If you live abroad for a while, you get to know the country and its people in a completely different way. Our trainees Jennifer, Michel and Melvin embarked on this adventure. Jennifer and Michel both spent a semester of their dual studies abroad; Jennifer in Chile and Michel in Bali. Melvin opted for an internship abroad in the USA. Here, the three report on their experiences themselves.
Studying in Chile meant a radical change in lifestyle. Personally and professionally, I left my comfort zone and was confronted with situations that were unimaginable for me in Germany. For five months I lived in Concepción, the third largest city in the country, and studied at the Universidad del Desarrollo.
I lived in a house with 15 roommates from all over South America. Since Chile imports fresh food at a high cost, the daily diet was mostly fast food chains. One exception was the inexpensive and ubiquitous avocado, a component of almost every dish. What was particularly striking to me was the mentality of the Chileans. They are friendly and open people who never let themselves get stressed.
I gained theoretical insights into the Chilean economy in modules I took at the university. As part of the production management module, I was able to visit Chilean production companies and the country's largest ports. In addition to university, traveling was not neglected. In total, I traveled to nine countries in South America. I will never forget the climb to Machu Picchu and the border crossing to Colombia.
This semester has added unimagined value. I look forward to applying my newly gained experience and knowledge in the future and would like to express my sincere thanks to Mankiewicz. Without this support, the semester abroad would never have been possible.
Due to positive experiences, my choice fell on Indonesia. After I had applied internally and sorted out all the bureaucratic details, the time had come in September 2018: after a stopover in Dubai, the plane set its sights on Bali, my home for the next 15 weeks. The island has more than four million inhabitants and is about twice the size of Saarland.
Together with two of my fellow students and two Australians, I lived in a house that we had found in advance through AirBnB. As usual in Bali, we each borrowed our own scooter for the duration of our stay. At Udayana University, I was able to take five courses, four of which I could get credit for in Germany. In addition to the lectures, excursions to museums, plantations and companies were also offered.
Whoever hears about Bali often thinks of the paradisiacal beaches and an ideal world with crystal clear water. Presumably, one also gets to see this image when visiting the island as a vacationer and only visiting the "hot spots". But if you visit for a longer period of time, you get to know completely different sides of the island.
For me personally, the semester abroad has been one of the best experiences in my life so far. Besides the development of my intercultural competence, the improvement of my English skills and the spatial thinking - thanks to the scooter driving - I especially got to know myself better. I am very happy that I was able to have this experience and that Mankiewicz supported me on this trip.
Back in the summer of 2018, I got to know an employee at the Mankiewicz site in Charleston and had the opportunity to train with him on the production floor in Hamburg. In addition, I had long had the idea of getting to know another Mankiewicz location during my training. Both factors awakened the motivation in me to apply for an internship abroad in Charleston. Not only was I supported by Mankiewicz in organizing my travel, but I was also able to use a pool car on site, so I was mobile at all times.
In Charleston, I mainly worked in the from-the-ground-up production. I am training to be a chemical technician and even during my previous training period in Hamburg I was able to learn and work very independently. The production in Charleston is quite small compared to Hamburg. However, it is perfect for sharing and developing personal "know-how." And as a trainee, you can not only learn something, but also help to drive something forward.
I particularly liked the "feel-good factor" and the support in Charleston. I felt accepted and well received from day one. The time abroad showed me, or rather confirmed, what strengths I really have and the benefits of the knowledge I have acquired in the course of my training so far. I hope to be able to make my contribution to the development of the company in this way in the future.
Jennifer, Michel and Melvin have experienced a lot and had an exciting time. Because a stay abroad is always enriching and a very special kind of further training, Mankiewicz will be happy to support trainees and students with similar plans in the future.