Student workers are also a part of Bringme. We have a regular contingent of them and, every year, they work for us on a daily basis. Sofia Smorscek is one of those familiar faces. She tells us all about what it means to work at Bringme as a student.
Sofia Smorscek doesn't exactly sound terribly Flemish, does it? What's your story?
As my name implies, my father comes from abroad. During World War II, my grandparents fled Belarus and came to Belgium. My father met my mother here and I was born in Belgium.
Do you speak a bit of Russian yourself?
Yes, I do! I'm studying applied linguistics (Dutch - English - Russian) in Antwerp. So having a Belarussian dad gives me a bit of a head start.
We don't really know very much about Belarus and its inhabitants. What would you say is the biggest difference compared to Belgians?
There are some differences of course, for example the way they behave around other people. Belarussians are very hospitable, often a bit too much, even. When they offer you something to eat or to drink, they'll keep insisting until you take it. Flemish people sometimes find this a tad pushy.
How did you end up doing student work for Bringme?
I saw a job opening on the Facebook page and decided to give it a go. This is my first real student job. Before this, I did some volunteering at Kunstbende and at a youth film festival. I've been working for Bringme for a year now, and it's been great.
So this is your first experience of the workplace, exciting! What exactly do you do for us?
I'm in the Quality Assurance Department, where I test software. We bring a fresh perspective to the Bringme App and try to iron out as many errors as we can. We really have to avoid bugs and crashes, don't we! At first it was mostly a lot of information to process and I needed to learn the ropes, but now I've got the hang of it.
How many other students do you work together with?
There's about 30 to 40 of us in total, but on average we work together with 4 to 8 people. That depends on the project that's on the programme at that particular time.
So many students together... the atmosphere must be quite companionable!
Absolutely! Whenever a new student starts working with us, we make sure they get a warm welcome, so they soon feel right at home. Everyone knows each other by now, and that makes working together even more fun. Sometimes we try to plan coming in to work on the same day. You really make friends here.
But of course, it's still a job, after all: how's the relationship with Bringme as an employer?
I think Bringme is an excellent employer: dependable, flexible, and the necessary contracts were immediately in order.
Would you recommend a student job at Bringme?
I definitely would. You've got job security, you're surrounded by nice people and, on top of that, it's highly instructive: you're working in a company in full development. It's a valuable experience and it looks good on your CV.
What do you think about the Bringme Box?
I think it's super-convenient. If there were boxes at my university in Antwerp, I would definitely be using them. When you're living in digs it's hard to have parcels delivered because you're not home very often. The box also provides you with a little bit of privacy seeing as it allows you to buy presents on the sly without anyone at home knowing about them. Otherwise you have to wait for the weekend to admire your parcel and your parents already know what's been delivered.
And now for something completely different: cupcakes! Among your colleagues, you're known as a cupcake star. Could you tell us why?
When I started working here, I ate cupcakes for breakfast on the train. More often than not, I had a few left when I arrived at the office. The other Bringme students caught on quickly and asked me if I could bring along a few extra. Ever since, I just bake a full tray of them and I make students and other colleagues happy with them. Carrot cake is my speciality, if I may say so myself. :)
Is there anything you'd like to say to your colleagues?
Thanks for always turning run-of-the-mill days into real parties. We always manage to enjoy our working days thanks to the excellent atmosphere!