What I've Learned

...During My Internship in South America

Alexander Laman
Tue 6 Feb



My name is Alex Laman

I am a 25 year old student at Willem The Kooning Academy. I follow the Illustration major and  Digital Craft minor. Next to the academy my passions are parcours and murals. I like to travel and explore the places I have never saw before. One of the best periods of my academy time was my internship in South America.

I can work on anything and everywhere in the world as long as I have a computer and paint.

What did you learn during this internship?

During my internship in South America, I have traveled from São Paulo, Brazil to Paramaribo, Suriname. I have experienced myself how it is to work as an independent illustrator and mural artist while traveling. Next to that I have realised that I can work on anything and everywhere in the world as long as I have a computer and some paint.

What didn’t you expect to learn but experienced as a bonus?

I never expected that I would have so many jobs and work to do before I left Holland. And that I would meet so many nice people that where open to help and work together.


Did you gain any insights that can be used in your further life and study?

Yeah as I have mentioned earlier I have made a lot of new contacts, friends and colleagues during my time in South America. We keep in touch and I am welcome to come back whenever I want. And I would love to do that after my graduation.


What kept you awake at night?

There were different things that could have kept me away from sleeping. São Paulo made me stay awake because of the transport driving through the city 24/7. There are 22 million people living in this city and you feel it day and night. In Rio de Janeiro I lived under the favela of Morro da Coroa. The place was beautiful but the nights were crazy. There were a lot of Brazilian Funk parties held almost every night. Lots of accidents and fireworks too. Another thing that kept me away from sleeping were the nightmares I had because of the culture shock I've got from living is this area.


What was the greatest obstacle?

For me the biggest obstacle was the language. I did not speak Portuguese and the higher you go up North the less people speak English. I was lucky to start in South, this allowed me some time to learn the language. Another obstacle was that I was not allowed on the plane to Suriname, because I didn't have a yellow fever vaccination card on me. This delayed my trip for one week.


I strongly recommend everybody to go on a internship outside own country or opt for an exchange. This is an experience that you will never forget, I know for sure that I won't!