We can’t really wrap our heads around it, but it seems like the last couple of weeks flew by in lightning speed (see what we did there?⚡️) and sadly, it is already time for Noor to leave our beloved edyoucated team. While we are sad to see her go, we look back on a couple of extremely fun, productive and educational weeks, switching to more or less 100% remote work + suddenly communicating and collaborating in a new language on a daily basis.
Since we believe that a sneak peak into the life as an employee at edyoucated could be helpful not only for future interns / full-time employees at our company but basically for everyone interested in joining an early-stage-startup, Noor took the time to reflect a bit on her weeks here and shared some of her thoughts and learnings. Interested to know more? Feel free to scroll further down!
I remember the exact moment I first heard about edyoucated when I was all the way in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was back in January, and I was walking back to my house-dorm at my university when my phone pinged me about a German internship listing — edyoucated’s listing for a “learning experience design intern.” Reading it in the middle of the sidewalk, I was immediately hooked. I didn’t know much, but the work seemed impactful, challenging, and fit to my university studies — and ever since I was in high school, Germany has been one of the countries I’ve wanted to visit the most. 🇩🇪
After applying, I was invited to two video call interviews with two of the co-founders, Marius and David. During the interview, I caught a glimpse of what my internship at edyoucated would be like. Rather than being stereotypical stiff job interviews, they were fun, insightful conversations in which I was encouraged to talk about my interests and ideas, and of course, to ask any questions.
Months later, I started my internship remotely because of COVID-19. I was initially quite nervous. I didn’t know anything about product management and learning experience design, and I spent my last two summers doing research, not working at a company. Would this all inhibit me from doing good work? Would my being in New York and the rest of the team being in Germany make me disconnected from everyone else?
The answer to both these questions, I realized later, is no. I was able to do great, meaningful work while still being connected to the rest of the team.
They were fun, insightful conversations in which I was encouraged to talk about my interests and ideas, and of course, to ask any questions.
As a learning experience design intern, I was obsessed with the question, “How can the learner have a meaningful, virtual learning experience?” At edyoucated, I was given full liberty to do whatever I wanted to find the best answer to this question — and not only find, but create the best answer. As a result, I worked on creating messages in various parts of the platform to be tailored to the learner’s goals and needs. To increase user motivation and make the learning experience more fun, I helped create an achievement-badge gamification system.
Day to day responsibilities varied. I started my day at 8am EST (2PM Berlin time) in the daily standup in which everyone on the team shared what they’d been working on within the past day. Some days I met with David to discuss my work, or I attended sprint meetings or backlog refinement meetings (if you don’t know what “sprint” or “backlog refinement” means, don’t worry. You’ll learn later!). Whenever anyone had any thoughts or questions about anything, we messaged via one of the Slack channels or hopped on a phone call.
Just as the edyoucated platform tailors the learning experience for users, the edyoucated team worked with me to tailor the internship to me, my interests, and my working style. As a result, my creativity knew no bounds. For example, I introduced a “light” theme to the platform to make the learning process more playful and meaningful for the user. My curiosity knew no bounds, either. I talked to David about how cool it would be to talk to users directly about the platform; soon after, I was able to attend user research workshops and ask members questions about their thoughts about several features. After I became more curious about entrepreneurship and business, I was able to have Q+A sessions with the cofounders in which I could ask them any question I had. I became more curious about design, so David worked with me to expose me more to Figma and UI/UX processes. Such great flexibility and autonomy like this, I think, is intrinsic to a startup culture like edyoucated’s. ⚡️
Edyoucated is devoted to providing a great, personalized experience for its learners. Everyone on the team is so driven by the mission of helping employees reach their potential through learning, that this passion is so deeply ingrained in the culture; they want everyone on the team to learn as well. And, I did. By the end of the internship, I gained key product management skills and was able to move through the steps from production ideation to creation process swiftly and more confidently. I learned how to be empathetic to what the user is feeling and needing, to put myself in their shoes when trying developing a feature well. I learned more about UI/UX design, and stepped into a designer’s role to create a prototypes. Beyond my work, I learned about entrepreneurship and developed an entrepreneurial mindset, which edyoucated encourages in all its interns.
Part of the reason I was so excited to come to edyoucated was because the work I would be doing would have a high, high impact. Working at a startup, especially one that is early stage, is an unparalleled experience because you learn so much and do so much meaningful work. To see my ideas being carried out in real time was the most motivating, meaningful feeling — I was able to see my ideas manifest itself into impactful features. My official role title was “intern,” but I wasn’t just an intern: I was a team member that was equally valued as everyone else. The work I was able to do reflected that.
My official role title was “intern,” but I wasn’t just an intern: I was a team member that was equally valued as everyone else. The work I was able to do reflected that.
In March, my university suddenly closed down and became virtual because of COVID-19, forcing everyone to evacuate campus within five days. I not only missed the experience of being with my friends, peers, and professors in a place that became my home, but I mourned not being in an environment of intellectually like-minded people who push you and teach you about the world, their interests, which in turn helps you grow into a better version of yourself. But, edyoucated’s environment was just that: a team full of intellectually open-minded, kind, and curious individuals who push themselves and each other.
I thought working remotely would be tough, especially for me, an extrovert who loves spending time with people. But it’s a testament to the edyoucated team that I genuinely looked forward to my meetings in the middle of quarantine — especially the daily standup because I got to see everyone. 🙂 I thought I would feel separate from the team since the other members were in Germany and I was in New York. Instead, it was so cool hearing about German culture, cities, and way of life. While the pandemic took away my opportunity to live in Berlin, I was still able to learn about Germany and experience some of it vicariously through conversations with the team.
The small team size is phenomenal since everyone is comfortable with each other. Everyone gives advice and critiques to each other regardless of if you’re working on a completely different project — in fact, different perspectives and questions are welcomed in that regard. In my meet-the-team interview, I mentioned that the one word I would use to describe edyoucated is “open.” I reaffirm that even more now that my time at the company has ended. Everyone is open to each other, and there are no roadblocks to getting to know someone, asking a question, or fulfilling any curiosities you have even in a remote environment. It’s another testament to edyoucated that I truly connected to them even though I was miles away.
During the internship, I didn’t spend all my time working — I attended remote “coffee chats” and fun team socials. Through all the fun and laughter (and hilarious Doodle games and emoji guessing 🎨 ), I learned such cool things: for example, vaulting from Jana, a sport that is so mind-blowing and that I didn’t even know existed. Or, about different cultures of the different cities in Germany (which makes me want to visit so, so badly). And, I learned about the German TV show “Dark,” which I will totally start watching soon. 🎬
Some conversations — not about edyoucated, but about life — were so insightful that for the rest of the day, I couldn’t stop thinking of them.
edyoucated’s environment was just that: a team full of intellectually open-minded, kind, and curious individuals who push themselves and each other.
To those interested in interning at a startup or interested in edyoucated, give it a try! You’ll be immersed in meaningful work and surrounded by great people — both will make you grow into a better person and thinker.
A few pieces of advice:
You’re going to be working with the best team in the world. Because of them, I am counting the days until I come to Germany to meet them all in person — and when we can have real-life coffee chats instead of remote ones 😉
All the best,
PS: To anyone out there that would like to chat about interning @ edyoucated, especially when working remote, don’t hesitate to send me a message on LinkedIn! Always happy to chat!
You can’t wait to become part of our team as well? Check out our open positions!