We have asked our students who are on their year abroad now or have just returned to tell us about their experiences in Germany/Austria/Switzerland. Our first guest blogger is Andrew, an IBML student who is currently on an internship placement at Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt.
We have asked our students who are on their year abroad now or have just returned to tell us about their experiences in Germany/Austria/Switzerland. Our first guest blogger is Andrew, an IBML student who is currently on an internship placement at Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt. Here’s what he says:
“It’s been nearly two months since I started my 13-month placement with Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt and here, sitting at my desk, in Deutsche Bank Frankfurt, I’m going to briefly evaluate, of course not in the serious log-book sense, my 6 weeks at work and 10 weeks in the country.
I’d visited Germany quite a few times before, most recently having done a one month Geschäftssprache course last year in Berlin, before touching down on German soil, so the element of “not knowing what to expect” was never going to be there. Nonetheless I had, admittedly, heard quite a few negative comments, from German friends, about Frankfurt as a city and place to live. In the first 6 hours of my life in Frankfurt I came to the conclusion that they either hadn’t seen Frankfurt or needed to look a bit harder. The first things you notice are the buildings, New York like in their stature, which tower over a lively, diverse and, from my experience, ultimately friendly population. People spill out of the offices at the end of the day and fill the long stretch of bars and cafes which make up “Zeil”, the long street running through the centre of Frankfurt, a brief stroll down from the famous and hugely impressive “Alte Oper” concert hall, inaugurated in 1880, but obliterated in 1944 during WW2. The huge “My Zeil” shopping centre is one of the main points of interest, with an enormous two floor “Saturn” and the longest escalator I’ve ever seen, ascending the huge dome-like building, from which the best part of the city can be seen.
My only slight worry was my flat, as I had signed a contract and paid the deposit, without having ever seen it, having instead trusted an e-mail full of pictures to aid me in the decision making process. Fortunately, the flat turned out to be bigger, cleaner and in an even better area than expected. I live in the supposed “posh” area of Frankfurt, Westend, although it’s apparently only named “posh” because of the comparatively higher property prices, which, in comparison with some of those in England, really aren’t that bad. Before you ask, no, I won’t name the figure!
My first day at Deutsche Bank was 02.08, exactly one month after my arrival. With my suit on, for the first time in years, I had to bear the brunt of the brutal Frankfurt summer and navigate my way through the relatively complicated series of S-Bahns and U-Bahns and buses etc. I still don’t even know what the difference between them is. Anyhow, after picking up my ID card and the security staff accepting my intentions were nothing but innocent, I was let into the huge Deutsche Bank tower building in Eschborn, where I met the Aston student who I was replacing, who showed me to my place and wasted no time in starting my training. The whole experience was quite informal and I instantly liked the place, as well as the people with whom I work. There are a lot of jokes in the office, in contrast to the English people’s regular accusation of the Germans having no sense of humour. I’ve come to realise that they have quite a large amount of humour, but we simply don’t understand most of it, as numerous office joke chain e-mails in German, of which I have understood exactly none, have proved to me.
So, what have I learned/achieved/understood in my first 6 weeks of work and 10 weeks in Germany? Well, firstly, the Germans keep things ruthlessly tidy. The bins here are tidier than most people’s houses in England. You are expected to sort your rubbish into categories and are doomed to live in exile if you don’t, at least in my block of flats. On a serious note, they are extremely “umweltfreundlich” here, which I have a great deal of respect for. Secondly, speaking only from the point of view of a Deutsche Bank employee, they fully appreciate every attempt made to speak in German, which I have seldom avoided and learned a great deal in the process. Thirdly, the IBML placement year is, without a doubt, already the most insightful, interesting, useful, thought-provoking, career-inspiring and German thing I’ve ever done. I’ll be in touch to let you know how that continues.”