voestalpine Steel Division welcomed this year Matilde, a student from Portugal, who did a practical training for one month. Read here about her experiences in Austria and of course voestalpine Steel Division.
My name is Matilde, I am 21 years old and I come from Lisbon, Portugal. I finished my Bachelor in Industrial Engineering and Management at Instituto Superior Técnico (Lisbon) this year and will start my Master’s in October. I had the great opportunity to do an internship abroad this summer and I was very lucky to get a place at voestalpine Stahl in Linz and to live in Austria for a little more than one month.
I arrived in Linz almost four weeks ago and I can already say that I am going to remember this as one of the best months of my life and as an incredible experience on both professional and personal levels. Starting with the internship, I love every part of it. In the past weeks, I was not only provided with plenty of information and knowledge by experienced people, but I also contributed to voestalpine by doing some tasks. I started by getting an overview of voestalpine Group in the first week and went on exciting field trips – to the steel plant, the casting and hot rolling mills – in the wide area where voestalpine industry runs its operation in Linz. Since then, I have been hopping from one department to another in order to be immersed in different environments and to get to know as many processes and business practices as possible. I have been in 3 out of 4 purchasing department sections and in the communication department, too. I have used my Portuguese language knowledge as an advantage for voestalpine by doing research for new suppliers in Brazil, and I am currently doing some translations for the voestalpine website, corporate blog and Wikipedia page, since there are a lot of Brazilian workers in the voestalpine Group.
The workers I have met and worked with at voestalpine are all very nice and from the very beginning, they made me feel like I belonged to them. Since I do not speak German, they all made an effort to talk in English all the time so that I understood everything. Two weeks ago, a whole department with over 20 people had a meeting in English just because of me. And it is not only the people from voestalpine who are nice and attentive; it is a common and traditional custom in Linz.
Besides the great people I have met here, one of the things I will also miss after starting working in Portugal is the daily schedule in Austria. The working day starts about 2 hours earlier than in Portugal and therefore also ends earlier in the afternoon. I appreciate it very much, because after work you still have time to enjoy the sun, to hang out with friends or to go for a run, and you still make it home during the day and go to bed early feeling like you had a really full day. Apart from work: this city and this country are better than I ever imagined, regarding the amount of interesting places and activities you can do in your leisure time. Starting with Linz, I think it is a really beautiful city. I like its ‘industrial city disguised by culture’ atmosphere. I visited all of its main attractions, was fortunate to be here during ‘Höhenrausch 3 – The Art of Towers’, and I may be able to attend the Holi Open Air Festival of Colors. Austria is a marvelous country in every aspect: the landscape is just amazing with all the mountains, extensive green fields and the cutest houses embellished with colorful flowers. I have been exploring Upper Austria during the weekends, visiting the lakes on hot summer days ─ a really nice, beautiful experience so different from the sandy beaches and cold agitated sea I am used to back home; I also went trekking and climbing in Gosau and Ramsau on the Dachstein and tried rafting in the Salzach. I had some of the best days of my life and enjoyed the most breathtaking views.
For me, experiencing a different culture, stepping out of the box and questioning your beliefs are the main goals of visiting a foreign country ─ either in the holidays or, as in this case, as part of a professional experience. Having done this, I believe I am leaving Austria with a bagful of new acquirements and broadened horizons ─ a great and invigorating contribution to my continuous journey towards becoming a better human being and, more importantly, a more evolved world citizen.