador for a longer period of time has brought me much closer to my second home and I have really learned to love being in Ecuador and can imagine living here again for a longer period of time. Julia and I got along very well and therefore often went on weekend excursions together, which was especially fun. This also allowed us to get to know tourist destinations and the country better. For example, we went to the beach together, to the Cotopaxi volcano and also to the rainforest with Diego and his wife Lorena.
All in all, I couldn’t have imagined my internship any better, as I learned and experienced so much. I can recommend the internship at SOLEQ.travel to everyone!
Julia's experience as an intern at SOLEQ.travel:
My internship with SOLEQ.travel in Ecuador started in September 2021. Even before I started, I was in contact with Diego. Due to a personal circumstance, I had to postpone the original start date of the internship by one month. I was very grateful that Diego was so understanding and flexible. During the four-month internship, I was able to experience this again and again. All colleagues are very nice and are happy to help you with any problem, even with things that have nothing to do with work. The working atmosphere is very familiar and friendly. I am especially grateful for the weekend excursions with Diego and Lorena. Thanks to them, I was able to get to know Ecuador in a very special way: like a local. They were always there to help me with tips and tricks and answered all my questions.
My tasks in the office were really versatile. Most of the time I took care of the social media or the website, but also translations. Apart from that, I sometimes wrote newsletters, edited pictures or supported my colleagues in their work. From time to time I also got tasks from my colleagues, these were then quite mixed, but mostly research tasks.
After my first month as the only intern, I was joined by another intern in the second month. We were able to share the work and also discover Ecuador together at the weekend.
I am very grateful for this great experience that SOLEQ.travel made possible for me. I would recommend it to anyone!
Michelle's experience as an intern at SOLEQ.travel:
In May 2021, I started my internship at SOLEQ.travel. Just few days before I arrived in Quito and I felt really nervous but at the same time excited about this new chapter in my life. The day I visited the office for the first time, I was introduced to all employees and I immediately felt comfortable and in good hands as they were very open and warm-hearted. I was given enough time to get familiarized with all the tasks and during the first weeks, they taught me a lot in order to be able to work more autonomously in the following weeks. Like this, I progressed quickly working with programs like Photoshop, Premiere Pro, Hootsuite and WordPress and I was happy to learn so many new things.
What I really appreciated was that I was always encouraged to contribute own ideas, express my opinion on topics and above all that there was always the possibility to ask for help, in case I got stuck in a task. Besides, there were weekly meetings with the German partner company in Hamburg that were held completely in Spanish language, so that I was practically forced to improve my Spanish. But this is not a cause for concern, as the knowledge automatically improves after living in the country for some weeks and hearing the tongue everywhere around you. Moreover, all the SOLEQ members speak English as well, so even if you dispose of some basic Spanish knowledge only, you will get along well during your internship.
Apart from work, I was lucky to get to know the country, its culture, people and many beautiful places during the four months in Ecuador. In my opinion, there is a huge difference between spending only a limited time for vacation in a country and living there for several months because during the latter one gets a much deeper insight into the way of life there. Furthermore, for me it was the first time living alone that far from home and also my first stay in South America. For sure, this step implied a couple of challenges to face, as simply everything is different from Europe but contrary to my own expectation, I got used to it quite fast and started to appreciate the opportunity to make a lot of new experiences in a few months only.
While I was well occupied with the internship during the week, I used the weekends to travel a lot and see more of the stunning places Ecuador has to offer. In Quito I visited the Basílica which is one of the landmarks of Quito, the Panecillo with the famous Statue, the Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the World) and several parks. Apart from that I went to the largest indigenous market of South America in Otavalo and to some beautiful lagoons, with Quilotoa being one of the most impressive places I’ve ever seen in my life. The opportunity to get to know so many places during my time in Ecuador, even though the main purpose for coming here was actually the internship, I highly appreciated. Like this the four months passed quite fast and even if I was really happy to return back home and spend time with my family and friends, I felt a certain sadness as well since the SOLEQ family has grown really close to my heart and I collected many beautiful moments during my stay here, which I will never forget.
With regard to the pandemic there were no mayor difficulties. At the point of my arrival, it was already more than a year that we needed to live with these new circumstances all over the world, so this was no longer a reason for me not to travel. Ecuador is really responsible with the safety measures, to me it even seemed that people are more willing to wear their masks properly and use disinfection gel than in Germany. Even if there is the possibility to work from home which former interns during the peak of the pandemic had to do, I was offered the possibility to work in the office, which I really appreciated after a long time during my university classes at home. Furthermore, I became vaccinated the second time with BionTech/Pfizer in Ecuador, which made me feel even safer in terms of health. So I passed four entire months in the country without becoming infected which I consider a good proof for the efficacy of the safety measures here.
