This post is also available in: French
I joined Continental in November 2014 as a VIE. The VIE (Volontariat International d’Entreprise) is an International Postgraduate Internship Program open to all European citizens from 18 to 28 years for a duration of 6 to 24 months. It allows young graduates to go on an assignment abroad and to enhance their skills in an international context. It is an excellent way to join an international company and acquire a first long professional experience.
Federico Nicola Carrieri (Italian) and me were the first two VIEs of Continental. We work in the department Compensation & Benefits and International Mobility in Hanover (Germany). Later on, other young graduates joined the company thanks to the program. They were assigned to the USA, India, Germany as well as Japan, and their competences cover a wide range of subjects: robotic, electronic, human relations…
Being a lawyer by training, I already had the opportunity to live abroad. After two internships, one in Düsseldorf (Germany) at a law firm and one in China at a metallurgical plant, as well as a year of studies in Singapore and numerous trips, the prospect of a new experience in Germany at an international company like Continental immediately caught my interest. Furthermore, the position that was being offered fully matched my career ambitions.
In September, the head of the department welcomed me warmly. He spoke French to me. After having worked for ten years in France, he was the initiator of the program at Continental. Human Relations’ key concepts are often closely linked to the local culture of a country. Thanks to his thorough knowledge of France and Germany, he was able to provide me with specific explanations and the accurate translations of the various concepts in English, French and German.
Continental is a very international group. Its employees master English perfectly and are used to work in a multicultural context. My integration was therefore very easy and pleasant. I discovered a welcoming, highly skilled and professional team. My colleagues always demonstrate patience and are happy to answer my questions. It allows me to quickly learn and deepen my competences.
German is known, and rightly so, for beeing a difficult language. It has been my biggest concern before moving to Hanover. I had studied it at school and university, but mastering Goethe’s language was a daily challenge. Aware of the difficulty, I opted for a shared flat with a young architect who does not speak English or French. Our conversations rapidly made me dare to speak German at work. Today, I almost exclusively speak German at work. Subsequently, Federico and I are granted languages courses by Continental, which significantly facilitates our learning process.
Hanover is the capital of the federal state of Lower Saxony. It is a very pleasant city which offers a lovely city center (Altstadt), numerous museums, galleries and cinemas. Greenest city of Germany, Hanover offers many opportunities to go for a walk. I was surprised by the wide variety of events that are organized throughout the year. Hanover has the biggest exhibition center in the world thanks to which the city hosts numerous congresses and fairs. Hanover is also approximatively one hour and a half away from Hamburg and Berlin, it is therefore easy to go on a weekend trip and explore Germany.
Overall, my experience as a VIE has allowed me to grow personally and professionally. Therefore, I am enthralled to have been selected for the HR Graduate Program! I am now officially becoming a member of the Continental family and get the incredible opportunity to travel the world for two years and discover other locations of the group.