When I first heard about this internship opportunity I would have never thought that I would be part of it. Traveling and even working in Germany was one of my dreams when I was a child. It took quite a long time from the Programme and I cannot describe the happiness I felt when I first got the news that I was accepted.
This experience gave me a lot of knowledge, I gained professional and personal growth. And one of the best part is that I gained many friends with whom we traveled, we laughed and we exchanged experiences with one another.
The goal I set to myself before I started this internship was “get the best out of it”, and I think I did and everyone from the Programme helped me do it. First of all, I studied Food Technology and Biotechnology in the University of Prishtina in Prishtina, Kosovo. When I got accepted to do this internship I was in my last year of bachelor studies. I became intern in a small company named Bottwartaler Winzer eG near Stuttgart, specifically in Grossbottwar. Furthermore, this company produced various wines. Additionally, I didn’t know much about wine, in some ways it was, and in some it was not related to my field of study. The best part was that I loved wine and I was very curious to know more about it and learn new things. In that case, learning new things and gaining new skills never killed anybody.
When I first got in Bottwartaler Winzer, the colleagues in my company where very kind showing me everything about the company and wine making. In addition, they bought me working clothes and working shoes, so the fitting in was easy. The first days where like all my work was related to festivals and drinking wine, hearing typical German music and it was fun. Afterward it wasn’t that bad, but then the real work started. In that case, it got really stressful, some parts made me feel good and some made me feel like I did not know what was going on, but I learned that it is all part of the job and I got used to it. Withal, working in a factory is a hard job and doing a qualitative product needs a lot of experience and time to put into.
Particularly, I always was more interested into laboratory work and since this company was a small one, they didn’t offer much of it. Nevertheless, they have a laboratory and do some analysis, which after a while it become part of my job during my stay. It was interesting to see how the grape juice turns into wine, how its parameters (like sugar, alcohol, acids etc.) changed day after day and how the “Kellermeister” managed to keep these parameters stable after the wine reached the desired properties. My boss was very kind and understanding when I did something wrong or didn’t understand something. He tried to explain to me in details how one or another thing is maintained, and that made me feel appreciated. Considering that he saw my desire about laboratory work, he even organized some visiting tours for me in other wineries and wine laboratories, from which I saw and learned a lot about wine analysis. Thanks to his understanding and his organization I was able to learn even more than I could have learned in just one winery.
Besides that, the thing that I found most fascinating about the company was the spirit of cooperation, from all the people in the village of Grossbottwar and other nearby villages. They work all together and they put all their ‘heart’ into that wine so everyone who would tried it, would love it. One can see that this is the tradition and culture of that region and despite every difficulty they love doing it and that’s inspiring. One day, I would like to see this kind of organization and cooperation in my country. This experience made me now more curious about how wine is produced in my country. I plan to visit some of the wineries in Kosovo and see how they work and maybe give them some advices I learned during my experience in Germany.
The people I can’t let out of the picture are the family I lived with. They were one of the nicest people I have ever met. They helped me with everything, the documents; they invited me for dinners or to some events that were held nearby. They helped me have a better time there and didn’t let me feel alone.
Everyone who does this internship tries to manage to have some fun and travel to places nearby. Therefore, one of the best parts was that I could travel and see different parts of the country and even other countries like France and Holland. However, a reason for having a good time while traveling is the people you travel with. In this Programme, I met some of the most amazing people, from different backgrounds and ethnicity, with whom we shared our stories and experiences, and together we made each other time better.
To sum up, this internship was the best thing that happened to me till now. Since I came back to Kosovo, I am “annoying” everyone by telling stories from my internship and my stay in Germany. Professional growth is what everyone is looking for when they apply for this Programme, and this internship made it possible for me. Besides that, the personal growth comes within the ‘package’ of experiences and till now I can say that it is one of the biggest changes I see in myself.
Melisa, Generation 2016