Whether from Spain, Italy or France. More and more students and pupils are taking advantage of the Erasmus+ support programme and are completing a semester or traineeship abroad. So did the 19-year-old Mélanie Houllier, who attends a secondary school with the specialisation ‘Negotiation of customer relationships’ in Rouen, France. She came to VOCO in Germany for two months.
Rouen is located in Haute-Normandie about 100 kilometres northwest of Paris and is a city with about 110,000 inhabitants – twice as much as in Cuxhaven. Of course, there was a reason for her to look for a traineeship in Germany. “I really want to learn German. I like the language,” she explains her choice. And although Mélanie had been taking German lessons at her school in France for two years, she also prepared herself for her time in Germany: “I watched German movies and switched my smartphone menu to German.” Hence, she thought she was reasonably well prepared. But already on her first day she had to realize the following: “Everyone talks very quickly, and I don't understand so much. It is difficult to learn German. However, I learned a lot during my time at VOCO.”
Language skills expanded and cities explored
The first department Mélanie met was Customer Service. “I could listen to telephone conversations and improve my German in that way.” She then moved to the Controlling department, where she took on smaller writing tasks and was able to extend her German writing skills. Most recently she supported the Knowledge Communication department: “Here I helped to prepare events”.
In addition to her work at VOCO, Mélanie has visited surrounding cities such as Bremerhaven, Bremen and Hamburg. During her excursions to cafés and restaurants in Cuxhaven, she quickly made friends – also with VOCO employees.
Before Christmas she goes home again: “The first thing I do when I'm at home: I visit my family and friends.” And what happens next? “When I finish school, I'd like to come to Germany for a year to be able to speak the language perfectly.”