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Fritzi 2_header

#2 - 40 Degrees in Germany and winter in Buenos Aires: Exploring Argentina

As a Co-Op Student at Evonik, Fritzi had the opportunity to do her internship at Evonik in Argentina. In her second entry on our students@Evonik blog she talks about cultural differences, new challenges and her experiences.

When I decided to apply for an internship at Evonik in Argentina, I thought of hot weather and people dancing in the streets. Maybe this is the case in summer, but when I started my journey in June, 2018 it was winter in the southern hemisphere. The weather in Buenos Aires, however, was like autumn in Germany and therefore very pleasant. Nevertheless, you have to distinguish between the climates in different parts of Argentina. For example, Patagonia is in the South of the country and a popular place, but I decided against exploring it because at that time it was full of snow. However, the Iguazu Falls are located in the North and it was over 30 degrees when I visited them. Everyone was always happy to help me or give me advice on what I could do in my spare time to discover more of Argentina.

When it comes to public transport, I have to say that it was cheap compared to Germany, but very confusing… at least for me. There were bus stops, but if you do not know exactly where to go and which bus to take, it can be very difficult. One of my colleagues had an apartment near my hotel and accompanied me on my way to work when I had to take the bus for the first time. Even if you did know where the bus stopped, you had to be careful to take the right one, which is definitely not as easy as it sounds because a bus with the same number, but combined with different colors and letters could go in completely different directions. Also in San Isidro, where I lived, there were no fixed timetables and you needed to wave to the bus to signal that you want to get on. I was always happy when others were already waiting for the bus and did this for me. Lucky as I was, I managed to only take the wrong bus once.

Another thing that was unusual for me were the "besos". On my first day at Evonik, I reached out to greet my colleagues, but this is not really common in Argentina. You greet each other by kissing the other on the cheeks. Even in the restaurant, the waiter was sometimes greeted this way. You can imagine there was always a very friendly atmosphere in the air. You could even feel it in the office. Everyone worked together, talked about weekend plans and nobody got angry at you even if you asked the same question twice. I feel that I have learned a lot more about my colleagues in Argentina than I did during my time at Evonik Germany.

I enjoyed the atmosphere and, of course, Mate tea. You could see Mate tea basically everywhere in Argentina - even in the office.  On my first day, a colleague asked me if I would like to give Mate a try. I did not get my own tea as I expected, but one that was shared by the people working on this floor. This seemed really strange to me at first, but after observing it day after day, I started to like the idea of having something everyone likes and which brings people to spend time together.

The same applies to soccer. During my time in Argentina, "el mundial" – the World Cup – took place. You could watch the matches on every floor and, although I'm not a big soccer fan, I was carried away by the atmosphere. Evonik also provided snacks and when Argentina played, the employees were allowed to leave early. 

In addition to the comfortable work climate, I cherished the support of my colleagues. For example, since I would like to enter Supply Chain Management after my Bachelor's degree, my co-workers have always tried to explain things to me with regard to this topic. I was even allowed to join a meeting and private tour at the port of Zárate. Zárate is 100 km away from Buenos Aires and Evonik Argentina prefers this smaller port to the large one in the capital because the distance to the warehouse is shorter and the long traffic jams in the capital can be avoided.

Evonik also has a production plant in the Santa Fe region. Join me in the third part of my blog, where I explain what it was like to move from administration to production. 


On the students@Evonik blog students who work at Evonik share their experiences about life in the company.


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