If I could, I would do it again”

Leo­nar­do kommt aus Ita­li­en und hat für zwei Wochen über Expe­ri­en­cing Euro­pe ein Prak­ti­kum bei Con­ti­nen­tal in Regens­burg absolviert.

A litt­le time has pas­sed sin­ce my return after a two-week stay in Regens­burg (Ger­ma­ny) for the “Expe­ri­en­cing Euro­pe” project.

The pro­ject was desi­gned to crea­te more exchan­ge oppor­tu­nities and to get to know other Euro­pean rea­li­ties. It invol­ves a short-term internship in one of the com­pa­nies par­ti­ci­pa­ting in the pro­ject (in my case “Con­ti­nen­tal”) and stay­ing with an employee’s family.

This adven­ture began in ear­ly Octo­ber, thanks to a for­tui­tous mes­sa­ge from a friend. I immedia­te­ly unders­tood that “Expe­ri­en­cing Euro­pe” was an excel­lent pro­ject and I sei­zed the oppor­tu­ni­ty by sen­ding all the docu­ments requi­red as soon as pos­si­ble. After a few weeks, an inter­view and an infor­ma­tio­nal mee­ting I was on the train lea­ving Tren­to for Mona­co, hea­ded to Regensburg.

From the very begin­ning I recei­ved a warm wel­co­me from my host fami­ly who visi­ted with me the his­to­ric cen­ter and exp­lai­ned to me a litt­le about the city. We con­clu­ded the tour in an excel­lent restau­rant with typi­cal Bava­ri­an cuisine.

The first day in Con­ti­nen­tal Fran­ces­co (ano­t­her boy par­ti­ci­pa­ting in the pro­ject) and I were wel­co­med by the human resour­ces team and our cor­re­spon­ding super­vi­sors. The day pas­sed very quick­ly moving from one buil­ding to ano­t­her to get to know the struc­tures and get a bit of con­fi­dence with them. I ended up in the depart­ment of Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence and Robo­tics, exact­ly what I was loo­king for to under­stand what job pro­spects I can expect from my studies.

During the first week the­re were a thousand things to learn to fit into the com­pa­ny and to make the pro­ject work. In this first peri­od I did­n’t have so many plan­ned events and so I took full advan­ta­ge of the free time to under­stand how to move at my best. Also, due to an unex­pec­ted busi­ness trip, I knew I had to move from the fami­ly that was hos­ting me to go to the one whe­re Fran­ces­co was stay­ing. So, on the first Satur­day after my arri­val, I was accom­pa­nied by Fabi­an and Eva, my host cou­p­le, at Laura’s house whe­re Fran­ces­co was alrea­dy living.

And so ano­t­her new week began at Laura’s house, a fan­tastic woman full of ener­gy. The fol­lowing Sunday Lau­ra invi­ted Fran­ces­co and me to par­ti­ci­pa­te in a typi­cal Bava­ri­an Mass. In fact I dis­co­ve­r­ed that in Bava­ria the mas­ses are not accom­pa­nied by choirs but by tra­di­tio­nal music groups, and in this case it would have been Laura’s group to accom­pa­ny the function.

During the rest of the day we were then invi­ted by a friend of Lau­ra for a “früh­schop­pen” (a pre-lunch snack) based on beer, white sau­sa­ges and pret­zels. So we wit­nessed ano­t­her tra­di­tio­nal music con­cert in tra­di­tio­nal clothes and then ended the evening with a typi­cal­ly Ita­li­an piz­za-based din­ner pre­pa­red by Fran­ces­co and me.

The second week was much more deman­ding, ins­tead. The human resour­ces depart­ment team had plan­ned us many events for the after­noons and evenings: a mee­ting with other stu­dents in Con­ti­nen­tal for an internship, a bow­ling evening, din­ners with col­leagues from various depart­ments and visits to the his­to­ric cen­ter of Regensburg.

To say that time has flown, is to say the least: the week has pas­sed without me even noti­cing it. In con­clu­si­on: the­se two weeks have been real­ly fan­tastic. I met so many peop­le who knew how to make me appre­cia­te and under­stand very dif­fe­rent rea­li­ties: from Ger­man to Bava­ri­an cul­tu­re, from working in a lar­ge com­pa­ny to the simp­lest life in a small town in Bava­ria. It was an unre­peat­a­ble expe­ri­ence that, if I could, I would do it again now. If you have the oppor­tu­ni­ty, par­ti­ci­pa­te, you won’t reg­ret it.