RAMPF goes global – a practical placement in the United States
New coworkers, new surroundings, new tasks, a foreign language, and a different culture – in other words, living and working on another continent! Noah Wagner liked the sound of that and seized the opportunity. As part of his integrated degree program in business administration (industrial management), he spent three months as an intern at RAMPF Group Inc. in Wixom, Michigan, United States.
An integrated degree program is made up of six theoretical and practical stages, each lasting around three months. Noah Wagner is studying his theory at Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University (DHBW) in Stuttgart and doing his hands-on work at RAMPF Holding in Grafenberg – at least, for the most part. From the end of November 2022 until mid-February 2023, the student swapped Germany for the United States, where he made the most of his opportunity to spend one of his practical stages at U.S. subsidiary RAMPF Group, Inc. We spoke to Noah about his internship in Wixom, what he did when he was there, and how he enjoyed his time in the United States.
Hi and welcome back, Noah!
Tell us, how did you end up spending three months working in the United States?
My training supervisor, Kai Augustin, had done a foreign internship when he was a student and knew first-hand what a rewarding experience it is. He approached me and asked whether I’d like to use one of my practical stages to see what it’s like to live and work abroad. We settled on the United States as my destination because there was an open project at RAMPF Group, Inc. at the time that could benefit from the know-how I’d acquired at RAMPF Holding.
What was it like to speak and hear English all day long?
At the start, I felt very uneasy – the language was one of my biggest worries before I flew out to the United States. When I arrived in Wixom, I first had to get used to communicating in English only. After one or two weeks, I’d settled in – linguistically speaking – and it stopped feeling strange, really, because everyone around me only ever spoke English.
What kind of differences did you notice between the United States and Germany?
For a start, everything in the United States is bigger than it is back home – roads, automobiles, buildings, and even supermarkets. That took a bit of getting used to (laughs)! People are also more open, and that makes it easier to get talking to them. Another thing I noticed is that, at Christmas, the houses and streets are decorated in a much more colorful and creative way than they are in Germany. However, my day-to-day working life was not all that different than how it is at RAMPF in Grafenberg.
Independence, experience, and an unforgettable time
Your time abroad included the Christmas and New Year period. What did you do over those holidays?
A coworker invited me over to eat at theirs and celebrate Christmas together, which meant I got a first-hand experience of a genuine American Christmas. Unlike in Germany, where Christmas is celebrated on December 24, it’s the 25th that’s the big day in the United States. Although lots of families still get together for a meal on Christmas Eve, they don’t get their gifts till December 25. I was in Chicago over New Year and explored the “Windy City” on my own. I watched the fireworks from Navy Pier.
You had the opportunity to get to know the people and places a bit better outside of work, then?
Yes, fortunately! I used my days off to see and experience as much as I could. Besides Chicago, I also went to Detroit, New York City, Miami, Toronto (Canada), and Niagara Falls. I watched the Detroit Lions playing in the NFL, and I went to two basketball games to see the NBA teams Detroit Pistons and Miami Heat play. I explored the area around Wixom as well and went to the local shopping malls now and again.
Could you sum up in three words what you personally took away from your internship abroad?
Independence, experience, and unforgettable.
Outstanding support before and during the internship
What kind of work did you do during your internship at RAMPF Group, Inc.? Did you settle in quickly?
I was in the Accounting department and worked on a financial reporting and cost accounting project, among other things. It was great to have projects I was able to work on independently and under my own responsibility over the course of the three months.
My coworkers in Wixom were really friendly right from the start and made me feel very welcome to the team. Whenever I encountered problems or had questions, I was always given help.
If you had the chance again, would you spend another practical stage abroad?
Absolutely! 100 percent! I have no regrets whatsoever about daring to take that step into the unknown, and can only recommend to all the students at RAMPF that they seize this opportunity. My internship abroad was a unique experience that has helped me grow as a person. I experienced and learned so much on both a professional and personal level in such a short space of time, and I can’t see that happening again for me any time soon.
I really appreciate the RAMPF Group making it possible for me to do the internship abroad and giving me such great support both before and during my stay. No matter what I needed to discuss, there was always someone I could talk to. RAMPF also took care of my flights, visa, accommodations, and automobile. The fact I didn’t have to sort all that out on my own was a really huge help.
Last but not least, the most important question of all: Where do you get the best burgers in the United States? :-)
The best burger I ate was in a burger store in Walled Lake, the next city over from Wixom. I have to say, though, the burgers automatically taste better in the United States than they do in Germany (laughs).
Thank you for the exciting interview Noah! RAMPF wishes you all the best and much success in the rest of your dual studies.
Herzlichen Glückwunsch, Katrin!
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