If I could pass on any message to other students about to commence a work placement abroad, it would simply be to not do anything half-heartedly: work hard, talk a lot (of the native language!), travel far, meet as many new people as you can, and just enjoy every opportunity and new experience that comes your way!
Hi, I’m Annie and I’m a third year History and German student. I spent my year abroad on a work placement, working as an intern in marketing for the industrial department at Amphenol-Tuchel Electronics in Heilbronn, Germany. Despite the work placement I chose not being exactly relevant to my studies – a fact which amused many people – I have no regrets.
During my work placement, I was required to communicate in German all day, which has greatly improved my understanding of the language. I had wonderful colleagues, who were always very supportive in helping me learn new skills and vocabulary. The skills I acquired and the insights I gained into the working world have been invaluable to me, and are something I hope will help me when I apply for jobs next year. However, even more valuable to me were the people I met along the way. I not only got to know many native Germans, but also found great friends in other international interns, from places all over the world. Thus on my year abroad, I not only acquired more knowledge about German culture, but also gained a better understanding of the world.
Although I was not able to apply my love of history to my work, I made up for this in researching and writing my year abroad project essay on the reconstruction of Heilbronn after it was destroyed in the Second World War. I also tried to visit as many historically important sites as possible, from the abundant castles and palaces in my local area, to the remains of ancient Roman ruins, to the shocking Buchenwald concentration camp.
However, my year abroad was certainly not all work! Whether it was indulging in the Kaffeekultur with friends, taking part in a beginner’s Spanish class, or enjoying the innumerable amount of festivals that are celebrated in Germany, there was always plenty to do and see. I also spent many of my weekends traveling to different parts of Germany and enjoying the variations in landscape, culture, and people in the different Bundesländer, as well as getting to know my local area, with beautiful cities such as Heidelberg, Tübingen, and Freiburg im Breisgau close by, and regional specialities such as Flammkuchen and Spätzle.