My name is Caroline Gass, I am a student at Boston University majoring in Business Administration and German Language and Literature, but for the summer, I am a HR marketing intern at MANN+HUMMEL. After having had a wonderful experience with my study abroad experience in Dresden last year, I knew that I wanted to return to Germany. However, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect when I decided to come to Ludwigsburg to complete an internship at MANN+HUMMEL. It should go without saying, though, that I was nervous to speak German in the workplace.
From the moment I began my internship, everyone was extremely friendly and open. On the first day, I was introduced to (and promptly forgot the names of) around 30 employees, attended meetings with my boss, and felt pretty good that I understood the majority of what was going on. At the end of the first day, I was confident that I would have a successful summer here, but also a little bewildered and overwhelmed by my sudden re-immersion into the German language.
“Schönen Feierabend,” my boss said to me as I was packing up to go home. I thought, “What is she saying? Celebration evening? Well maybe because it’s my first day she is suggesting that I celebrate.” But I was wrong. Just one of the things I have learned by working in an international workplace is just how different cultures are. Germans have a “celebration evening” every day after they go home from work. And why shouldn’t they? I feel great having a celebration evening every evening!
An internship with content
As an intern at MANN+HUMMEL, I feel that my work contributes to the company in a meaningful way, which I think is something that not all interns can say. I have already worked on a project that aims to measure the quality of the internal communications. I am also researching social media trends in Asia, which will help us develop and launch an effective employer branding social media campaign in the Asia-Pacific region.
A great place to work
The HR department is working to make MANN+HUMMEL more well-known around the world and to show potential employees that MANN+HUMMEL is an attractive employer. In just the short time that I have been here, I myself have found that MANN+HUMMEL is a very attractive employer because of the many opportunities offered to employees. These include flexible working hours, international communication, and health management programs. I am personally interested in having an international career and find it great that MANN+HUMMEL connects its employees globally. For example, one of my first assignments was to translate a presentation from German into English for the HR Summit in Singapore. My current project requires that I, an American, call colleagues in China, Korea, India, Japan and Singapore from my desk in Germany. You can’t get more international than that!
I know that I am getting more out of an internship in Germany than I would by staying in America for the summer. My internship allows me to contribute meaningfully to the company and I practice my German all day long. Yes, I constantly consult my online dictionary and I have to ask infinitely more questions than I would if I was speaking English, but I get to have a celebration evening every evening.