All in all, I can highly recommend the internship at SOLEQ.travel. The family business offers students in the field of tourism management, marketing and related subjects a great opportunity to practically apply their knowledge and get profound insights into the operation methods of a touristic company. Besides, an internship abroad is always a great opportunity to improve one’s language skills, to develop personally and to become much more independent. It would be a lie to say that everything is easy, but the obstacles that you manage to overcome by your own efforts are what make you stronger in the end. Therefore, I can suggest to everyone who is keen at diving into a new culture and work in a great professional environment that rather feels like a family than a business to dare this step and apply for an internship at SOLEQ.travel. A heartfelt thank you to the whole team!
Maria's experience as an intern at SOLEQ.travel:
I arrived in Ecuador on November 22, 2019. I had just handed in my bachelor thesis and had just moved out of my student apartment. And so I had hardly had any time before to deal intensively with Ecuador in advance. But the most important things were organized: I had my internship contract for five months, my flight and accommodation in Quito, whose contact Diego had given me shortly before. So my preparation was limited to the bare essentials. But anyway, I couldn’t have prepared myself for an important situation that accompanied my stay there like no one else in the world: the Corona pandemic. But more about that later…
Arrival in Quito
The entry at the airport in Quito went off without any problems. At that time Dominik was an intern at SOLEQ in Quito. Our internship period overlapped by two and a half months and fortunately I had received valuable tips from him on the subject of visas. He also lives in the accommodation that Diego had also recommended to me: a spacious house with a large garden and furnished rooms where we had everything we needed. We lived there with an Ecuadorian girl whose sister owned the house. Not only is she a great help, but she always liked showing us the country, helping with the language and taking us on excursions. Later we even were invited to spend Christmas with her and her family!
Joining the SOLEQ Team
I got to know the team even before I started my internship in early December. Every Friday the SOLEQ team goes together for lunch in their favourite restaurant near the office and I should join them to get to know them all. At the beginning of December we also celebrated the anniversary of Quito in the office. With the Ecuadorian drink Canelazo we organized a competition in the national card game “Cuarenta”. It was a great opportunity to get to know them all!
Diego had already asked me several times during the flight to Quito whether everything was okay and everything went well with the flight. During my entire stay, this care also continued. On my travels, which I usually undertook alone, he always asked me whether I had arrived safely at my accommodation, whether everything had gone well with the journey and whether I was doing well. He also had the contact of my parents in case of emergency. It is very reassuring to know that in this foreign country, which Ecuador was for me at the beginning, someone is making sure that everything is okay. The SOLEQ team was also always a great help in planning the trips through the country. Everyone, especially Diego’s wife Lorena, recommended accommodations, gave me tips on bus connections or on beautiful places to visit. The two vacations per month are a real advantage! Because you can travel almost every second weekend. And Ecuadorians are also very generous with public holidays! With Dominik I got along very well from the beginning! We went on many excursions and a trip to the coast together. And I was sad when he finished his internship at the end of January and continued his trip to Peru. You can also read about his experiences here.
We also made trips with SOLEQ. The weather in Ecuador is perfect all year round and the distances are so to speak not worth mentioning. (Even though due to the winding roads through the Andes the travel time often takes longer than expected.) Before Christmas we made a three day short trip to Pimampiro with the whole team. Here we observed bears and visited the lagoons of Mojanda. Both experiences were real highlights.
Now about the work itself…
I was incredibly lucky with the choice of my internship period. SOLEQ is a family business and Diego’s brother, Xavier, actually lives in Germany with his wife Dorit and their two children. However, they had just decided to spend a year in Ecuador. From Xavy I could learn a lot about marketing and search engine optimization. He is very interested in improving the website and is always very enthusiastic about new ideas and projects. The nice thing about the internship at SOLEQ is that there is always room for new suggestions. There is always enough time to learn what you want to learn. I also tought German to the SOLEQ Team which was really fun! We had classes every morning and it always was a great start into the day!
Dominik and I actually came to Ecuador for a special project. We wanted to implement a new packaging program and link this to the construction of a new website. Unfortunately, the start of the project was delayed until March 17, 2020. But finally, the timing couldn’t have been even more perfect…
Because then there was Corona…
I still remember the weekend when everything started abruptly. I was in Baños with a friend from March 13 to 15. Everything was still normal when I got on the bus in Quitumbe on March 13. On Saturday, it began to hail with breaking news. Measures for the operation of cafés and restaurants were decided suddenly and had to be implemented the same day. My friend and I entered a restaurant and half of the tables were marked with a “Reserved” sign. This was the quickest way to improvise and comply with the new distance rules.
On Sunday morning I went down the stairs in my hostel and passed the reception. In passing I heard from the hostel owner that all the borders were now closed – without prior notice.
