Last August, we talked to Christin here on our career blog about her trainee program in the Human Resources department at RKW. At the time, she was about to start her rotation abroad in the USA. Now, recently returned, we would like to take the opportunity to look back with her on the time she spent abroad.

Hello und welcome back, Christin! Can you briefly explain again, why and where exactly you were in the States?

Hello everyone! From early October to mid-December, I was at our production site in Franklin, Kentucky where I assisted my local HR colleagues with the personnel support of local employees, among other things.

This kind of project assignment at a site (abroad) was planned in my trainee program from the very beginning. The request from Kentucky came in mid-July 2022, so we decided to move this rotation up.

What challenges and experiences have you faced and how did they affect you?

I was able to gain an incredible amount of experience. On a professional level, for example, I acquired/obtained valuable insights into U.S. labor law, and experienced working closely in an international team. In addition, it was very exciting to experience all the similarities and differences compared to our work at the headquarters in Mannheim.

Initially, there was a bit of a language barrier and it was challenging to adapt to and combine the different ways of working. However, in addition to my professional development, all of this has helped me to become more independent and assertive.

What did you like most about the stay abroad?

It was a great opportunity to gain intercultural experience and get to know new people and places. I also appreciated the openness and helpfulness of the local people. There is a reason why people speak of the so-called "Southern Hospitality".

Of course, it was also great to get a deeper insight into the company – especially regarding production and the interaction between headquarters and a manufacturing site.

What three tips do you have for future trainees who are also planning an assignment abroad?

Tip #1: Be open minded about the new country and culture.

Tip #2: Be confident and don't be afraid to make mistakes.

Tip No. 3: Enjoy the time and use it as best you can. The stay goes by faster than you expect.