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Interviews

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Valentina Kohn, Semester abroad in Wales

Valentina Kohn has been working at Uzin Utz AG since 1 October 2013 and is enrolled in a dual study programme in Business Administration with a specialisation in Industry at the Duale Hochschule (Cooperative State University) in Heidenheim. From January to the end of March 2016, she attended the study programme in International Business Management at the University of South Wales and successfully passed her double degree. She therefore has an official degree from the University of South Wales.

 

How did your trip to Wales come about?

I have always been interested in other countries and cultures. That is why I spent a year abroad in Australia after receiving my school leaving certificate (Abitur). When I heard that Uzin Utz AG gives me the opportunity of going abroad, I immediately gathered information and chose a longer stay in Wales. This gave me the unique chance of getting an impression of peoples’ everyday life and to socialise with people from all over the world.

What were your expectations and objectives when you went to Wales?

Before my stay abroad, I promised myself to gather many new experiences and to meet new people. In retrospect, I kept the promise. My objective was to improve my English skills. Of course, I was also curious to see what everyday life is like at university and what is yet to come for me.

What did you perceive to be the greatest differences compared to everyday life in Germany?

The very first day confirmed the prejudice that students at universities don’t take the attendance at lectures too seriously. I was sitting in the lecture hall with other students from Germany when, eventually, a professor came in, laughed and said: “You must be the Germans.” Apparently it is common practice there that lectures don’t take place on the first day.

Food products could be ordered online by the students – that was really convenient. The visit at the pub was also on the agenda. At 5 p.m., the pubs are already full, but they usually also close at 10 or 11 p.m. Live music is simply a must at the pubs.

What can you tell us about the university and what were your tasks?

There was a gym, a pub and a library on campus. Our lectures took place in a very large lecture hall, unlike in Heidenheim. The students came from all over the world, for example Quatar, Indonesia, Spain, France and China, which made many topics of the lectures very exciting.

What did you do in your free time?

I attended the welcome event of the university, where Welsh food was offered and Welsh music was played. That was really very impressive and interesting. Apart from that, I visited the coast and castles as well as the surrounding national park with my fellow students. In the evenings, we often met at the pub and listened to live music. When the chance to travel for several days came, we spent four days in London and visited the city – and also did a shopping tour, of course.

What were your biggest challenges?

The lectures, which are structured differently compared to Germany, posed a challenge in the beginning. We had lectures on three to four days of the week. Our course instructor always described the remaining time as “library time”. The library was open 24 hours and well-visited throughout. We met there to write term papers, which were graded instead of exams.

Besides, it wasn’t always easy to understand the Welsh language. Nowadays, “Welsh” has very few active speakers. Nevertheless, there are still many people in the northern regions, whose mother tongue is Welsh, and who learn English as their first foreign language.

Place names like Merthyr Tydfil are common here. The longest place name is “lanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch” which translates to St. Mary’s church (Llanfair) in the hollow (pwll) of the white hazel (gwyn gyll) near to (ger) the rapid whirlpool (chwyrn drobwll) of Llantysilio (llantysilio) of the red cave (ogo goch). Wales is called “Cymru”. The loudspeaker announcements on the trains are fortunately both English and Welsh.

What did you personally gain from the experience?

Many new experiences with people from all over the world, studying at a university and numerous impressions of landscapes.

 

The interview was conducted in 2016.

Thomas Pfuhl: Staying abroad in a training context

Our trainee Thomas Pfuhl visited our subsidiary Unipro in Haaksbergen during his second year of training.

How did your trip to Haaksbergen come about?

As we, the trainees at Uzin Utz AG, have the possibility to stay abroad at one of our subsidiaries, I decided to go to Unipro in Haaksbergen, the greenest factory in Europe. My mentor Lena Hausner had visited our subsidiary in the Netherlands the year before and was absolutely thrilled.

What were your expectations and objectives when you went to Haaksbergen?