On Sunday evening I came back home. Angela was still living with us at that time and also did her internship at SOLEQ between January and March. To make matters worse, another intern had arrived while I was in Baños. She was welcomed unpleasantly in Ecuador with the spontaneous hail of measures.
In the evening, when everyone was already in their room, the next message came: quarantine starting on Tuesday. Curfew from 2 pm. Obligation to wear masks. Obligation to wear gloves. Obligation to work from home. Restriction to travel. Closure of the gastronomy. Fixed weekdays to go to the supermarkets. Etc. Etc. Etc. On Monday at work then another piece of bad news: Xavy was in hospital because of suspected corona.
At least, a real stroke of luck was that exactly on Monday, the last day at the office, there was a video conference about the implementation of the new program and the new website. This meant that from Tuesday onwards, we were all able to work from home without any complications, as all that was needed was an Internet connection.
Angela and Sophie, who had just arrived, left quite quickly over the next few days. The seats for return flights were limited and were allocated at very short notice. Angela even did not find out until the same day of the flight that she had moved up on the return flight list. Before that, our days consisted of a cramped attempt to concentrate on work and wait for news from the German Embassy. The information situation was difficult and changed almost hourly. This pandemic was new for everyone and nobody knew exactly how best to deal with the situation.
I decided to stay.
Basically, returning to Germany had never been a real option for me at any time. Anyway, I had already fallen hopelessly in love with the country of Ecuador. And I did not know how long the state of emergency would last. At first I was only talking about four weeks. In retrospect, a ridiculously optimistic assumption. We were in quarantine for 78 days, then the measures were gradually relaxed. During this time, however, I was definitely not feeling bad. In all that time I only left the house to go to the vegetable store across the street. My flatmate and her family were a huge support during this time. We made the best out of the time that we now had in abundance.
My internship was to end at the end of April. But SOLEQ offered me to continue working there and to extend the internship for an indefinite period of time. A great offer, which I was very happy about and from which we all benefited. At that time I was mainly busy with the design of the new website. A task where I could learn a lot and try myself out. At about the same time SOLEQ vacated the previous office. Anyway, nobody was allowed to work here for an indefinite time.
The best at the end…
From June onwards, the measures were then relaxed step by step. We decided to meet again once a week and work together from the house of the SOLEQ family. It was a wonderful feeling to meet again, a real little highlight once a week. Slowly we could start again with excursions in the surroundings. A real challenge in view of the limited public transportation. So I was all the more pleased about the invitations from SOLEQ to participate in their excursions. Especially fantastic was the joint adventure of climbing the volcano Pasochoa! A truly unforgettable experience.
And just for that the long waiting and the decision not to leave had already been worth it!
I stayed in Ecuador until mid September. Towards the end I was able to see, visit and experience incredible places! Even short trips were already possible again. The restaurants were open again. But the economic effects of the numerous measures were clearly visible in many places. During the whole time I had so to speak “saved up” my vacation days. There was nothing I could have done anyway. And SOLEQ was really very generous in August and September when I asked for days off every weekend to be able to travel again! It was a lot more complicated and expensive to organize, but it was possible. Real highlights of my stay in Ecuador were the trip to the coast for whale watching and the visit to the Cuyabeno Lodge, where my friend and constant travel companion Susi and I were kind of the pilot project for the implementation of corona measures in rainforest tourism. We had the whole reserve to ourselves! I also visited the Pululahua, some cloud forest reserves and Cayambe. On the last weekend before my departure I had one of the most important experiences of every trip to Ecuador: The Cotopaxi.
I really did not regret for a second to have stayed in Ecuador. In the end I stayed there for 10 months instead of 5 months as originally planned. But I received great support from my housemate and her family and from my friends there. I also had my German friend Susi, with whom I somehow decided together to hold on and stay optimist. And last but not least I had the support of all the SOLEQ.travel team members.
Angela's experience as an intern at SOLEQ.travel:
I have had a good time as an intern with SOLEQ.travel in Ecuador. The SOLEQ family are really kind and welcoming people who made me feel at home easily. The internship provided me with the great opportunity to explore a beautiful country while learning about the ins and outs of a local tour operator. Also adapting to a new (working) culture was an interesting learning experience for me. Although I did not know much about Ecuador before going, I soon fell in love with the country and enjoyed using my enthusiasm to promote it. Besides carrying out regular marketing tasks, I worked on the development of a new tour, which was a nice combination. In general I liked that I was involved in the many different things going on, even if they were not directly related to my tasks. Because of this I got a good idea of the various aspects that a tour operator deals with. Moreover, at SOLEQ.travel the interns’ input is truly valued. This is another benefit of the small scale of the organization. Finally, I am glad to have improved my Spanish during my internship here. When I started I mostly communicated in English, but in the end, I felt a lot more confident speaking and writing in Spanish. Thank you SOLEQ family!
