One year in the United Kingdom
by Denise - Service Account Manager
After spending a semester abroad in France during my degree program, I was always eager to participate in an expatriation program, which would allow me to gain international experience and indulge in the local culture of a foreign country. Therefore, I was absolutely excited when my line manager at the time approached me, after I have been with TGW only for a few months, whether I would be interested in working abroad, specifically spending one year in the Lifetime Services department of our British subsidiary in Market Harborough.
A few months later, the time had come to literally pack my life into bags, and travel to the UK. Considering that I always loved to travel and discover new places, it was a bit harder than expected to say goodbye to my family and friends – though I was also looking forward to the exciting year ahead of me.
Moving to and living in another country, naturally comes with some challenges. During my previous business trips to the United Kingdom, I have always driven cars with automatic transmission. Therefore, my first personal challenge was getting used to driving on the other side of the road with manual transmission – but I have to admit that you get used to it quite fast (don’t ask how often I have hit the door in my car when looking for the shift stick with my left hand, when driving in Austria again). Another considerable difference is that apartments/houses in the UK do have electrical switches for nearly every device in the kitchen such as the hood, the oven, the refrigerator, and all heating units do have a separate switch as well.
Culture-wise I really appreciated the friendly, open-minded and polite manners of British people in general, and their way of treating customers. You will hardly ever come across a grumpy person working in a service-oriented profession. Furthermore, I truly valued that everybody queues and nobody tries to skip the line, and people are considerate towards other people around them – even if they don’t know you. Experiencing another culture in such a way will also naturally lead to seeing your own culture and habits from a different angle. To cut a long story short – spending a certain amount of time in a foreign country, will automatically push you out of your comfort zone, and you will therefore grow not only career wise, but also as a person.
Whilst the secondment I was given the opportunity to be exposed to a variety of interesting topics. I spent some time at a customer site to support the setup of the spare parts stock, and I have also attended product trainings which were conducted for the on-site team. Furthermore, I got the chance to get involved with business development as well as Upgrades and Enhancements (Retrofit) in Hub North, and various other occasions to visit customer sites and attend customer negotiations. Working closely with the Lifetime Services team at Hub North enabled me to get an even better understanding of what the customers’ requirements are, and to which extent of excellence our colleagues in the UK strive for it in terms of customer service.
Furthermore, it should also be mentioned that there are some really nice places to visit such as Edinburgh, Land’s End (Cornwall), Cardiff and Oxford – only to name a few.
Finally, I want to thank the entire Hub North team in Market Harborough for making this year a great and valuable experience and TGW for this opportunity.