How half a year changed me as a person

It has been almost a year since I applied and got accepted to the Young Arab Leaders and Daimler Internship Exchange Program in Stuttgart, Germany. This YAL-Daimler internship is truly beyond anything I ever imagined and while I went through a lot of experiences and challenges during my time here, I’m entirely grateful for everything, small and big.

MeetingLet me introduce myself first; my name is Asma Al Mehairi, I’m a 19 years old Emarati living in my hometown Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Currently, I’m a 3rd year student at the American University in Dubai studying Business and majoring in Marketing Communication. Even though 6 months is a lot to pack into a few sets of paragraphs, I will be more than happy to give you a slight glimpse of what my time in Daimler and in Germany was like and hope it compares.

First of all, let me express how delighted and honored I am to be the first Emarati student to participate in this cross-culture oriented program that has been running for a little over five years now. The main focus of the program is to promote the dialogue between Arab students and experienced Daimler managers creating a perfect platform to exchange ideas, experience, and knowledge. I am truly humbled to present and represent who and what the people of the United Arab Emirates are in this broad culture-conscious program. 

My internship took place in the core of Mercedes-Benz, in Stuttgart, at FleetBoard in the Sales department. FleetBoard is a truck Telematics Company and it is a daughter company of Daimler AG, which operates on an international level across the globe in areas such as Europe, Middle East, South Africa, and Brazil. My main job was to plan, coordinate, and assist Market Management Sales of the European Union and facilitate in everyday life at FleetBoard. However, I was given more to work and experience with and so I was also integrated into other projects such as CRM and a few MENA (Middle East and North Africa) projects to name a few.

My whole experience with FleetBoard as a company started slow and as it kept going on, it kept increasing in speed and magnitude, allowing me to pick up more material as the pace increased. I was very welcomed in my first days by my colleagues and supervisors. On the other hand however, the biggest barrier for me was the language. But thanks to Daimler we were given complementary German lesson for a period of around 12 weeks which I have to admit helped a lot. In addition to that I also enrolled for German classes at the Universität Hohenheim to strengthen my so-far-acquired German.

Driver's LeagueI’m also pleased that I was able to take part in one of the few milestones that marked my YAL-Daimler journey. The first being FleetBoard’s Driver League Finale, where all employees helped in taking part and organizing his successful day. FB’s Driver League Finale is an annual competition day between economical drivers from different parts of the world that had the chance to experience FleetBoard in their job workplace, and at the end of the day, one of the drivers who achieved the highest points won! And even though this day took place on a Saturday and around an hour away from Stuttgart in a town called Münsingen, it was a day where I felt like I was truly a part of the FleetBoard family.

Another event that I was fortunate enough to be able to attend was the Launch of the new Daimler’s Actros Truck in Münsingen. Such launches usually take place every 10 to 15 years and so I was one of the lucky ones to be allowed to drive a 30 tons Truck! Other events I have also enjoyed extremely were the Mercedes-Benz Museum tour, the Innovation Workshop that all interns participated in, lastly but not leastly, the meeting with one of the Board Members Mr. Porth where we passionately discussed our internships, experiences, and the situations of the Middle East openly.

Lastly, with only two weeks left of my six-month internship here in Germany, I have to admit this journey is going to come to an end all too soon for me! This experience shaped me as a woman, a scholar, and a person and I will forever be grateful to have gone through such an experience. I have developed not just as a person with all the skills and situation I went through, but I’ve become more culturally conscious, posses a broader perspective of things, and much more independent then I ever thought I could be.

Not to mention, all the friendships I have acquired within Daimler premises and outside truly made me feel at home when I was thousands and thousands of miles away from it.  I truly wish everyone can go through a similar journey because you learn so much and you grow so quickly, you’re already a different and better person when you first step foot into Germany. And I personally think that this is an overlooked important goal we all acquired through this exchange in a way or another, a goal unseen by Daimler, a goal for you to discover!