Never be ashamed from asking about what you don’t know

My Name is Omar Ayoub. I am a 20 years old electric engineering student and I finished my fourth year at the end of May 2010.  2010\2011 will be my last year in the bachelor program. I am from  Nablus, a lovely city in the north of the West Bank in Palestine and I am studying at An-Najah National University in the same city.

By the time I am writing this I am starting my 4th week in Daimler AG as an intern student in the model based development department, although I am at the beginning, after 3 weeks I will say that what I am learning and the knowledge I am gaining by working here is more real, practical and beneficial than all the theoretical courses I had back home.

As the internship or summer training is a mandatory course for my Bachelor studies, I started my search one year earlier before the usual training time, and through the Young Arab Leader website and the Daimler-Blog and on the other hand by asking and talking to older students who came here in the last years; I had the chance to form my data base about this internship.

The process to come here wasn’t easy or short; starting from the first applications to the interviews and ending with the visa and the work permit (ZAV), but after I experienced the greatness of being here, I would say that this opportunity equals much more than the time or work done to achieve it.

For me it’s the first time to live abroad from my whole family and friends in a different new place with different new people. This fact by it self is a major benefit to me because you need to be able to stand alone in this life and to handle your responsibilities by your self.

My first work days were for the logistic arrangements, and for meeting my supervisors, colleagues and the members of the team and department I am training in, and configure an idea about my work field, my tasks, etc. At these days I started adopting the new life system; new people, new weather and discovering the main places and streets in Stuttgart.

Nablus vs. Stuttgart


It wasn’t really easy to deal with the new different software and programs from the first day but after five or six days I familiarized myself with the basics of this new (at least for me) technology. I am gaining the skills to use these tools more efficiently. What I’ve learnt until now is a lot compared to what I already know; but its nothing compared to what I want to learn and what I expect to have learnt by the end of this internship. And all of this is a small microscopic step in the space of engineering and MODEL BASED DEVELOPMENT.

The most important thing that helps you is trying to discover the new things by yourself and fail at the first time or times and it’s necessary to get a FALSE answer, as you learn nothing from a TRUE. Next thing is to ask for help or information from your colleagues or supervisors; and never be ashamed from asking about what you don’t know. The real shame is to realize that you don’t know and not ask for knowledge.

The cultural differences, and the vertical gap in the development scale, is too clear to not talk about it here. These differences you can see are everywhere; at work or at home; the fact that nearly everything is systemized. Unfortunately and though most people can speak English, the language barrier of not speaking German will prevent you sometimes from getting closer to these differences, from taking part in some interesting conversations and from making new friends and getting to know more people. The major thing you learn, is to accept the fact that these extreme and contradictory differences exist everywhere and you probably need to respect the people who hold and represent these differences and deal with them separated from the argument of right\wrong, good\bad. Otherwise it won’t be easy to live in this community. And from my first day I tried to convince my self to look positively at every difference and problem. Anything that looks negative from the outside could be a chance to experience something new; if you miss the train, you can read some more pages from your book and if you lost your way in similar looking streets, you get more time for walking and discovering new places.

I expect the next weeks in my internship getting more and more interesting. There is a lot of things to discover in my work field; the model checking, in Daimler and in Stuttgart and other parts of Germany considering the extra excitement of the world cup, as the people here are really fond of this game.

Needless to say; this is the most valuable chance in my life as a student and I am doing my best to learn and enjoy every moment of this 90 days internship.