I had never worked abroad and I was also very interested in the country. And, of course, the Dutch culture and the way people work in the Netherlands.

What can you tell us about Unipro and what were your tasks?

It had been clear to me beforehand that the factory is the greenest factory in Europe but I didn’t expect everything to be so advanced there. Everything seemed very bright and transparent and you could immediately tell that sustainability isn’t only called a top priority, it is lived as one. The working environment is also great here, all colleagues are very nice and friendly.

I worked in marketing and in product management. For marketing, I mostly worked on promotional material at the marketing store or translated application references for Arturo products from Dutch to German. But working with the Apptivator was also one of my tasks. In product management, I focussed on the translation of product data sheets from German to English most of the time. But checking and correcting product data sheets was also part of my job. Apart from my regular tasks, I also found enough variety in other activities. One one day, for example, I could visit a building site in Bitburg, Germany, with Ms. Ruthmann and a technician. There, I was able to get a first-hand impression of how working with Arturo products looks like and what the exact procedures are. Moreover, I got a large guided tour around the company in the context of the annual Arturo Customer Day, including a presentation on the creation and construction of the new subsidiary. The tour only confirmed my first impressions. During the planning and construction of the subsidiary, special attention was paid to ensuring that everything corresponds to the values of sustainability. The entire building consists of up to 60% recycled materials and thus gives home to the “greenest” factory in Europe. Furthermore, the visit of Mr. Müllerschön and his presentation on GOLD also provided a welcome change.

What did you perceive to be the greatest differences compared to everyday life in Germany?

I must say that there are some differences compared to everyday work in Germany. The working hours, for example, are different. The lunch breaks are shorter. The food was quite good. In the Netherlands, it is common practice to drink a glass of milk and eat a soup (mustard soup) for lunch. It was noticeable that all colleagues – also the bosses – are addressed by their first name. On my commute to work, I had to pass small dirt roads – always hoping that no car appears. In addition, my satnav only spoke Dutch. But I still always arrived at my destination.

And what were your impressions of the country and the people?

The people are very open and friendly and there are cyclists everywhere. So you have to pay more attention when turning right than when turning left. The landscapes are beautiful, very flat, very idyllic. You see many cows and sheep – almost like in the Allgäu region.

What did you do in your free time?

Since the weather was very rainy for two weeks, I wasn’t out and about very often. One afternoon, I visited Enschede, a very nice little town near Haaksbergen.

What were your biggest challenges?

I had never been away from home on my own for two weeks. I was all the more glad when I arrived in a taxi at the guest house after the long train ride. The biggest challenge for me was that I had provide for myself during these two weeks. It was nice that I could sleep well without being woken up by my little brother.

What did you personally gain from the experience?

I gathered a great many new and interesting impressions and experiences. I also got to know new colleagues and hope that I’ll be in contact with them now and then.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I think it’s great that we trainees get the possibility to travel abroad. I really enjoyed my time in Haaksbergen and highly recommend a stay there to the other trainees. I advise my colleagues to take every opportunity to go to Haaksbergen on business – it’s really worth it. One thing is certain: I will never forget this stay. Many thanks to all those involved.

 

The interview was conducted in 2016.

Christoph Maier: Staying abroad in a training context

Shanghai adventure – Living and working in the “Middle Kingdom” Christoph Maier makes his dream come true at Uzin Utz AG and heads off to one of the world’s most modern and unique major cities

What took you to the “Middle Kingdom” – China, Mr Maier? What tasks did you have?

Uzin Shanghai’s website had been looked after until then by an external agency and did not meet our CI specifications, being rather an individual creation. The intention now was to change this. As a result, I was asked whether I wanted to do my overseas posting there to set up the English-language website. I was then given a one-week, comprehensive Typo3 “crash course” so as to be fully equipped for my task of training people on site.

So, you really did embark on an adventure. How did you manage linguistically and how long were you in Shanghai?

