Student Blog Post: “A Huge Step Out of My Comfort Zone”

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b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1538.jpgMeet Jerry Lawman, a junior international business major at Waynesburg University. This semester, he will be interning at Bosch in Germany and will share his experiences right here on the Waynesburg blog. 

I am a junior International Business major here at Waynesburg and I am currently interning in the Controlling Department for Bosch in Ludwigsburg, Germany. I knew from the beginning that this international internship was going to be a huge step out of my comfort zone, especially because I’ve never traveled outside of the U.S. 

It was my first flight overseas and I arrived in Stuttgart, Germany on January 28 with no plans on where to stay until I moved into my apartment February 1. I figured it would be a fun experience to figure everything out when I got there, and it was! I met so many helpful people. 

My first step was to get a German SIM card for my phone. From there, two men helped me book a hostel and helped me carry my luggage all the way there. I was shocked by how helpful they were. They said they have a saying in China, “If you are going to help someone, you help them all the way through.” 

After my jet lag wore off the next day, I started to explore the city of Stuttgart. It is one of the biggest cities I have ever been to. This is also the first time I have ever used public transportation, so the trains and buses took me a couple days to figure how everything worked. My stay at the hostel was a great experience, however. I met people from all over the world like Argentina, Jordan, Australia, India, Turkey and Germany as well. Many of them are now my friends on Facebook and we will probably stay in touch. 

I met many other people on the streets while exploring; because I was lost, people would help me get to where I needed to go and some of these people I am now friends with. It is just crazy how many people you meet when you go to a different country like this.  

I finally moved in to my apartment the day before I started work and my landlord was very helpful to me and helped me find out how to register at the town hall and even let me use some extra bedding because I could not pack my own bedding. It is a furnished six person shared apartment, however, and there will be all interns living here who will work for Porsche and Komet. 

They helped me find out my route for my first day of work and other things that would have been hard to do by myself. It takes me about 40 minutes to get to work and I arrive about 20 to 30 minutes early every day. I made sure to make a good first impression by wearing a suit my first day and wearing a nice shirt and tie every day after. 

I was introduced to everyone in the controlling department where I will work, and everyone speaks at least a little English so I can communicate with everyone. The first few days I started to learn some of my tasks and what I will be doing. A lot of my work will involve Excel, but the first few days I had to learn Excel in German so it was very difficult at first. 

I am trying to learn as much as I can from the two other interns, as they will be done with their internships in a couple weeks - then I will be the only intern in this department. Our main tasks include resources controlling, business planning, monthly business reporting and other controlling related activities. 

In my first week of work, I tried to show my willingness to learn and perform, as well as show them how I can be proactive and a strong team player. Being the only American in my department at Bosch is definitely a great experience to learn about cultures different from my own. 

About Bosch: Bosch home appliances is part of BSH, BSH Home Appliances Group, based in Munich, Germany. As part of the third largest appliance manufacturer in the world, Bosch has been selling high performance German-engineered major home appliances and cooking appliances in the United States since 1991. Known nationwide for raising the standards in appliance quietness, efficiency and integrated design, Bosch frequently receives top ratings in leading consumer publications and is the winner of the 2011, 2012 and 2013 Energy Star® Sustained Excellence Award. With U.S. headquarters in Irvine, CA, the company operates an appliance park in New Bern, North Carolina, comprised of state-of-the-art factories for dishwashers, ranges, ovens and cooktops.