KATHARINA PENHOLZ - INTERN

Katharina is 23 years old and is studying Civil Engineering at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam in the fifth semester. She has been with gbc engineers since April 2018 and currently works as a working student in Berlin. Her journey with us started with an internship at our international office in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. 


How did you come to gbc engineers?
One evening I came across the intern advertisement at gbc engineers in HCMC through the Facebook page of my university and shortly thereafter sent my application. Then everything went very fast, and two months later, in April 2018, I sat in the office in the warm Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City). My internship lasted exactly six months.


What does your typical workday look like?
My tasks are generally very versatile, which is why I love this job until now. At the beginning, I was busy with the testing of form work and reinforcement plans, where I quickly learned what they should all involve, and above all, how the form work and the reinforcement of the different components are carried out. 

When examining the drawings, one cannot avoid taking a look at the architecture and work planning and matching the contents of the drawings with the existing statics. Of course, small technical calculations are also included.In case of doubt, project managers were always available to support, and questions never went unanswered. If there were any changes in the drawings, it was also possible to get a direct discussion with our engineers who work together in teams on the drawings.
 
After getting involved in the projects and gaining an overview, I also helped with the project coordination. Writing e-mails and making phone calls with the customer was also a part of my everyday work.


What did you like most about your work at gbc engineers?
I liked the versatility of the internship best. I felt comfortable in the office right from the beginning and was looking forward to working with my colleagues every day. Within a short time, I learned how to deal with the different challenges and master them together with the team. I learned how important it is to look for solutions together and that the right communication plays a particularly important role. 


What were the biggest challenges during your work at gbc engineers? How did you handle these challenges?
The biggest challenge was the communication and the temporal organization of the projects. In stress situations, I have always tried to keep calm. It was especially important to be in regular contact with team leaders of the projects and take time to sit next to the projects’ engineers and work together to find a solution. It is also essential to work precisely and to question things, so that minor issues do not end up being big problems.


How would you describe the working atmosphere and your colleagues?
The young, bright team made me laugh every day and I always enjoyed working together. For kindness, warmth and helpfulness you do not have to look far, you will find it as soon as you enter the office.


What is your favorite memory or experience you have from your time at gbc engineers?
The best memory is the team-building event. Together with all colleagues, we went to Nha Trang over a weekend, where we played games together, ate and spent time on the beach. You got to know each other better and had some great time together outside the office.


What could you take away from the internship?
First of all, my technical vocabulary in English was able to expand considerably in no time at all. Secondly, I have gained new motivation through the newly acquired knowledge and can now continue my studies on a completely new basis. Particularly noteworthy is working abroad. This has enriched me with many unforgettable experiences and friends. Through this experience, I have been able to develop my professional and personal skills and have become more confident.


What did you like most about living and working in Vietnam? What challenges did you face in everyday life? What do you still like to remember?
I have never been to Asia before my internship and have absolutely no idea what to expect. I expected a culture shock, but in the end, I was just overwhelmed by the hospitality of this country. I quickly got used to friendly people, delicious food and warm temperature. Only in the traffic of the big city made me feel a bit lost at the beginning, but I adapted to this quickly

I loved my everyday life in Saigon. There's nothing better than exploring the city by scooter and stopping in between to enjoy a Vietnamese coffee or a freshly squeezed juice.

Give us your top 3 reasons why you would also recommend to your friends an internship with gbc engineers. 
1. When it comes time to stress, the nearest pools, beaches or jungles (whatever you need) are not far away. 
2. Through colleagues in Vietnam you learn what cohesion really means.
3. I think that jumping in at the deep end always takes you one step further. I've learned a great deal in all respects over the six months and would choose another internship at gbc engineers any time.