I spent seven weeks on site there. I don’t speak Chinese, but I tried to learn a few words, so that I could communicate with the taxi driver a little bit, for instance. In China, taxis are a much-used means of public transport, just like buses or trams in this country, because the price is comparatively very reasonable. And fortunately, there are also helpful apps which give you the address you want in Chinese characters in next to no time. On the other hand, virtually everyone in the office spoke English brilliantly.

What comes to mind when you think of Shanghai? What were your first impressions?Shanghai….it’s massive. The skyline alone with the high, modern skyscrapers is huge. The city has 24 million inhabitants and four million people passing through. The heat is very oppressive, at night too. We are talking about an average temperature of 38°C with 85 percent humidity here.

What were your expectations when you went to the Far East?

I wanted to put my language skills to the test, but also to pick up a lot of the culture and get new impressions. And above all: to experience living in one of the world’s major cities. At the start, everything is so big and strange, but there are so many fantastic opportunities which I just wanted to enjoy.

What impression did the country and the people leave with you?

The people are so interested and cordial. The Sales Director, Adam Huang, gave me a really warm welcome straight away at the airport. However, it does also depend a little on where you are. In the suburbs of Shanghai, you tend to be more conspicuous as a foreigner and people are a little more reserved. There is so much to discover in Shanghai itself, that you could spend an eternity just there. So, there was a cultural programme every weekend, and afterwards we plunged into the nightlife. You really do get to know new people – especially other foreigners – quickly. Another advantage of a major city like Shanghai.

And what was your everyday work like?

Colleagues were all very open and were pleased when I visited them in their offices. The Chinese themselves tend to be used to a hierarchical way of living and working. They like asking questions and get decisions approved. In the process, they work very accurately, quickly and reliably. It also seems quite normal in a city like Shanghai to make a journey of one hour or more to get to work. There are hardly any trained flooring installers in China, because trades are not highly esteemed for historical reasons – one reason why Chinese men like growing long fingernails and why white skin is an ideal of beauty for women. This is the way they show that they don’t have to earn their livelihood in the open air doing artisan work. Farmers are therefore also happy to take on flooring installation, after they have cultivated their fields.

What was really unexpected for you?

The internationality: McDonald‘s, Burger King and Kentucky Fried Chicken are as well represented as exquisite Turkish or Italian restaurants. There is also a large selection of very expensive fashion shops. What is astonishing about this is that you are in a luxury street, then you just go round the corner and it’s the complete opposite. In spite of these differences and the size of the city, you feel very safe there at any time of the day and night. For instance, I felt safer there to some extent than in Ulm. In addition, Shanghai is considerably cleaner than I had expected.

Suppose you go into a Chinese restaurant in Germany and then in China. What is striking?

…That there are big differences. There is an incredibly large variety in China. There are dishes which you enjoy eating and are very tasty, but also all the oddities such as the thousand-year-old egg or chicken feet which you have heard people talking about, but which are all not necessarily inedible. Many Chinese dishes are also similar to the Chinese cuisine we know, but there are for instance still bones in a roast duck after it has been prepared and these are thrown down next to the plate or into an extra small bowl. One peculiarity is that, when you go out to eat with several people, one person orders for all those present and these dishes are then shared amongst everyone.

And what about dropping intercultural clangers in such a foreign culture?

People do always say that blowing your nose is frowned upon in China, but that’s not my experience. It seems to me smacking your lips is commonplace. One important thing to know: you don’t give tips. That would be like saying “This is an investment I am making in you, do better next time”. Money and business cards are always handed over with both hands as an expression of politeness and esteem. In addition, you should yourself act somewhat more modestly in conversation, and so give your counterpart sufficient praise. Otherwise it may be the case that the person you are talking to very quickly loses interest.

What other challenges did you also have to meet?

