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I`m Maren and I started my integrated degree studies Embedded Automation Design in January 2018 at Continental. First of all, I like to explain my study program in more detail to you, because it is normally not self-explanatory.
Embedded Automation Design is an integrated degree study program, which was brought to live in 2018. It is designed to be an interdisciplinary study program, which covers different areas as engineering sciences, informatics and economics and therefore creates a high diversity. In general, we are educated to occupy an interface function between hard- and software. On the one hand, we are educated in various programming languages (for example to work with microcontrollers), while also learning about technical subjects like electrical engineering or control technology on the other hand. Besides these technical topics our study program also includes subjects that are more business-focused, such as business administration and project management. These topics are transmitted by the university to build up a theoretical foundation for our practical work at Continental.
After our theoretical phases in university, we pass our 3-month practical phases at Continental. During this time, we work in different departments to learn more about the different business fields of Continental, which helps us finding out where we might want to work in the future.
During my first practical period, besides the time at the Vocational Training Center in Stöcken, where we learned the practical basics of electrical engineering, I had the opportunity to work for 10 days in a tire production plant in Aachen (shiftwork). This time allowed me to gain deep insights into the tire production and all processes associated with it.
For example, I can now (around one year later) apply the gained knowledge from this time into my current practical phase. I am currently working on optimizing high-bay storage solutions to improve the material flow within the tire production. One specialty of this practical phase is that I am spending it in Malaysia (Petaling Jaya). For us ContiBachelors it’s a part of our integrated degree study program to spend an assignment abroad. It gives us the opportunity to get to know different ways of operating and living in a foreign country. We are completely responsible for the organization and have the freedom to decide where we want to go to (of course it must fit into our budget). Malaysia was one of my favorite choices, as I had an interesting task in prospect and I was curious about the country. Since I was not the only one who thought so, which is why I traveled together with three business informatics students to Kuala Lumpur in the beginning of June.
It was the first time traveling to Southeast Asia for me, consequently I was excited for the time ahead and all the new insights. Directly after our arrival we quickly found out that there are some obvious differences between Germany and Malaysia. The most important thing is to always have more than enough time on hand, especially for immigration and transport.
In our first week in Kuala Lumpur, we where lucky to start after our first working day in an extended weekend because of two public holiday days. This gave us time to overcome our jetlag, explore our surrounding and the city and to acclimate to high humidity and the tropical temperatures. Besides the typical tourist attractions like Petronas Tower, China Town or the Botanical Garden, we did an adventure tour to a hidden waterfall and explored the jungle. Malaysia impressed me from the beginning with its variety. Next to all established cultures you have the chance to fall from skyscraper into the jungle, of course a bit exaggerated.
On the following Monday our daily working life started. Beside the work itself, one of the highlights are daily lunch breaks with the department. We usually drive to local restaurants or so called “Hawker-Centern”. Lucky for me, my colleagues are always able to recommend me certain dishes, which allowed me to get totally new insights. Through my colleges I also had the chance to try Durian, which is also called the stinky fruit. Despite its name, it wasn`t too bad after all.
As prices for food, transportation and (most important) flights are very low in Malaysia, we can travel a lot in order to explore Malaysia and it`s neighboring countries on the weekends. For our first trip we flew to Penang Islands and explored the city of George Town. Especially the Kek Lok Si Temple stuck in my mind. The temple lies at the foot of Penang Hills and impresses with stunning attention to details. Another highlight was our spontaneous bus tour to Malakka. There we spend the day with food and beverages at the river and enjoyed our day. As we still have a few weekends left, we are already planning our next trips.
Especially important for me is to enjoy the remaining time to my fullest and take every opportunity which comes on my way. Next to my work-related experience I also have the opportunity to personally educate myself further. Currently, we already completed half our foreign assignment which made me realize how fast the time has passed by and how much already happened. I still have around 5 weeks left (mid of August) until my practical phase in Malaysia is over. After finishing my assignment, I will spend my summer holidays in Southeast Asia and will start in the middle of September with my 5th semester at the university.