Hi, I’m Jamie and I’m a fourth year Business Studies and German student. I spent my year abroad on a work placement in the marketing department at Siemens IT Solutions and Services in Munich, Germany. Choosing to spend my year abroad working was initially a little daunting – going to live abroad is a pretty scary prospect as it is, and not having the safety net of a university or school only adds to that! However, my insecurities disappeared almost as soon I as arrived – the company were really welcoming and the responsibility for finding your own way is great for your self-confidence and personal development!
I spent the majority of my placement working in a team responsible for organising a congress for the company’s most important business customers. Working on something so central to the company’s marketing strategy in an office where they were speaking a foreign language was pretty overwhelming to begin with, I was constantly scared I would have misunderstood something my boss had asked me to do and end up doing the opposite! However, he and everybody in the office were really supportive, so my worries quickly disappeared and I was made to feel an integral part of the team.
The highlight of my year work-wise would have to be attending the congress and finally seeing the result of what we had been working on for so long. It was held in Berlin, which meant a 3 day trip at the company’s expense! It was quite possibly the hardest I’ve ever had to work, but as a thank you they paid for me to stay in the hotel for an extra two nights to give me time to explore Berlin, which made it more than worth it!
It sounds like a cliché, but the other highlight of the year is all the people I met. I lived in a WG (shared house) with other German students and interns, and there were a number of other interns at Siemens who I spent a lot of time with, so I met so many new friends who I’ll be staying in contact with for a long time.
All in all, my year in Munich was fantastic! The city is beautiful and so underrated (not to mention the beer and Oktoberfest!). I have no regrets at all about working, it meant there was no escaping the language so I improved my German immensely and now feel confident in my ability to use it in a business context when I graduate. I also acquired a range of practical business skills to complement my studies and thus feel so much more confident about graduating and entering the world of work next year!
Read more year abroad experiences on the blog.