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Impressions of ZF Around the World

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Tags: TraineeCommunity, Careers
In the 15-month ZF Global Trainee Program, participants will become acquainted with work at ZF, rise to the challenges of a daily work routine, apply the knowledge gained during studies to successfully complete international projects and start a promising career at a highly-innovative automotive company.
ZF Trainees, June 19, 2017
ZF Trainees are a group of young people taking part in the ZF Global Trainee Program. In the #traineeblog they give insights about the life as a ZF Trainee.
As a trainee, one of key words I would use to describe the program would be this: perspective. The trainee program is so interesting and wonderful because it gives you the opportunity to leap into so many various ZF facilities and business units. And with this experience of being invested the day to day activities of various departments in ZF facilities worldwide, I feel that my perspective and understanding of both different cultures, and of ZF as a whole, has tremendously deepened. I would like to share with you some impressions of mine from my first three projects, which were in Schweinfurt (Germany), Friedrichshafen (Germany), and Yokohama (Japan), respectively.

E-Mobility is reality and ZF, willing to be a key partner in the automotive industry of the future, didn’t sit and wait for it to happen!

Schweinfurt is the largest ZF facility in terms of employees, and you really get a sense of the volume ZF produces when you are there. Nonetheless, I felt a sense of family there. People were proud to be at ZF (or Sachs as some still call it), and they were always welcoming (both in and outside of work). The vibe at Schweinfurt is quite casual, but nonetheless people work hard (and efficiently!) and things get done.
Secondly, I worked in Friedrichshafen, which, as the headquarters, had a much more corporate vibe than Schweinfurt. The dress here is a bit more formal, running between plants is a part of life, and the pace here is fast, as to be expected from HQ. Nonetheless, people are friendly, inclusive and inviting. Also, as a city with a prime location on the Bodensee, nature abounds, and this was one of my favorite parts of living in the area. I participated in a ski trip with my department, did frequent runs along the lakeshore, and took part activities that go along with the lakefront living.

Right now, I am currently two weeks into my third project, which is located in Yokohama, Japan. Obviously a shift from both the US and Europe, the experience so far has been enriching and exciting. For those who do not know, Yokohama is located directly next to Tokyo, one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world. And with being in a huge city on the other side of the world come all of the unique food, technologies, and activities that go with it. Furthermore, the office environment is more community oriented than I experienced in either the US or Europe. Decisions of all sizes are discussed among the group, lunches are a time best spent getting to know one another, and people are so warm and helpful beyond my expectations. Furthermore, the work here in DTJA is focused on mobility of the future through E-mobility, and it is awesome to work on such cutting edge technology in a land known for just that.

Overall, the experiences of the trainee program has broadened my perspective in such a beneficial way that I will be able to draw upon as I interact with different cultures throughout my career. It has also widened my scope in terms of thinking of different solutions for today’s mobility problems that could work in various regions worldwide. And this learned perspective is something so difficult to achieve without being directly in the cultures you aim to understand. However, the trainee program, through its four rotations at various locations worldwide, gives you exactly that opportunity.