An internship during a global pandemic

Author: Sally van Gorp

Kyra Willard & Tom Pielaet talk about their experiences during their internship at Whitewood Netherlands during the covid pandemic.

In September 2020 two ambitious young people started their internship in our company. We find it very important to give young people the opportunity to obtain real-life experience to enrich their studies.

Read the interview below to find out more about their internships:

Why did you choose WW for your internship?

Kyra: I chose Whitewood as an internship because I think it is a very interesting and beautiful company. I find the combination of serving the tenant and the investor very unique. It is a company with a large portfolio and has a team that they are very proud of. It really attracted me that there is close cooperation on different levels. I had the idea that I could learn a lot from Whitewood.

Tom: I met Michon at a project presentation I gave at graduate school.  Afterwards, my tutor informed me of Michon’s praise for me. After doing some research on Whitewood, I was very excited. What a great company, so I didn’t want to miss this opportunity and contacted Michon.

What did you enjoy the most?

Kyra: The nicest thing I did during my internship was that I was allowed to go to a building during the first week of my internship. After the tour, we went for a drink on the terrace together with the estate agents. I really liked the fact that I got involved in everything right away.

Tom: From a technical management point of view, I am currently drawing up a standard fact sheet for the buildings. It’s a creative piece of work that allows me to get to know the buildings and to design the finer aspects of each building in the Whitewood branding.

Would you have changed anything during your internship?

Kyra: What I would have liked to do differently is that I would have preferred to schedule my interviews with tenants earlier so that I could have a few more face to face. It was a matter of bad luck that we suddenly had to work from home again.

Tom: Covid-19 is of course a real killjoy, working from hime now means that you miss three quarters of the experience. I loved being involved with the technical management of the buildings. Thanks to this opportunity I learned more about a a different angle in real estate.

Covid 19 certainly influenced your internship in a negative way, but was there something positive about it?

Kyra: It is certainly very unfortunate that we had to work from home because of Covid 19, but very understandably. The positive thing about this is that it did teach me to conduct interviews via Microsoft Teams. Communication in this way is less natural and a bit more difficult, but it also works and you get used to it quickly enough.

Tom: In my opinion, Covid-19 provides a lot of input for my research. The wait and see for change is behind us, as a real estate sector we can already learn serious lessons from this.  The company made a great deal of effort for me remotely, and I am very grateful for that.

What is your future dream for your career?

Kyra: The future dream for my career is that I can develop myself as a real estate expert at an interesting company where the working atmosphere is good and where there are opportunities for growth.

Tom: I will return to West-Zeeuws-Vlaanderen anyway. The proximity of Knokke, Bruges, in short the places full of contacts where I grew up, is valuable to me. The West-Zeeuws-Vlaanderen coast is full of luxury flats. In fact, it is a beautiful development, but I see fewer and fewer local colleagues returning because we are famously short of starter homes. I would like to see how this can finally be tackled with parties later on. I am also very interested in what I am getting from Whitewood. From West Zeeland Flanders to Antwerp, it’s only a stone’s throw. I’m just saying.


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