When I began studying German at university, one of the most attractive aspects of the course was the third year spent abroad. I was excited about testing my language skills in the real world and also being in an environment which would allow me to develop my commercial awareness. Since starting, I have learnt that immersing yourself in the language and culture gives you insights like no other and a year abroad is truly a unique experience that cannot be emulated in any classroom.
There were three options for my year abroad at university: studying in a partner university, teaching English as a foreign language or doing a work placement. Understandably, there are people who choose to teach English as they wish to pursue a career in teaching once they graduate. I, however, do not want to be a teacher, so the question I was faced with was how I can make the most of this year abroad – not only in terms of language development but also in increasing my employability. Furthermore, what could I do that would ensure I was more employable than the numerous graduates that will be competing with me for every job application after I’m awarded my degree? The answer seemed clear to me – I needed to spend the year working abroad. Although I knew this would be challenging, I also knew I would gain a lot from it.
After two months of searching without finding anything that stood out, I finally came across Enterprise’s internship programme. I read through the profile and immediately decided it was a great opportunity and exactly what I was looking for – so I applied. So, why did Enterprise appeal so much? It was immediately clear that this wasn’t just a typical internship where you stack away files and become the tea maker. This instead was a golden opportunity to gain practical commercial experience and learn the skills needed to manage your own business.
The application process was smooth and easy – I applied online and had a phone interview just days later. This was conducted half in English and the other half in German. After that, I was invited to the German Headquarters in Eschborn for a face-to-face interview, branch visit and assessment centre. The face to face interview was again conducted half in English and half in German with the HR Manager Yasemin.
What I found great through the whole assessment was that I was assured that I wasn’t competing with other candidates. The assessors are more concerned whether you would fit in with Enterprise’s culture and ethos, as Enterprise’s Founding Values are key and evident throughout the business. The half-day branch visit gave me the opportunity to get an insight into the day to day life at the airport branch I was visiting. It also gave me the opportunity to speak to current employees about their experience and what they liked and disliked about their roles. What stood out the most was the fact that every employee I spoke to mentioned how close the team were and how much support they felt they had received. I found this particularly reassuring as it was quite daunting moving somewhere where I didn’t know anyone at all. The final part of the visit was an interview with the Branch Manager, Felix. He gave me a chance to ask questions about working in Frankfurt specifically.
Fast forward to now, and my experience has been amazing. The internship is structured so that you have clear goals to follow, meaning you never feel directionless. Each employee is put into a team, led by one of the Assistant Managers, which allows them to closely monitor your progress. The roadmap for the first 12 weeks sets learning targets which ensure that you progress at the right pace.
This, coupled with the guidance provided, has given me the opportunity to grow and develop more during my placement year than I could have imagined. I have learnt the elements involved in running a business even down to the small but vital details; for example, reviewing the monthly income statement and ordering office supplies. This genuine practical experience will stand me in good stead for when I graduate, and I now feel more confident looking towards my future career.
It also turns out the staff who said I would be joining an incredibly close team were right! Since starting, all the colleagues I have met have been incredibly welcoming and friendly. Not only has this made my internship more enjoyable but has immeasurably enriched my experience. I will leave Enterprise with lifelong friends and will always have somewhere to go whenever I return to Frankfurt. I would honestly recommend my time to anyone.
My advice for those applying for a year abroad:
Benefits of a year abroad:
If you want to spend your year with a company that has a truly global reach and perspective on business, then Enterprise is perfect for you. With the integrity of a family-run business, but the dynamism of a world leader, you’ll be sure to learn a lot from your placement year with Enterprise. Make sure you apply to our internships now.
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