On the first evening, I got to know a Chinese guy in a bar who immediately invited me round for a meal at the weekend with all his family. That is a special honour in China and the host endeavours to serve every possible delicacy. So, precisely the things which take some getting used to as European and thus present a culinary challenge (chicken feet, seaweed, sheep’s heart, basically offal of all kinds and lots more). You spend a very long sitting down which is ample for eating, but afterwards you go home really abruptly, at least from our perspective. Thank goodness, my new friend had a quiet word with me about this. In addition, you should never eat everything up, because this makes the host feel that they have not served up enough.

Those really are a lot of exciting impressions and cultural differences which you experienced in Shanghai. What conclusion do you draw from this for yourself?

You can deal with anything if you just have the courage to do it. It is simply a case of daring to do it. Sometimes, you are also brought back down to earth in the process. But this is always better than never having tried. Above all, I will always remember that friendliness shown to me by people I didn’t know at all.

I can only recommend this kind of stay. You take so many impressions away with you and develop an awareness of what you have at home and learn to value this as well. I can advise everyone not to be put off by prejudices. Shanghai is a city with two faces: poor and rich.

Next time, I would choose a different season for my stay because of the climate, but I would never want to miss out on those seven wonderful weeks.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank once again all those involved in enabling me to have this chance (special thanks to: Stephan Bayer, Adam Huang, Angelika Seregi, Sabrina Grafe, Marina Braunger and Larissa Gao). Everything worked out brilliantly and there were no problems at all. I couldn’t have imagined it being any better, even in my wildest dreams.

 

The interview was conducted in 2013.

 

 

Steffen Bossler

How did you find your way to us?

I got to know Uzin Utz AG at the Education Fair in 2014 where I found about the training programme to become an IT specialist and I then applied. After my application I was invited to a one-week internship. During this week I gained a lot of positive impressions, so I was very happy, to start this hands-on training as an IT specialist for system integration in 2014.

What is your career background?

I completed my school leaving certificate (Abitur) in 2012 at the Joachim Hahn Gymnasium in Blaubeuren. After my 2-year computer science degree at the University of Stuttgart, I decide to train for the IT sector and therefore applied to Uzin Utz AG.

What does it mean to be a trainee at Uzin Utz?

For me a training programme at Uzin Utz AG means working for a reliable, long-established and international employer with prospects. Uzin Utz AG supports my acquisition of in-depth knowledge and also advances my personal and professional development. Here the company is able to retain a balance between a diverse training programme and an active contribution to leisure activities. Worthy of special mention in this regard is the annual Summer Holidays Programme 2015 that Uzin Utz AG organised with its trainees for the children of employees and which was a great pleasure for me.

What expectations does Uzin Utz AG have of trainees?

Uzin Utz AG gives trainees the feeling of being an important and meaningful employee. In return, we try to work with commitment, resilience, responsibility and teamwork.

Which area do you work in?

Within my 2-year training programme I am mainly working in the IT management department where I can really pursue my interests in practical, tangible activities such as the systematic demarcation, identification and elimination of software and hardware problems. I am also in a position to gather my own experiences and impressions from other departments which is enabling me to gain a better understanding of internal company processes.


What do you enjoy most at work?

The point I would like to emphasise in particular about my training is that there is hardly any routine. All internal orders are different. The opportunity to plan my own workflow throughout the day, to help others and to drive forward projects independently and complete them successfully is a great motivator for me.

The positive climate and good communications within the IT management department is what I enjoy the most. My participation in our training company, JuzinIOR, also increases the variety I experience in my work. This is where the trainees design monthly sales campaigns for Uzin Utz AG employees.

 
What makes working at Uzin Utz AG so special?

Primarily the respectful interaction between colleagues, and the trust bestowed in my work help me greatly in my daily work. Through a dynamic and varied area of responsibility Uzin Utz AG is helping me further my development and is encouraging me. The team spirit of our colleagues and the opportunity of asking any type of open questions really makes the training at UZIN UTZ AG something special.


The interview was conducted in January 2016.

Chris Gansloser, Chemicals Trainee

How long have you been working at Uzin Utz AG and what are your specific tasks?

