Author: Amélie Quasthoff
Eric comes from Jacksonville and studies business administration and German language and culture at Florida State University in Tallahassee. On the first of June he began working for four months as an intern for flexword.
How did you find out about flexword? What was your first impression and what have you learned so far?
I became aware of flexword through the Jacksonville, Florida location. I will remember my first day at the Mannheim office for a long time. It smelled like a barbecue and the entire team gathered on the terrace for the yearly flexword summer grillfest. I was greeted by everyone with a friendly attitude and was asked if I wanted anything to drink. I was somewhat intimidated and of course didn’t want to say anything wrong, so I answered: “Water, please.” Werner came up and said: “Boring!” and shoved a beer in my Hand (see photographic evidence below). The nervousness that I felt just a few minutes before had passed. In a relaxed environment I could talk to and get to know the entire Mannheim team. The next day it went right into the middle of the subject. From the beginning I was kindly accompanied and assisted by all of the project managers. At first they showed me the general operations. I was surprised how complex the translation process is and about everything that must be paid attention to. Before this I had no contact with translations, everything was uncharted territory to me. Step by step I gained an insight into the different translation technologies and contributed to translation projects. While they worked, I was allowed to look over the shoulder of project managers, the account managers, and our in-house translator. Day-to-day, I had the opportunity to give support to my colleagues at work. I’m not only getting to know the translation field better, but I’m also getting to play an active part in it. That’s what I especially like about this internship.
Is this your first time in Germany?
No, this is my second stay in Germany. When this internship was offered to me, I had the choice to complete the internship in my hometown or the Mannheim office. I didn’t have to think for very long and decided to go to Mannheim. So I had the possibility to improve my German and go back to the country that is so firmly implanted in my memory. I had already had the opportunity to travel to Germany in high school. That time we completed the typical tourist tours: Munich, Heidelberg, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, etc. Thanks to this internship, I can now get to know the day-to-day life in Germany. It is fascinating to experience the differences in everyday life between America and Germany.
Which differences stand out the most to you? Can you name a few examples?
Culinarily, America and Germany are very different. I’m missing Mexican food that we can get on every street corner in America. A bit like Döner kebabs in Germany. Although I have tried out some Mexican restaurants here in Mannheim, I’m always slightly disappointed…I still can’t find the flavor that I know from home. I’ve now replaced Tacos with Döner kebabs, which taste much better here in Germany than in America. In addition I miss ice cubes here in Germany. At home, my fridge spits out ice cubes whenever I want them in my drink. It’s unusual for me to have a drink without ice cubes. But you get used to it. To me, the ice cream tastes worlds better than at home. Also whenever I miss many things from America, I’m sure that when I get home, I’ll miss many things from Germany. For example, tasty, sweet-smelling, freshly baked pretzels, or the countless means of public transportation. Here you can easily reach another city by train.
Have you seen a lot since you’ve been here?
I met up with my brother and his wife in Munich, who flew to Europe for their honeymoon. This city had already impressed me on my first visit with the school. The English Garden, the many beer gardens, the good beer, and last but not least, the tasty pretzels are always worth the trip. As an absolute car nerd, I of course went to the Porsche museum in Stuttgart. The cult models from the 90s had my heart beating faster. Furthermore, the people in Stuttgart were especially friendly. I would like to savor the time that I have here in Germany, and use the weekends to see as many cities as possible. Still on my list: Berlin, Bremen, and Dresden. But firstly, next weekend I’m going to Münster for the first time.
What are you going to do after the internship with flexword?
I’ll fly back home and graduate. I still have one semester at the university until I graduate. After that, I hope that I can begin as a project manager at the flexword office in Jacksonville. I already got to meet the team in Jacksonville during my interview for the internship, and I would look forward to being able to complete the team there.