At the beginning of June 2018, I packed my suitcase and started my journey of working and living in the capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires. Even though, Argentina is far from home, I was not afraid to be alone again in a foreign country for the next three months because I have already had a semester abroad in China the year before. Both, the internship in Argentina and my stay in China, are part of a Bachelor of Arts in International Business.
Before I tell you about my experience with Evonik in Latin America, let me briefly introduce myself. My name is Fritzi Lea Müller and I am a cooperative student at Evonik since September 2016. At the moment, I am in the third year of my studies and, as you probably have already figured out, am interested in learning about different cultures and languages. I also really like to travel.
Due to the cooperative study program from Evonik, I move town every three months and this time my new home was going to be Buenos Aires. After having spent four months in Asia, I was prepared for new people and a different lifestyle. However, I did not expect to experience the same culture shock as a year ago in China, yet I came across local practices I had not expected.
For example, even though I have had Spanish classes at University, the first day in Argentina already taught me that there is a significant difference between Castilian Spanish and Rioplatense Spanish, which is spoken in Argentina. Neither my English nor my French nor my Mandarin skills could help me. English is, for example, not mandatory in school and so I had to improve my Spanish quickly in order to communicate with others and, especially local government offices.
I did not apply for a work visa in Germany, so I had to spend my first day in Buenos Aires at the “Dirección Nacional de Migraciones”. By saying one day, I really mean a whole day. It took me 2.5 hours to get from my hotel to the city centre, although the distance was only 20 km. However, after a whole day of waiting for different signatures my work life in Argentina began.
The office had prepared my stay very well and, as traffic can get crazy over there, I was allowed to take a “Remis” to work during my first week. A "Remis" is a kind of taxi service that is considered to be much safer because you do not call the taxi, but request it beforehand.
On my first day at work, I was introduced to everyone in the office. I know this would not be possible in Germany because there are hundreds of people at the Chemical Park Wolfgang in Hanau but in Buenos Aires there are only about 50 people. Many of them work in the sales department and therefore are not in the office most of the time. The site is special because many people do not just work for one Business Line as it is common in the departments I have worked for in Germany. For example, my advisor in the Foreign Trade department not only works for Animal Nutrition but also for Functional Solutions. That was an advantage for me because I was able to get to know several areas.
In my next blog entry, I will further explain why working in the office in Argentina was different than in Germany. Be prepared for stories about Mate Tea, “besos” and confusing trips by bus
On the students@Evonik blog students who work at Evonik share their experiences about life in the company.
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