From Intern to Graduate

People profile

A bit about me…

Hi, I’m Anneliis, I study IT Systems Development at Tallinn University of Technology. I joined the Finance BI team in the Tallinn office back in the summer of 2021. 

Why did you choose Wise?

I really like the mission and values of Wise. Hearing about the experiences from past interns during Student WiseTalks in March was really valuable for me too – it’s one thing to read about a company on paper and a whole other thing to actually hear from people who work here directly. I also wanted to get to work on a project where I could have an actual impact.

I enjoyed working on my internship project and found it really valuable. For university projects, the requirements have usually been more straightforward and rigid, and in most programming classes we weren’t allowed to work together with others. That’s quite different in the workplace, which took some adjustment, but will of course be very crucial for my future career. Initially I was afraid I would not know anything at all and would not be able to manage handling my project, but that wasn’t the case.  My team was great too, so anything I didn’t know they helped me with!

I feel that having done the internship helped me a lot before a full-time role. Considering that the internship only lasts 10 weeks, there wasn’t enough time to fully onboard and learn about my team’s whole domain. Getting started with an internship project is faster than what I imagine getting started in a graduate role would be, and it was kind of a relief to know that I was not expected to know everything about what my team does. Still, the 10 weeks was enough to experience what working as a software engineer on a real world project can be like. 

When I got the chance to continue working at Wise, I knew that I liked working here and wanted to continue for as long as possible, and my experience was showing me that Wise could be a place where I could be myself.

Embracing Equity

There’s one big life challenge that affects my work, and the biggest difference for me between my internship and current role has been how I’ve approached this challenge at work.

Shortly before my internship at Wise, I found out I am disabled. I didn’t know if and how I should talk about it, what kind of support I would need and how to go about asking for such support, which probably will be a lifelong challenge.

While I didn’t exactly try to hide it, it still took some time for me to disclose my disability. It remains a challenge to know how and when to talk about it, but trying to ignore it certainly doesn’t work for me long-term. My team has been great at seeing my strengths and helping me with my challenges from the very beginning and them finding out that some of my challenges are due to a disability has not had any negative impact on this at all.

I find the ‘tips’ that say “just ask for help!” or “just be yourself!” somewhat unrealistic for some because I know from my experience not everyone can ‘just’ do those things. For example, there are times where I want to ask for help, but, borrowing a comparison I’ve heard online, trying to get the words out is like trying to keep a hand on a hot stovetop. Of course, unlike touching a hot stovetop, asking for help would actually lead to a desirable outcome, and despite knowing that and wanting that, I still sometimes physically cannot make myself do it.

What has helped me most has been working at a place like Wise that is embracing equity, and seeing others talk about their disability openly and encouragingly. Luckily for me and many others, there are Wisers doing that already. Allies and colleagues ensuring a welcoming, compassionate and supportive environment can help people feel more safe to share.