Dominik's experience as an intern at SOLEQ.travel:
“My internship at SOLEQ.travel lasted 5 months. In this time, I mostly worked in the marketing department. Here I could learn a lot about SEO, SEM, Social Media and also WordPress. During my internship they worked on the homepage and the search engine optimization. Also a part of was to update the Social Media Content Plan. Which was an interesting task to do. The work with WordPress was new to me but it is great to get familiar with it. Due to the help of this tool, it was possible to create new Templates. Those new templates were especially useful for the Blogs. It is also a task to write blog articles about your journeys or special experiences. In General, you are always busy and assigned on interesting tasks. Important to mention is that you are always engaged to bring in your own ideas. Overall, it is a great team to work with. Everyone is happy to explain or answer to questions. I am happy, that I had the variety of tasks and the freedom to share my ideas as well.
Besides of the work there are many things I’ve learned. SOLEQ.travel offers you a fair amount of vacation, therefore you can travel a lot. The trips I enjoyed most, were when the whole team made excursions. Due to their experience they can tell you a lot about any destination. Luckily enough, they took me to a lot of those trips. Further, they teach you a lot about the culture and the lifestyle of Ecuador. In my case they also helped me with my Spanish and were always nice and patient. All in all, they make sure that you will have a pleasant time in Ecuador.
I am glad, that they had the me those 5 months. It has been a pleasant time and I am grateful for it! Thanks very much to the SOLEQ.travel Team. I wish you all the best! “
Maria's experience as an intern at SOLEQ.travel:
“I had been an intern at SOLEQ.travel for more than half a year and I enjoyed this time a lot. Working in a small, family run office in the Ecuadorian capital Quito at about 2800 m altitude was a unique experience.
Since the office is so small, I received tasks from almost all departments. Sometimes it was a real challenge to get organized with all the different inputs. My main work was supporting Online-Marketing and Sales.
In the area of Online-Marketing I helped improving the website of the company. This was one of the tasks that I liked most. I learned a lot about working with WordPress and I liked that there was a visible result of the work. Online-Marketing also included blog writing and translating as well as creating Facebook and Instagram posts.
Sometimes there had to be designed information or promotion flyers.
Supporting the sales department meant checking availability for hotels and Galapagos yachts via telephone or email, block hotels and yachts for future confirmations. When clients were interested in a tour I sometimes wrote the possible travel program and once clients were confirmed I helped writing the travel vouchers.
Another important job was renewing a sustainability certificate for which I collected the necessary information and material.
I really liked working at SOLEQ.travel. On the one hand because of the varied and interesting work and on the other hand because of the warm, familiar atmosphere in the office, having lunch together and the team excursions.
Thanks for all, SOLEQ.travel and best wishes for the future!”
Lorenzo’s experience as an intern at SOLEQ.travel:
“I moved to Ecuador in April 2019 for an internship period at SOLEQ.travel and I will never regret it. In Quito I found a prepared and professional staff, open to dialogue and very welcoming. Since the very first day, indeed, I felt at home. The office is cozy and familiar, it is inside an actual apartment, which makes the working days very enjoyable. As Web Marketing Intern, my routine was very diversified. The main task is managing all the social media channel, a responsibility that provides you with the possibility of expressing yourself thought the job and applying your own communication strategies and methods. It was also a learning process, I read and found out so many interesting things about digital presence, marketization and community management. This was a core feature of the internship, as the SOLEQ team is completely dedicated to your own personal growth.
In this sense, managing the company’s website was a lot of fun. I had the chance and the time to dig into the magical WordPress’ world, bolstering my previous knowledge and applying concepts and skills interiorized during the period at SOLEQ. The team was completely fine with me changing the whole homepage and making major changes to the overall structure, because they made it clear since the beginning that they believed in me and trusted my skills. The website’s management was a challenging arena because it was under my direct supervision, but that’s also why it was so satisfying in the end. To me, learning by doing represents the best way of assimilating new notions, therefore I can only praise this aspect of the internship. Now I feel way more confident in implementing SEO strategies, making marketing choices and structuring a website’s architecture.
But that’s not over! I was involved also in the sales department, helping SOLEQ’s travel guru, Alex, with redacting the tours’ brochure, liasoning with providers (hotels, guides, transportation companies) and managing the external communication, both by emails and telephone. This way, I had an interesting insider perspective of how a travel agency actually works and, furthermore, I got to know a lot of things about Ecuador! Witnessing the work behind the organization of a travel was truly interesting, mostly if you are a travel-lover like me.
Working at SOLEQ travel is a unique opportunity for many students or new graduates in academic fields requiring international experience, as in my case. For me, it was an inspiring experience both at professional and personal level, since I had access to a lot of knowledge in a familiar and friendly working environment. Now I need to move forward on my next stage of my life, but I will never forget the launches and the laughter at SOLEQ.”