There isn’t actually any provision in my theory and practice-based study programme for a semester abroad, but I told the head of accounting in Gaildorf that I was interested in gaining some experience in another country and he did everything he could to make that happen.
COVID-19 made it look like my wish would never be fulfilled, but I was lucky that incidence rates in Wrocław, located some 160 km from the German border, were very low and an opportunity to go came up out of the blue.
To be completely honest, Poland wasn’t a bucket-list country. I had never been there before and I didn’t have any real expectations and when I arrived there, five weeks seemed like an eternity. In reality, five weeks weren’t nearly enough.
From the very first day, I was totally captivated by the beautiful and unique city of Wrocław. Known as The Venice of Poland, the city has an intriguing history and a lot to offer. I was made to feel very welcome by my Polish colleagues, who also gave me lots of tips for sightseeing as well as for the days after drinking far too much Polish beer. Everyone there is very open and friendly and the office itself is pretty cool. Several walls are painted with comic characters, there’s a chill-out area and some colleagues do their work sitting on a gymnastics ball.
Rynek - old town of Wroclaw
Town Hall in Rynek
Wroclaw is also called the Venice of Poland, so a boat tour is a must!
Bechtle direct office
While I was there, I also got to know Karolina Romanczuk, the managing director of Bechtle direct Polska. I had already heard that she was quite the superwoman, but she managed to exceed my expectations. Karolina Romanczuk sets great store in teams in the spirit of “Teamwork makes the dream work“, and this is something she exudes when she’s with other people. Even though I was only with the team for a very short period of time, I always felt like I was an important and valued member of it.
Sadly, I can’t speak Polish, but we were able to communicate well in English. I helped out in the accounting department and was happy to see that the numbers are the same whatever the language. My colleagues did give me a cheat sheet with all the most important invoicing vocab, which was really helpful.
In my free time, I got to know Poland a little better. After work, I checked out the city’s museums and tasted Polish cuisine, while at the weekends, I often took little trips to places like Warsaw and Krakow, went hiking and visited a beautiful castle with a Polish name I can’t pronounce.
View of Wroclaw Cathedral
Old town in Wroclaw
Looking back over the five weeks, I don’t think I could have wished for a Bechtle site in a more beautiful city. I really enjoyed my time in Poland and have got to know many new colleagues, acquaintances and friends. All I can say is, if you ever get the opportunity to get to know a new culture or language, grab it. You won’t regret it!
Until next time,