A program from members for Members and their Employees.


The IFES Global Exchange Program is a unique learning platform to create new international contacts within the industry. It helps to build relationships with partner companies. Participants will gain new perspectives on Design, Detailing, Project Management and Sales. Attending the GEE Program means “Work in a team environment that will encourage open mind, team-work, compromise and skill sharing”. Participants will enjoy work and social cultural experiences, while improving language and work related skills. And – beside direct costs, participants have to bare, it is free of charge.


  • “Everyone”. IFES GEE is an open exchange program for everyone, whether you look for an Internship or an Intern.
  • This Program brings together next generation people and companies
  • Involving IFES members.


  • Learn about the exhibition and event industry around the globe.
  • Exchange ideas and Insights of our Industry.
  • Experience cultural and Business aspects, similarities and differences.
  • IFES GEE works throughout the year, depending on offers/possibilities
  • Possibility to relay this Experience to your Respective team members or others, which will bring benefit to the whole Organization
  • Increase of knowledge for both sides: Thanks to cross-generational and cross-cultural experiences, understanding and respect
  • Joint reflections as source for improvements of/for solutions
  • Experienced IFES members mentor next generation people from around the globe


  • Register yourself on our website with some general information
  • Find your intern / internship
  • Get involved by posting your offer or your research for a position
  • Both partners should define objectives and establish a support structure

As a support to the partners of the IFES global experience exchange, IFES defined the following guidelines, which we recommend before starting:

  • Both partners should define objectives of the Internship and clearly state what can be expected as an Intern / what will be provided by the company abroad.
  • A contract between the parties is recommendable
  • Duration of the GEE should be defined
  • Job description is recommendable including responsibilities
  • It should be defined who is taking care accommodation, travel cost, insurances … and if a wage is payed.
  • Define the monthly compensation and the date of paying
  • Define one or more contact person in the company and make sure that they have some spare time to spend with the Intern.
  • Consider about a language course in advance of the Internship.


Cam Stevens from StevensE3, about his internship at Grupp Messebau, Germany

Back in the late 1980’s, I had been working for my father’s firm, and had felt that I had not necessarily earned my employment, but had gained it through birth right, and it left me feeling that I needed to prove myself. I needed to gain new ideas and new understandings of how things might be accomplished in other companies, and an exchange program offered then through Grupp Messebau, was the solution. I was scared, excited, confident, and terrified. I was going to a country I’d never been to, I didn’t speak the language, I didn’t know the people I was going to be working with. Wow! What a daunting endeavour.

Now, 30 years later, I look back and marvel at the growth and confidence that this exchange offered me. I learned a new language, I met new people that had a passion for the industry much like my own! I learned different and new ways of solving challenges, and brought back new ideas to our company. Not only that, but I gained new industry friends that likely instilled my desire to network internationally with other like-minded industry peers.

Whether you are a host firm willing to bring in young people and both learn from as well as teach them, or you are a young, energetic exhibit industry professional seeking to broaden your boundaries, a Global Exchange Program offers unique value for both the host and the guest.

Chase Ronaldson from Scan Display Solutions, Design Team about his 2 month internship at Holtmann Messe & Event GmbH, Hanover, Germany


Chase Ronaldson, born and raised in South Africa with a bachelor’s degree in interior design run through a 2 month internship at Holtmann Messe & Event GmbH, based in Hanover Germany. Along with Scan Display Solutions, Holtmann Messe & Event (and many others) are both IFES partners and that is basically where the relationship between the two companies was founded. In the past, employees from Holtmann were offered a similar position at Scan Display Solutions and so Holtmann allowed me an internship at their company in Langenhagen by Hanover, Germany

Work responsibilities/ intern program:

  • Chase was introduced as a designer and so he was positioned with the designers.
  • Furthermore, he was also introduced to the production teams and was taken through the procedures of some of the current work being done at the time… from when the job had been signed and approved from a client and given to the production team, to the pre building manufacture of the stands, to actual build up at the fair grounds and also hand over from production to project manager, to sales team to client.
  • The main objectives of the internship were to soak in the exhibition industry within Germany and learn the history of the exhibition industry and how Germany became one of the largest exhibition industries in the world in the beginning. Afterwards he was given the opportunity to design and work with some of the international sales teams… dealing with all English speaking clients from around the world whom had seemed out Holtmann as a partner
  • He also had the responsibility to assist with the English language and communicating with International clients and to also assist the International marketing material
  • He spent a couple of days in Hanover’s fair grounds, simply walking around and evaluating the European style of exhibition design, learning what materials are used, what challenges are faced in the manufacture of the stand at the fair ground, engaging with various international and local (German) suppliers of exhibition stands as well as engaging with the clients and getting a feel of what standard is expected as well as delivered.
  • Furthermore, he spent a day in Nuremberg at the Nuremberg fair grounds and again I was shown around at one of the exhibits taking place in order to engage with the designs, seeing what materials were being used, the styles of all the exhibition stands and how the construction works etc.

Learning Experiences

Chase’s comment on the program:

~I had an absolutely amazing time working and meeting with some of the employees of Holtmann, a few of them even invited me out for dinner and even to their own homes which was an incredible experience as you learn so much from them and their families and I strongly encourage that more. You also learn then where t go grocery shopping during your stay… you also learn the culture so much better.. I was also invited to watch a soccer match and it was just great to experience it all. That said and coming back to the work part of the experience it was just great to see how a company in the same field have different approaches to dealing with a job. I took so much motivation back home and so many ideas of how one problem that we (Scan Display) may face can be dealt with and so many design ideas… Germany has a wealth of exhibition history and it opened up my eyes to see what I could bring back and teach others at Scan Display.  Holtmann does work slightly different to the way Scan display works, for example the market is different in certain areas, the industry is much bigger and to quote Claus Holtmann (Director), the ‘ German exhibition industry has grown so big but has in some way become saturated, and so the market has had to expand internationally which has had to make them follow the trends’… where in South Africa it is still a relatively new industry and is growing very rapidly and I fell the exchange program is very beneficial as it allows companies like Scan Display and Holtmann to become partners on some jobs that happen internationally and therefore we know what to expect and how each other work in order to streamline the process.

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