My name is Luis, I was born and raised in Gran Canaria, in a little village in the south. I was lucky enough that my mother taught me German when I was a child and that she always encouraged me to go outside our tiny island. I often visited family abroad, so I was used to visit new places and meet different people. Like for many people at my age, I first lived alone when I started my Computer Sciences studies in the Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, it was a bit tough in the beginning but having some independency was a great thing.
The last year of University suddenly was around the corner, meaning you have a semester where you actually have to start working in a company, the fact of working somewhere, having to proof my knowledge and have responsibilities frightened me in the beginning. What if I fail? What if I don’t hold up to what the business expects from me?
So I checked the list of companies that work together with the University to see which were interesting. While going through the list I saw a company named CIB that required students with programming skills, and what caught my attention, needed to have a high level of German or English. I also saw that they had offices all around Europe, also in Las Palmas, I thought that the internship would be there. In an internet search I looked up what the company actually does and was interested. I thought, well, I have some language skills, so why not give it a shot?
I contacted CIB Labs in Las Palmas, and sent my CV and presentation letter. It was during a phone call when I realized that the internship was not in Las Palmas, but in Munich. I personally didn’t have the means to do the trip, neither for the accommodation nor even for the everyday expenses. But CIB offered me the plane tickets, the accommodation, transport, all I needed! They wanted to take care of everything for me, I felt like I am as important as a coworker, not just a way to get free student employees to exploit. I had never heard of a company in my country that would do something like that for a student. At first I didn’t know what to say, I wasn’t expecting that so I had to talk to my family first. I knew that going to work to Germany wasn’t the same as going for vacation, and that I would be all alone in a totally new place to me, but my family encouraged me to go for it, and so I did.
Before I knew it I was in the plane on my way to Munich, I remember my first day at work, walking through the door of the office. There were a lot of new people, all very friendly, some more reserved and some more open. After a few days at work the fear of not knowing was already gone, I knew I could do my job and that I was there to learn and all the people I worked with understood that. After a few days I already made some friends there, I went with them out to have a meal, one of them even brought me to a typical Christmas Market outside of the city. Being abroad and far away from family and friends is hard, but having nice people around you makes it definitively easier.
Living in Gran Canaria means you have a lot of tourists around you, now in my free time I was one more in Munich, I can’t complain about that. Having the chance to work in a different city means that you can visit many new places, Munich has a lot of interesting museums and parks. Being a big city, you get all kinds of foods from different countries, but just the Bavarian food is also worth it. The nightlife in the city is also pretty good, there are many students in the city and you get to know many interesting people, German people are open, and Bavarian even more, the cliché is not true guys!
But let’s not forget the true reason we students do internship, to learn, and I learned a lot in Munich. I worked with Java on an OpenOffice/LibreOffice interface and had different coworkers watching over my work, helping me out with the doubts and teaching me new things I didn’t know about Java and compiling/building process. As I was new to LibreOffice, I had to learn to go through manuals and find the needed info to develop for this interface. Part of my work was to document everything I learned from the interface, so that other people could jump fast into development without having to read the whole manual. The teamwork in the company was also great, at first I was a bit shy to ask something or to give my ideas, but I learnt to take the shyness away and contribute.
Now that my internship is over and my time here, I look back at the fears I had and think how glad I am that I had the chance to be here, to have met so many people and gather all these experiences and memories. I have to thank the company for letting me be part of it through this experience and for the interest in continuing to work together.
So start packing!