I spent May-August 2008 living and working in Neumarkt in der Oberpfalz, Germany; located halfway between Nuremburg and Regensburg. I have been in and out of German language courses since the seventh grade and living in Germany is something I have wanted to do for as long as I can remember. The town I stayed in had about 45,000 people and hardly anyone spoke English. So, I was able to use my German skills on a daily basis. I lived in a guest house with other families, which helped me feel like a part of their German community.
The company I worked for was Klebl GmbH, one of Germany’s largest construction companies specializing in pre-cast concrete components. One of Klebl’s ongoing roles is as a contractor on U.S. military bases throughout Germany. I spent most of my time working under a project manager on one of these bases. Our primary job was the maintenance and upkeep of the drainage basins, check dams, and culverts. I was also involved in writing completion reports and obtaining digging permits.
In addition to work, I was able to travel on the weekends. I spent most of my weekends traveling to various parts of Bavaria because this is where most of Germany’s castles and great cathedrals are located. One of my favorite stops was the Neuschwanstein Castle. I also made trips to Zurich, Switzerland (during the Euro 2008 Soccer Championship), a few cities in Austria, and other parts of Germany. One of the highlights of my summer was going to the car races in Nuremburg. It was an all-weekend event and I was able to see everything from VW Polos to Porsches to Ferraris race in their respective classes.
Overall, this has been the best experience of my life and I came back to college wanting more. I hope to join a company that will allow me to do international work—even if it isn’t in Germany.