XIAOYANG (JOHN) SHEN
Internship Field: Mechanical Engineering, Aeronautics
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Location: Dahlewitz, near Berlin
Duration: 3 months in Summer 2006
Description: "I worked with the unit engineers in the Controls department, supporting them as they worked on completing specifications and schemes for the Flight Test Bed and Flying Test Engines. I acted as a center of information between the department and the supervisors in the Change Control Department, and made sure that all documents were completed, signed, and delivered on time to our partner companies and suppliers. I also worked on a series of projects to streamline communication and data flow between the departments, creating new and writing macros to automate existing excel databases used to collect data on the project.
Comment: While my work was not extremely technical, I gained significant insight into the functionality of an engineering company, especially one in a multinational consortium. I feel as that this understanding of how large projects are run between countries and between companies is very valuable."
Problem: "At the beginning of my internship I was quite frustrated by the lack of work (this was because people were on vacation or didn't trust my abilities with work). However, as I worked longer and longer at the company I was able to get to know my coworkers well and by the end felt that I was a valuable, contributing member to the team and that I was doing real work to help the project along."
Personally rewarding: "I was able to be immersed in a German office environment, and got a great opportunity to interact with German co-workers. Likewise I was able to make many friends from the other interns at RRD. The placement in Berlin helped me also to maintain many of my friends that I had made there during the winter, and it was very comforting to come back to a familiar city, and I was able to blend in very well. The world cup was also amazing and the time of my life.
German language skills: "Although English was the working language of the office, I was able to speak in German and converse with my German colleagues (after some effort at convincing them that I am capable in the language). I think the best thing for me was gaining the ability to rapidly switch between thinking in English and German, as conversations would switch back and forth without warning; this actually helped me to be able to think more clearly and fully in German."
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