I started my training as a chemicals trainee at Uzin Utz AG in September 2015. My tasks as a chemicals trainee are very diverse, but in general it can be said I am the helping hand of production.


What do you particularly enjoy?

I find it fantastic that as trainees we learn about different areas which makes our work very varied. The favourite part of my work is in the machine hall where the adhesives are produced.


What does it mean to be a trainee at Uzin Utz AG?

It's really brilliant to be on the training programme at Uzin Utz AG. We trainees are proactively supported at all times. In our trainee company, JuzinIOR, we can demonstrate that we are able to work independently. I very much like this aspect!


What is your career background?

Initially I started a teacher training course but that was too theoretically for me. I was much more interested in working in the chemicals sector as chemistry is my passion. Therefore this training is perfect for me.


Finally, is there anything else you would like to add?

At Uzin Utz AG all my colleagues are very nice and helpful. I am very fortunate to be able to do my training here.

The interview was conducted in January 2016.

Marc Bierer: Staying abroad in a training context

Our colleague Marc Bierer spent four exciting weeks as part of his training at our subsidiary Uzin Ltd in England.

How did your trip to England come about?

As part of my Dual Study Uzin Utz AG enabled me to spend four weeks in one of our subsidiaries. Because of the English language I quickly chose Uzin Ltd in Rugby.


What were your expectations and objectives when you went to Rugby in Warwickshire?

In fact I had no expectations, I was more excited and eager. Just before I flew to England I had been told that my task was to implement the CRM system and that this had just been briefed in England. In addition to this task, my objective was to learn as much as possible within the four weeks about English working practices, the English way of life and the characteristics of the English.


What you perceive to be the greatest differences from everyday life in Germany?

The first big difference is in the mornings as the hot Full English breakfast with its baked beans, sausages, bacon, hash browns and eggs is very different from our German breakfast. Also, in England work starts very late at 9.00 am and breaks do not take place at set times as in Germany, but can be taken when people want to take them. I was initially very surprised by the food culture. When I first bought fish & chips I was asked if I wanted vinegar on my chips. I was positively surprised, as this is a sweeter type of vinegar and I enjoyed it very much every other time I had it.


What can you tell us about our affiliated company in Rugby and what was your role in your company?

At first I was very surprised by the size of the subsidiary which was smaller than I had initially expected with nine office employees and 14 field staff. However, during my stay I came to have great respect and esteem for the company as I realised that this is what had created a very pleasant and almost family atmosphere. I was also fortunate to get to know some of the field staff.

In the subsidiary I was responsible for preparing the implementation of the CRM in England. My contribution here was the collation and review of customer data from different databases as well as from the field staff and the translation of the missing parts of the CRM. On the other hand I carried out specific accounting and marketing tasks.


And what were your impressions of the country and the people?

My English colleagues were very nice and helpful and also very supportive in my spare time. Starting with the morning lift to the office, the bike that a colleague lent me and the tips for a good weekend, I was always well looked after.

The English per se, as one would expect, are very polite and correct. However, their special sense of humour would soon manifest itself which made me laugh again and again. But amongst football fans this fine English way of behaviour was forgotten shortly before arriving at the stadium which guaranteed an amazing atmosphere!

I was particularly struck by the multicultural society which made a big impression on me. On my weekend trips I was always meeting people from different countries. At the outset I had not expected that.


What did you do in your free time?

In my free time I explored the town of Rugby on my “rental bike”, went out and about in the town, went jogging or went to the gym with my colleague. In the second week of my stay I had to get my hands dirty as I had to repair the flat tyre of my loaned bike. For the weekends I planned sightseeing trips to the football cities of Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and London, where due to wet weather I visited several museums, amongst other things, watched an Aston Villa Premier League game and took a Jack the Ripper and London Dungeon Tour. In Birmingham and London the sightseeing tours were more ad-hoc and organised privately since in Birmingham I met three young English guys in the hostel with whom I had many experiences from the university campus to an American Football game. In London I had the opportunity, through my acquaintance with an Indian roommate to take an Indian-themed city tour which was a lot of fun.


