Adventure Abroad: Spanish Colleagues in Extended Exam
Making your way through the SMA Production hall these days, you’ll hear an unusually high percentage of Spanish being spoken. That’s because of Iñigo and Belay. These newly minted electricians are currently doing an internship with us. I wanted to find out more about them, so I met up with the two and their translator/adviser, Juan-José Martinez Lopez.
Decked with a borrowed lab coat and ESD protection, we set out. It was easy to spot the two Spaniards in the testing area, and as we sat down in the small kitchen, they told me how they came to be at SMA. It is common to take part in an internship program at the end of your training in Spain. Both wanted to go abroad, so with the help of the Connecting Europe organization, which aided them in finding apartments, both Iñigo and Belay ended up at SMA in Germany.
At SMA, electricians make their way through various testing stations within the Production department for 3 months. We started our tour with the final test station, where they got to know the test performed once a device is completely assembled. Next, a few inverter repairs were in order. Currently, the two are in the high-voltage area, where they perform tests on our largest switch cabinets. Both interns are impressed with our CO2-neutral production facilities. Belay said, „everything is so clean here, and I really like how people work together. Even the cafeteria food tastes great.“
Talking with Hands and Feet
Naturally, I wanted to ask the two how it was going with communication. At the beginning of the internship, the two took part in a German course. That was enough to cover the basics, but obviously not enough for all the technical terms needed, which is why Juan-José usually translates for Iñigo and Belay. Juan-José, who works for SMA, is from Spain as well but has lived in Germany for quite some time and has mastered both languages remarkably well. He is always on duty for his colleagues: he’s the go-to guy, and is always around for advice or help. But when Juan-José is on vacation? The two have to resort to speaking in English, and with their hands and feet. 😉
Free Time with Colleagues in Germany
These two Spaniards are often with colleagues, even after working hours. Recently, they went on a short trip to Berlin with their team leader and Juan-José. They routinely meet up with other SMA employees in Kassel or just go to the gym together after work. „Belay has gotten lazy recently, though,“ according to Juan-José.
Once their German adventure is over, the two electricians will head back to Spain and start looking for jobs, but they are sure they will have better chances with an international internship under their belt. We wish you both all the best of luck!
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