When I was a child, I was fascinated by the idea of living in a far-away country, speaking different languages and admiring new landscapes. Now, I dare say that I almost fulfilled this dream: even if France and Germany are neighbours, moving to another country for my internship was an exciting experience, rich in emotions and discoveries.
My name is Cléa, I come from the south of France and I am happy to tell you about my internship at Evonik. Let me first explain how I came to know Evonik. It all started with the UNITECH International programme in which I took part during the last year of my Master. This programme involves several European universities and companies, including Evonik. UNITECH gives students the opportunity to establish contact with companies and to grow individually while nurturing professional skills. It is divided into three elements: an exchange semester, three weeks of seminar spread over the year and an internship in a partner company. It is a great network that gives you the keys to develop your personality and to work efficiently in a team, so that you acquire the right interpersonal and communication skills for an internship or a job afterwards.
Another positive point of this network was to discover Evonik and to get in touch with some employees from Hanau and Essen. As the activities of the company attracted me, I decided quite early to apply for an internship there. I actually studied BioEngineering, more precisely Biotechnologies and Biochemistry, but I felt like I didn't want to work in a lab all day long and would prefer to have an internship involving a lot of communication and allowing me to learn more about the business aspect of projects. Thus, I applied for a six-month internship in the Marketing department of the Animal Nutrition (AN) Business Line and had the pleasure to join the Aquaculture team a few months later in Hanau, Germany.
On my first day, I was happily surprised by the warm welcome I received from the team. I was very pleased about the working space that provides everything you need for an effective work. The AN Marketing team consists of about ten people, including Product Managers. I spent six months working intensively with my supervisor on the promotion of Veramaris®. This joint venture with the Dutch company DSM developed a microalgae fermentation process to produce an algal oil rich in omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA that could be used in aquaculture as a replacement of fish oil in feed. Traditionally, wild forage fish are caught from the ocean to be transformed into fishmeal and fish oil that are used for example in salmon feed to meet the salmon’s nutritional needs. Hence, this process jeopardises biodiversity and contributes to the depletion of the oceans. By helping to turn aquaculture into a net fish producer, Veramaris® aims to reduce our dependence on marine resources and set new standards for a healthy and sustainable food production.
My supervisor's job was to identify the right markets and to make the product more visible within the aquaculture industry and I supported her in these tasks. In addition to everyday activities such as working on arguments to show the environmental and health benefits of our algal oil and preparing presentations for potential customers and partners, I also got familiar with all the AN products when I collaborated with several Product Managers of the business line to update a training presentation for the new Technical Sales Managers. Moreover, I had the chance to go with the team to the Seafood Expo Global in Brussels. Over there, I realized how large the aquaculture industry is: there were so many stands and so many companies from all around the world! I discovered a lot of innovative products and exchanged ideas with other players in the animal nutrition field.
I must admit that before this internship, I was mostly attracted by human nutrition but the insights I gained from this experience with Evonik´s Animal Nutrition are priceless. I learnt not only about nutrition and aquaculture but also about the impact our needs and actions have on the environment as a whole. Being fully aware of current global issues, it felt right to work on a project which aims to make the industry more sustainable and produce healthy food while relieving our oceans.
Throughout the internship, I really felt good in my team. My colleagues were friendly and offering their help: if I had any questions, I could always turn to someone - if they had no time at that moment, my questions and I were never forgotten and they would come back to me later. I am particularly thankful to my supervisor who guided me wisely throughout the internship with a great dynamism.
In Hanau, I also got to know many other interns with whom I met for “Stammtisch”, as the Germans call it. This word actually refers to the pub culture in Germany where people meet regularly to drink at their favorite pub, but our "Stammtisch" could be any activity done together like having dinner or a picnic, going to a lake … We also had a weekly lunch together at the Esscom every Wednesday.
In a nutshell, this internship was a very good experience as I learnt a lot professionally and culturally. Spending a few months abroad is always interesting but it is even better when you meet nice people and have a good time both at work and in your free time.
Thanks for reading this text, I hope it gave you an idea about what an internship looks like at Evonik.
And, if you would like to have more information about this student network and see how it helped me to get in touch with Evonik, please have a look at my article on the Networks@Evonik blog on the Evonik Careers website.
On the students@Evonik blog students who work at Evonik share their experiences about life in the company.
#Aquaculture #Blog #Hanau #students@Evonik