My name is Matthew and I lived in Regensburg, Germany for two semesters doing an internship with Infineon, one of the world's leading semiconductor manufacturers. My internship allowed me to gain valuable work experience, to improve my German language skills, and experience German culture. I visited Germany for two weeks in the summer of 2005 with a group of engineering students from CU to search for study abroad and internship opportunities. During this trip, we visited Infineon in Regensburg and I found it to be a good fit for me. So, after my senior year at CU, I went back to Regensburg to do the internship. Before I started my internship I also did a month long intensive language course at the university in Regensburg. We made many day trips to nearby cities in Bavaria (Bayern) and I met many students from all of the world during this time.
Regensburg is a city comparable in size to Boulder and much of the population is younger because of the large university and Fachhochschule. The heart of the city sits right on the Danube river and is full of history and culture. Bavaria is very different from the rest of Germany and the world. The people know how to enjoy life. They love eating pretzels, sausages, and drinking beer, all while singing traditional songs. Bavarians also have their own dialect of German called 'Bairisch'. It was almost incomprehensible to me since it is so different from "high German". There are also many different regional dialects of 'Bairisch', making it ever harder to learn. Some of my co-workers at Infineon could only speak 'Bairisch' and English. So when they would speak with other Germans or Austrians, it was more effective to speak in English than their dialect of German.
I worked as a software developer in the APC-FDC division (Advance Process Control - Fault Detection & Classification). This division monitors the computer chip manufacturing process data for errors. I personally developed different application tools that are used globally throughout the company. My development used Microsoft .NET Framework programming languages C# and ASP.NET. Working with these new technologies was very valuable because there are so many jobs available using them. During development, I was using Oracle databases and creating applications for the APC administrators that monitor data quality and data validity. Another application I developed was a database extraction editor with similar functionality to Microsoft Access.
All daily operations were carried out in German and this really improved my German. Almost all of my colleagues also spoke English and we would have to speak in English in meetings with Indian or Asian co-workers or on telephone conferences with India, Singapore, and Malaysia production sites. It was extraordinary to work with people from all over the world. All my programming and documentation was done in English because it needs to be understood at all the worldwide sites. When I was distributing my software to all the foreign production sites, I was on the phone a lot and using Microsoft Live Meeting to demonstrate my tools. I saw more of the business side behind outsourcing. Much of the software development is not done in-house by Infineon but is outsourced to the company LTI in India. I worked very closely with LTI towards the end of my internship because they are supporting my applications now that I'm gone.
During my free time I liked to go out to the many clubs and bars in Regensburg. I also rowed on the the Infineon dragon boat team, which was a lot of fun. I did some traveling during my stay to Italy, Austria, Czech Republic, Croatia and around Germany.
Overall my experience at Infineon in Regensburg was great. The people were wonderful and I made some life long friends.