I have been a part of the MANN+HUMMEL family since the beginning of 2014. I joined the Cabin air filter team in Service Centre India in Bangalore as a Development Engineer. I am responsible for various research and development activities of the cabin air filter team in India. A few weeks ago I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Germany for training along with my team.
I was born and brought up in Kuwait, so my first intercultural experience was in my own country, India, when I came down for my under graduate studies in Engineering. After 4 years in India, the next culture shock came when I moved to US for my graduate studies. Travelling and visiting new places is one of my passions. Moving from country to country, I slowly realized how enriching your experience in another country/culture can be with a little bit of awareness and an open mind.
In Germany, our colleagues had taken care of every detail for our travel and stay. Our colleagues went out of their way to make us feel comfortable. From accompanying us for sight-seeing to suggesting places to visit and organizing guided tours, they really made sure we had a great time in Germany!
I am pretty sure without their efforts, this experience would have been quite incomplete! We had many interesting conversations about the differences in India and Germany, which also helped us to adapt to this new place. Some of the doubts that they had were about traffic rules in India, why we Indians honk a lot, about the population, pollution and so on! The fact that stunned most of my German counterparts were how the three of us in our team had English as our common language instead of our mother tongue! It’s always a pleasure to boast about the cultural diversity across India after we had discussed the population, traffic and environmental issues in India ;). It came as a pleasant surprise when I met some Germans who work at the apartment hotel where we were staying, who loved Indian cinema (Bollywood movies). We had long chats on how they loved the bright colours, the Indian sari and other traditional dresses.
Differences in India and Germany
One of the main difficulties I faced in Germany was of course the language. My German was limited to the few words and numbers I learnt at the intercultural training provided at MANN+HUMMEL India. But as time went by I got used to it. Also, during my stay in Germany I came to know that most shops would be closed on Sundays! Also, in some areas, many of the shops would close by 6 p.m. This was quite new to me as the other countries I have lived in, the shops are open the whole week! I really got to experience the slow pace of life, which was refreshing!
During the one month in Germany, I had the chance to travel a bit and experience some local traditions. What amazed me the most about Germany was that every small town I visited had so much history! The beautiful churches, the castles, some medieval towns, the vast acres of gorgeous rapeseed farms, the city centres with stone paved roads; they were like scenes right out of a picture postcard! The views were so refreshing and breathtaking! Every place was so well maintained! I loved trying out the German cuisine. The schnitzel, pretzels, the different German breads, sausages, different cakes, pastries, the different ways they prepare potatoes and of course the beer! Absolutely enjoyed the experience!
Intercultural training and cultural awareness
Travelling to Germany was altogether a different and enriching experience. I’m really glad that the company provides such initiatives as intercultural training, job training in Germany etc., as it really helped me to be aware of the cultural differences between India and Germany. This goes a long way in better team work. Being a global company, it’s important to inculcate cultural awareness among our colleagues to improve the synergy and interpersonal skills. It’s amazing how you rediscover yourself after every intercultural experience. Now I’m back home and I love to tell everyone who asks me about my German experience that I had the best work vacation.