Exploring Germany: Study-Related Internships | TopMBA.com

Exploring Germany: Study-Related Internships

By QS Contributor

Updated August 14, 2014 Updated August 14, 2014

TopMBA.com speaks with students who have undertaken the Steuben-Schurz-Society e.V. Transatlantic Internship Program between the US and Germany. 

Studying may be theoretical, intercultural understanding may be challenging and foreign countries may be too far away to get really acquainted with. The US and Germany are among the most important trade partners, and in the era of globalization, transatlantic or international experiences are a basic element of a successful career. Being familiar with different cultures, values, and languages is a truly enriching and almost indispensable tool for the younger academic generation to cope with the challenges and expectations of the future. As the oldest German-American friendship organization in Germany, the Steuben-Schurz-Society e.V. provides internships on a non-profit transatlantic level between both countries. Students get an in-depth view into the professional world before they start to work in their chosen fields, not to mention, an experience in Germany or the US. The program is constantly extending its network to more employers, partners and universities, motivating students to experience the opportunity the organization offers.

Brett Pawielski

University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Campus
Stevens Point in Wisconsin/ USA
I am an intern at a small engineering firm that deals mostly with building technology such as heating and electrical systems. The company works with renewable energy and energy efficiency technology on a regular basis, which makes it a perfect fit for me. I have always wanted to work with such projects, and this internship has given me the opportunity to do so. Working in a small firm means that I have many different responsibilities, and it also means that I am learning all the time. Every day brings something new, from making energy-use simulations to editing architectural drawings. I have even attended a few meetings, which were especially challenging for my technical German knowledge. Everything considered it has been a wonderful experience. And without the Steuben-Schurz-Gesellschaft it would have never happened.

Derek Crow

Southern Ilinois University
Carbondale in Ilinois/ USA
I work as an intern at a public relations agency. Since joining this agency, I have gained much experience in the exciting world of public relations, helping support our team by our main clients, a German sparkling wine producer, and a bilateral international organization. I was able to participate in many projects. The wine client enjoys the largest market share of German sparkling wine producers; therefore there is never a boring moment in the agency. Through the preparation of press kits, press notifications, and presentations there is always much work to accomplish. Working with my colleague is what I enjoyed most when I had the opportunity to accompany him on photo shoots. This is usually a beginning point in a press notification and one gets to see the opportunity of how the public will be notified of new offers and products. Through the international organization I was able to support the agency, the Frankfurt chapter president, by events, press notifications, and other tasks. I was also involved in a large event that took place in the headquarters of one of the banks in Frankfurt and I was able to assist in many preparations. It has been an inspiring experience to work in the agency and in Germany.

Johnathan Gast

UC Hastings College of Law
San Francisco in California/ USA
The Steuben-Schurz-Gesellschaft's Deutsch-Amerikanisches Praktikantenprogramm provided me with the opportunity to work for three months in Frankfurt at one of the finest international law firms in the world. Being able to work day in and day out with leading minds in the legal profession on projects for world renowned businesses is one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. It presented me with the opportunity to not only learn the fundamentals of the legal practice but also the inter-workings of international transactions. Furthermore, it challenged me to engage my co-workers in their native language, thereby strengthening and expanding my business German vocabulary and legalese. Throughout my internship I gained knowledge and skills, which specialized me for international labor markets and increased my job prospects for the future. Using the contacts and opportunities presented by the internship, I have been able to learn more about the international job market in my field, and concentrate my efforts to successfully launch my career once I finish with law school. Although the internship contributed mostly to my own educational and occupational development, I have no doubts that it also had a positive effect on those with whom I worked. In a sense, being an American intern in a German company is akin to being a diplomat. Through my daily contact with German and international attorneys, I was able to counter stereotypes of Americans that tend to negatively impact American citizens living and working abroad. On the flipside of the coin, I too was brought closer to German business culture through the internship, thus breaking down false impressions I had about Germans in the workplace. While the internship experience itself is worthy of praise, the side benefits of living in Frankfurt - aside from it being the financial capital of continental Europe - include its diverse and happening nightlife, the opportunity to meet and befriend Germans through the Steuben-Schurz-Gesellschaft's Juniorengruppe, the proximity to the international airport (for quick trips across Europe), the cultural landscape of Hessen, and the serene natural surroundings of the Frankfurt area. And even though Frankfurt is only one of the possible locations where an intern may get placed, every location in Germany is guaranteed to present advantages of its own. The Steuben-Schurz-Gesellschaft provides an invaluable service through its internship program that is really one of a kind. It helped me achieve several short-term goals and put me on track to fulfilling my long-term goal of practicing international law in Europe. I would encourage anyone interested in challenging themselves to take up an internship with a German company. Take the initiative and apply!

Derek Stegelmeier

Brigham Young University
Provo in Utah/ USA
I have always wanted to work in Europe. I served an LDS mission in the Netherlands from 2003 to 2005 and since then have always dreamed of one day coming back to Europe to work. This internship has been the perfect opportunity for me to get some real world experience and better understand what it is that I want to do with my education. I have worked for the last four months as an intern at a law firm in Frankfurt, Germany. During this internship I had the opportunity to become better aquainted with the German legal system as well as the workings of a law firm. It has always been a dream of mine to become an international attorney, so this was perfect, especially as an undergrad student, to be able to see exactly what life in my chosen career is really like. Not only that, but it has also given me an opportunity to greatly improve my German while working among great co-workers who are always eager to help me language-wise if I ever have any questions. The best part about this internship though has been the ability to really contribute to the work that is being done here. Whether it was writing letters to clients or researching laws for an upcoming case, this job has made me really feel included in what it is the firm is doing. It is not just a temporary job, but the things that I have been able to do have truly helped move the work along and been useful to the clients. Being part of the Steuben-Schurz Gesellschaft has also let me meet people that have become my good friends and with whom I will continue to keep in contact with even after my time in Germany is done. For anyone considering doing an internship through the program I highly recommend it. This experience has been a watershed moment in my life that I will never forget. by Juliane Adameit, D.E.A.

USA-Interns Program, Steuben-Schurz-Society e.V.

This article was originally published in November 2012 . It was last updated in August 2014

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