Finishing my bachelor's degree in Information Management and Corporate Communication was a great feeling. And now? I knew I didn’t want to do a master's program as the next step; it was time to get to work!
I wanted to work in a multicultural, international environment to get an insight into economic processes in a foreign country. The reason why I considered this opportunity was a lecture during my studies at the University. In the fifth semester, I had an intercultural management class and got information about American culture and customs. I think it is interesting to know how other countries cope with entrepreneurial tasks and challenges.
A trainee program was the solution. Lutze is very experienced in offering international internships and trainee programs in the USA. In cooperation with InterExchange, I applied for a visa and did all the paperwork. After my appointment at the American Embassy in Frankfurt. I was able to start my new adventure in the USA. I flew from Frankfurt, Germany to Charlotte, North Carolina at the beginning of June 2016.
After I got a general overview about the products and work processes at Lutze Inc., I supported the Marketing and Product Management Department. I spent a lot of time with online marketing activities, internal/external communication projects, and preparations for a new marketing concept for a product line. I also did reviews of Lutze product portfolio and I acted like an intermediary between marketing and product management and combined both requirements in one person. It was great to see that my suggestions are taken seriously and put into practice.
The first days were very exciting; I had to come along with so many new experiences. But it was really easy to get in touch with American society. The people are very friendly and helpful and I’m so glad of being a part of this team at Lutze Inc. There are some differences in the American culture or even to European culture, such as saying "Hi" or "How are you?" every time you step into a store or start a conversation. Also the service in restaurants is different; a free table is shown by a hostess and every five to ten minutes the waiter asks if everything is okay and refills your drinks. Cashless payment made my life much easier, and I'll miss the opportunity to go shopping on Sundays or after 10 p.m.
Meet-up groups are quite common on the East Coast. It's an easy way to meet new people with the same interests and preferences. I really surprised myself joining groups like these without knowing anybody before; probably the openness and kindness of the Americans were the reason why! I met nice people there who made my life much easier so far from home and my family and friends. Also, the Euro Cup this summer was a big thing here at Lutze. Most of the employees are Americans, but a few of them also have soccer fever.
At Independence Day, I spent time with my new friends at a pool party in the university area. It felt like I was part of the American teen movies I have seen years ago. At the end of the day, we watched the traditional fireworks in a park in Charlotte close to the stadium. Most of the people brought camping chairs, blankets, and pillows. It was a great atmosphere. I love to spend time outside in summertime. I used my free time to plan some weekend trips to explore more of this great country. I went a few times to a beach in South Carolina or Lake Norman. It’s a big man-made lake really close to Charlotte and you are able to rent boats and kayaks or do mountain bike tours in the woods.
In the same area is a famous outdoor activity place called U.S National Whitewater Center. You can do water activities like rafting or kayaking, land activities like zip lining, climbing, or some less active things like yoga classes. It was fun!
The time flew. In September, we had the annual fall sales meeting at Lutze. All regional sales managers came to Charlotte and presented sales facts and discussed forecasts for 2017 in their territory. It was really good to put a face to all the emails and phone calls I had with these guys in the office. I also had the chance to present our marketing repositioning idea during the meeting. It was a good experience to speak in front of the audience in order to practice my language skills and strengthen my self-confidence.
When I go on vacation, I’m looking for new experiences. Therefore, I tried to explore as much as I could during my time in the U.S. My friends and I rented a cabin in the mountains for a weekend. It was awesome! October is the best time to go there. The scenery was absolutely beautiful, and there’s plenty of places to just enjoy the outdoors. We went to a pumpkin patch and carved scary pumpkins. My highlights of the weekend include a campfire with fire pits for roasting marshmallows and stick bread.
I will definitely miss my colleagues, the office candies, and our little talks. I'm so glad that Lutze Inc. gave me the opportunity to get insight into the American way of work and I think it was one of my greatest experiences I have ever had in my life.