What were then your biggest challenges?

At the beginning of a conversation, it was always a challenge to understand the people and to adjust to the individual British or Irish accents. Otherwise the challenges tended to be more minor such as getting accustomed to the English road traffic, as it is extremely hectic and the traffic driving on the left was a particular challenge. I can count myself lucky that I was always safe on my bike as in the first few weeks I often found myself riding on the wrong side of the road.


What did you personally gain from the experience?

Both a special friendship with my Indian mate who I met in London and also four weeks full of amazing impressions. In addition, the experience that it's great fun to work in another country and to learn how things work there.
Therefore, three cheers to my English colleagues and to Uzin Utz AG for making such a stay possible. 

 

The interview was conducted in 2015.

 

 

Sibel Aral: Via an internship to a trainee position

How did you find your way to us?

I got to know about Uzin Utz AG at the Education Fair in February 2014. When I then read on the website about an internship position I immediately applied. I was delighted to secure an internship place at such a good company.


What is your career background?

First of all I studied business information technology for 2 years in Weingarten. But over time I realised that this course was not really meeting my expectations. Then at the Education Fair 2014 I started talking to our personnel officer Angelika Seregi who made me aware of Uzin Utz AG and I decided to take up an internship position there.

I started my internship in April 2015 as an assistant in the applications technology area. A series of practical product training sessions enabled me to become more familiar with the product range. This was a great start for me! Then in September 2015 I started my training to become an industrial sales representative.


What does it mean to be a trainee at Uzin Utz AG?

For me Uzin Utz AG is a very good training company because we are mentored here really well. We trainees are highly esteemed by our colleagues. There is an openness to listening to our ideas and opinions and these are incorporated into decision-making processes. The training is very varied because as trainees we spend time in different departments learning about many work processes as we go along.


How many trainees are there currently at the Ulm site and what can you say about the training company?

Currently we are a group of 22 commercial and industrial trainees in Ulm. Our training company, the company within the company, is called JuzinIOR. All the trainees meet up every Wednesday to tackle any ongoing tasks. We plan different campaigns each month and implement them. We also look after the vending machines in the canteen and run our own accounting for it. This gives us the opportunity to organise and learn operational processes for ourselves. The benefit is that we become familiar with the processes and will be able to apply them in our subsequent line of work.


What are your expectations/wishes as a trainee?

For the rest of my training period I hope that I will be equally warmly welcomed and supported in the departments to which I am assigned as I used to in my previous departments. I also want to complete my training successfully and find a permanent job at Uzin Utz AG.


What do you particularly value at Uzin Utz AG as an employer?

From the very beginning I could see that all employees are highly esteemed at Uzin Utz AG. I think this is very important and it also creates a good working environment.
Finally, is there anything else you would like to add?
I am very happy to be working here and I hope I can continue my further development here.

 

The interview was conducted in 2015.

Lisa Saussele, Dual Studies, business and industry management

How did you find your way to us?

After my school leaving certificate (Abitur) and a one year period as an au-pair in Australia I started an internship at Uzin Utz AG in July 2011 in the Board Assistance area. I was involved in a range of projects such as the “Centennial Anniversary” and the “Open Day”. This was a great start with many different insights. In October I then started my Dual Study in business and industry management in combination with the Duale Hochschule in Heidenheim.


What does it mean to be a trainee at Uzin Utz?

All trainees are highly esteemed by colleagues. We can express our ideas and opinions freely and therefore incorporate them into the company. This encourages and stimulates us, we learn a lot of new things and receive full support from our colleagues. This is not always a given in the trainee world.


What expectations does Uzin Utz AG have of trainees?

The training programme at Uzin Utz AG is very varied and exciting – from the induction week itself in which all the trainees get to know each other through the daily working environment to the annual trainees trip. From the outset a high degree of trust and transferred responsibility is bestowed in the trainees. Therefore we get the opportunity to realise our potential and further our development.

