At Deutsche Telekom, top dual students and apprentices are given the opportunity to spend three months working at a local business unit outside of Germany. While many of Deutsche Telekom's companies are located within Europe, this year students and apprentices also had the chance to visit Singapore for their international work experience.
My colleague Tara is studying economics as part of a cooperative degree course and spent three months at our national company T-Systems Singapore. I'd like to share her experiences with you today.
With around 100 employees of 15 nationalities working at the Singapore office, there is a great deal of emphasis placed on the various different cultures. Every month, the whole team gets together for a joint lunch with presentations on different cultural topics. For instance, in January the focus was on the Chinese New Year celebrations. The colleagues watched a traditional lion dance performance before enjoying a lunch of typical Chinese cuisine.
The office in Singapore is smaller than here in Germany, so it's much easier to reach out to colleagues and the other teams. There's a really open and friendly atmosphere, and employees often spend time together after work or on Fridays.
The team works different daily hours than in Germany. While it's normal to work from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., food is such an important part of the Singaporeans' cultural identity that lunch breaks are a lot longer to accommodate this.
Spare time: City and beach close by
Despite being comparatively small, Singapore offers an incredible variety of things to do in your spare time. The city-state is situated on the coast, with Sentosa beach, Universal Studios, and Marina Bay all within easy reach. The area around Marina Bay is very high-tech. For example, the man-made gardens are designed to offset the city's carbon dioxide emissions. Singapore's airport is also unusual in that it not only hosts air travelers, but is an important recreational destination in itself with its waterfall and huge shopping mall. Many of the locals spend all day meandering through the airport on the weekends.
The food culture is very important in Singapore. There are a wide variety of international dishes to choose from, although Asian cuisine makes up the majority. The food courts are great for students, with dishes costing around just 5 Singapore dollars on average. Singapore has a very low crime rate and is one of the five safest cities worldwide. The people are incredibly trusting – for example, to reserve a table at one of the food courts you leave your belongings there and go order your food. Restaurants and supermarkets are generally very expensive. If you go out to eat with friends or colleagues, the food is always shared between the group. That's quite different than in Germany, where everyone orders their own dish.