During the summer after my sophomore year, I worked at an IT Department for ZF Steering Systems (ZF Lenksysteme GmbH), an auto-supplier based in Schwaebisch Gmuend, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany. I found the internship through the Cultural Vistas Internship Program in Germany. As a German/American dual citizen, I was hoping to work in Germany after my positive experiences in the TU Berlin program the previous summer, and I wanted to take the opportunity to improve my business German competency and step out of my comfort zone to work abroad in a foreign environment. I was the first foreign intern that the IT department had ever had, so it definitely took some adjustment to acclimate myself to the work culture and develop a healthy relationship with everyone in the office.
Overall, I significantly expanded my programming knowledge and was able to develop interpersonal skills through working with consultants and in project teams. I also feel that I left a positive impression of what Michigan engineers are capable of and provided the IT department with a valuable Windows application that they still use to automate service request ticket processing.