And in our training company, JuzinIOR, the company within the company, we gain fantastic new insights and learn to interact in a team. For example, one big JuzinIOR project is the autonomous organisation of the Education Fair which takes place every two years in Ulm.


Which area do you work in and what do you particularly enjoy about it?

During my training periods I moved through almost every department in order to get a good overview of the entire company. I also had the opportunity to work for a month at the English subsidiary, Uzin Ltd., in Rugby, Warwickshire. I also supported the personnel management department for six months where I had my own area of responsibility and was responsible for applicant management. It was great! At the present time I am writing my bachelor thesis at the brand Wolff in Vaihingen/Enz.


When you were at school did you know what you would do in the future?

Initially everything was new for me and a very different challenge to what I had faced at school. But my colleagues and the other trainees all accepted me warmly from the outset. This enabled me to integrate quickly into the company.


What do you value at Uzin Utz AG as an employer?

It's really fun being a trainee in this company as all employees are highly esteemed here and there is just such a great working environment!
 
The interview was conducted in 2012. Mrs. Saussele is now the Marketing Manager for Pallmann.
 

Anita Kübek, Industrial Sales Representative with an additional qualification

Our colleague Anita Kübek spent two exciting weeks as part of her training at Uzin Ltd in England.

How did your trip to England come about?

As part of their training at Uzin Utz AG, every trainee can visit a foreign subsidiary for two weeks and assist with the work there.

As I really love the English language, I quickly chose England. So, this soon meant: off to England!

 

What were your expectations and objectives when you went to Rugby in Warwickshire?

I didn’t really have any expectations. I preferred to be open to surprises about what was in store for me and for instance to experience for myself the way people work in England, what colleagues at Uzin Ltd are like and whether there any differences from Germany. I was also curious about the English lifestyle and what makes it special. However, I did have one definite objective – I really wanted to try a “full English breakfast”! ;-)

What were the experiences that made the biggest impression on you?

That it hardly ever rained – that really surprised me! And also how different the organisation of a working day is there. For instance, the working day doesn’t start until 9 a.m. and there isn’t any fixed midday break between 12 and 1 pm either, like there is in Germany. That was something I really did have to get used to.

What tasks were you able to carry out at our affiliated company?

Because I have already been working for quite a long time in the customer service department in Germany, I am very familiar with these processes. I therefore had the task of reviewing and updating the commercial procedures in SAP.

It was also fascinating to visit Dachser’s logistics centre where Uzin Ltd’s goods are stored. A personal guided tour meant I could see for the first time how big everything is there and how the goods are delivered to the “consumer”.

And what were your impressions of the country and the people?

The people there are really great, especially my colleagues. But, what most impressed me is the extremely polite way people deal with each other. Probably an effect of the country being ruled by a monarch. It was very interesting to experience being addressed as “Lady” or “Madam” – “very British”! The environment around Rugby is also remarkable. Everywhere is green and flourishing, and it seemed to me that nature there is a little ahead of us here at home in Germany.

What did you do in your free time?

As I was staying with a colleague, I did lots of things with her and her family, such as trips out in the area or going for a “full English breakfast”. I also went to Warwick for a day to have a look at the castle there. It is one of the best-preserved castles, looks fabulous and there’s lots of entertainment on offer. There were for example a bird of prey display, historical catapult shows, a dungeon, archery, etc. It was really great!

I also spent a weekend in London at the end.

What were your biggest challenges?

The biggest challenge was really understanding the strong British accent which many people had. This occasionally led to some very funny situations!

What did you personally gain from the experience?

Lots and lots of tea!

And of course the memory of two wonderful weeks full of positive impressions. It was a great experience which I will never forget. So, heartfelt thanks to my fantastic colleagues at Uzin Ltd who made my stay so great and naturally to Uzin Utz AG who enabled me to do this. Cheers!!!

 

The interview was conducted in 2015.