I still remember my interview day. I entered the office, collected the guest card from the reception and sat there waiting for my interviewer to receive me. Sitting there looking at the office, I was thinking to myself, that this is where I might want to end up being and this is the kind of office where I want to work. These thoughts kind of inspired me to perform well in my interview. Well, I realized it was just a thought because I still got screwed in the interview, about which I’ll talk soon. Sometimes I question myself, does the marks really show my potential? But after coming so far ahead I realized that I just can’t ask that question. Coming back to interview situation, I was waiting for my interviewer in the lobby and after a while he arrives to receive me. He introduces himself and tells me that the team leader who was supposed to take the interview is not available and he will be taking my interview. I said “fine” and I followed him to the conference room. At the beginning it was all general questions and as I started to think that it was going not so bad, he started asking me the basic technical questions. And I must admit that I really struggled to answer some of them. So after the interview, he said they would contact me in a week to confirm. Roughly after a weeks time I got acceptance call to pursue my Master thesis in this company which was beyond my expectation. Anyways, I was totally excited to work in a German company and to know their culture and of course the money which I would get during this period.
The company is located in Gifhorn and since its a small city, I decided to live in Hannover. Hannover is a very beautiful city with around 520,000 residents. Its the kind of city that you can fall love with and I cannot pin point to one thing. It took me 40 minutes in train to reach Gifhorn and a 10 minutes walk to the company from the train station (Bahnhof).
On the first day, I got introduced to the team and had a briefing about my assignment from my Guide. Then my guide took me to the students room, where all the students who are doing their internship or thesis were sitting in a separate office. I selected a desk for myself and I got introduced to rest of the students in the room. It took me few days to understand the working culture and expectation from the people, rather took me quite long time. The initial few days my guide explained me the main points and the scope of my work, by the way it was all in German. So, I understood half of it and assumed the rest :D. It went fine for couple of months. Yes, you guys read it right, it went on like 2-3 months. She used to explain me the work and other important things but then I could understand only half of it. It was really difficult days for me, since I had no exposure to technical German. Even simple words like automobile (Fahrzeug), input (Einganggroße), speed (Geschwindigkeit), gear (Getriebe) and so on… Unfortunately, my English has become worse as I hardly speak the language. Getting back to the topic, time was running but my thesis work stayed pending. Daily I used to spend more time in understanding what I need to do rather than actually doing the work. Every week we used to have team meeting and even there I could hardly understand anything. To tell more about the work culture, when some task is assigned to you, it is expected that I perform it independently and also come out with the ways of doing it with a good explanation. Which is very different from India (Indien), where people are expected to just do their job. I mean the difficulty lies in the quality of the work. Here, as a student I was involved in the research work, where I need to come out with some new ideas and techniques to do the task given to me, whereas in India, how to go ahead with the tasks is told by my manager or it is previously well defined or we just do what our client asks us to. There is hardly any creativity involved in there. And the freedom of doing how I want, of course with a valid explanation to it can hardly be seen in our working culture. Due to these differences there was lot misunderstandings between me and my guide. Let me not go to all those sentiments. I will rather keep them for myself.
The stress part of the work was just one side of it. The most memorable would be the fun I had with other students and also my stay in Hannover. There were couple of guys from Hannover, Jens and Dietmer, we used to travel together in train and hang out together in some weekends with a Mexican, Gerardo in Hannover. We went to couple of football matches, which used to be total fun, went to bars, had lots of beer, bitched about our work and so on. Since I was new to the city, I also joined a group called ‘Couch Surfing’. Through here I met couple of new people and made some good friends. I had the chance to meet all kind of interesting and crazy people through this forum. I think I will write a separate post on that. So this was the fun part of my thesis period.
The main point is that I managed to successfully complete my thesis with all the difficulties and extension of my contract period in the company. It has been a good learning experience and a little exposure to the German Industry and their working culture. Hope I could take all the positives from my experience and grow ahead in the future.