I’m Seb! I’m a half-British-half-Colombian student based in the UK. I am currently studying Product Design Engineering MEng at Loughborough University. I am a positive and creative person in my everyday life and work life, a lover of sports like football and basketball, and an avid gym-goer too. I was accepted into the UNITECH programme for 2022/23, where I completed a semester of study abroad, followed by an internship with one of the programme’s corporate partners – which is where Evonik comes in.
Evonik was one of the only companies I had previously heard about from the list of UNITECH corporate partners, so seeing the name automatically piqued my interest. Members of the previous year’s UNITECH cohort sang the praises of Evonik and the experiences they had working for them. So, naturally, when I was approached to intern for them, I took the opportunity with little hesitation, despite the fact that my educational background was in no way chemistry related! I believe any experience is good experience in the world of work, and comfort zones are meant to be stepped out of, so I was open to taking on whichever challenges I would come to face. Today’s version of myself is happy I made this choice!
I started my 6-month internship in March 2023, meeting the team I’d be working with, familiarising myself with the department, and understanding my role in the project to come. Everyone was very friendly to me upon arriving, which was reassuring for someone who barely spoke a word of German before that. I was exposed to different tasks and activities around the main focus of my project such as mixing and testing surfactants in the lab and researching the surrounding literature.
My supervisors and the rest of my support network have been great throughout. They were attentive to my needs and concerns, as well as providing feedback in a way that made me feel appreciated and motivated to try the next thing.
Working on this project also allowed me to travel for work, which is a great bonus. I worked in Munich for one week per month with the team over at Vestaro – a joint venture between Evonik and Forward Engineering – who were also involved in this project. This aspect allowed me to experience the differences in lifestyle and culture between different areas of Germany.
My personal highlight during my tenure here, both at Evonik and while living in Germany, has been the independence I have developed. Moving to a country where one doesn’t speak the language is tough for anyone, but it’s an amazing experience where you will always come out a more well-rounded person afterwards. Adjusting to a different work culture was interesting as well. Understanding how different cultures function in a work environment is very important to being able to work well in diverse teams, whether that is in your home country or further afield! As someone who would like to live and work abroad after my studies, this was a great taste of what life could be like, and now I’ll be more confident with making these decisions moving forward!
To anyone considering Evonik, I would definitely recommend it! I enjoy coming in to work each day, speaking to my colleagues and progressing through my project. Not to mention how nice everyone was, all the way up to my boss’s boss, the support I received was great. It changed my perspective on corporate business life in all the right ways. I personally had negative pre-conceptions about how large companies treated their staff, but it was truly a pleasure and I was made to see and feel like what I was doing really mattered.
On the students@Evonik blog, students, who work at Evonik, share their experiences about life and work in the company.