By further integration we break down societal divides
A Story by: Brendan Montgomery
Country of origin: Northern Ireland (UK). Destination: Germany
I took part in the mobility experience to see what it is like to live and work in another culture and environment. I also left school with the regret of not developing a second language, and have since challenged myself to learn German.
I knew that this placement would not be a long-term solution, but would give me great insight into myself and my ability to adapt. I now work for Nestlé in the UK as a Safety, Health & Environmental Graduate, and I strongly think that my experiences in this placement helped me to be a stronger person and ultimately sign for such a large company. I will leave it open to a return to Germany, and will be touring many cities come this August. A return may come, hopefully with Nestlé, and enable me to progress my career into an international one.
The placement taught me more German in thirteen weeks than I learnt Irish in five years. This made me realise that experiencing the language first-hand is essential for development. I also signed up to a German class in Belfast upon my return. As previously stated, I wish to progress my German further and will heavily encourage anyone to learn a second language, as I think it is weak within UK and Irish residents, with our European Counterparts speaking a minimum of three languages, sometimes five or six.
Sometimes, the UK/Ireland feels slightly detached in my opinion, especially with calls for withdrawal in the UK. My opinion of the importance of the EU strengthened as a result of my time in Germany. I realised that there are many similarities between our countries and that there are many fantastic foods, sights and atmospheres that I never had experienced. I think by further integration we break down societal divides, especially as someone from Northern Ireland. I mean more than for peace purposes, but for sharing learnings, cultures, experiences, etc. that make us more aware.
I absolutely would recommend a placement abroad to everyone, whether paid or voluntary. Fortunately, this mobility was heavily subsidised by the EU and enabled me to get on without the worry of financial issues. I made a few friends and will try to keep in touch in the future- so I definitely would recommend it.