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2017

#zftrainees

Hola From San Francisco, Argentina

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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 27, 2017
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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.
It’s been a few weeks since I ventured off as the only trainee to South America! For those who don’t know, Argentina has South America’s second largest economy (after Brazil), and ZF Sachs has a presence here. The plant, which is centrally located in San Francisco, Cordoba is small to mid-sized, producing car and truck dampers for OEMs and ZF Aftermarket in the MERCOSUR market.

Argentina is best known for its massive terrain encompassing the Andes Mountains, glacial lakes, and grass lands which serve as the traditional grazing grounds for its delicious and famous beef. However, it’s not all a rosy picture; recent policies plagued with corruption and economic mismanagement have left the economy suffering. Last year the inflation rate in Argentina hovered around 40%; fortunately, this year inflation is decreasing and people generally seem to have a sense of optimism that the economy is improving. One thing I learned quickly is that in Argentina you must have patience or be willing to improvise. Things seem to take longer here be it transportation, visa processes, or purchasing things with a credit card. If a meeting is set to start at 8:00 sharp, expect that it will probably not start until a few minutes later.

Another major change is the language. San Francisco being a relatively small city means that most people you come across do not speak any English. This makes learning a new language much easier as you are constantly engaging in Spanish or as Argentinians call their take on it “Castellano” with no alternative. For my project I’m currently in the logistics office where luckily a good amount of English is spoken as my level of Castellano remains at beginner, but might I add, it is steadily improving! In logistics I’m working on a complete change of processes in production planning and other supply chain related topics in order to smooth production and reduce lead times to the customer.

On a personal level, Argentinians are some of the most welcoming people I have met, making the transition from working in Europe to South America a smooth one. I am constantly being invited for Asado (Famous Argentinean BBQ) after work and am offered to try other local specialties such as cow tongue and brain! Actually not that bad if you don’t think about what you are eating.
Adios for now,
Mike