Brief: Recently returned from Switzerland were she did her internship at HACO AG Production Company.

You recently did your internship in Gumligen, Switzerland. Please tell us more about that. What company you worked for, how did you get to know about it, how long were you there and in what activities you were involved in? I recently did my internship in HACO AG Production Company, based in a city called Gumligen in Switzerland (Europe). My internship at HACO AG started the 03 August 2015 until the 23 August 2015. An advert was posted on a notice board at the School of Health and Applied Sciences. I filled out the application form and the submitted pertinent documents. After the pre-selection and the interviews, I was selected as one of the successful candidates.

I worked in a Micro-Biology and Analytic lab, where I worked for 10 weeks and two weeks, I worked into Analytic lab. I respectively carried out different practical tests and Hygiene work in the Micro-biology lab. In the laboratories I carried out different tests and analysed on different products according to their required specifications. All products tested in the labs are produced in the company. Samples are received every morning and each sample had to go through certain testing and analysis as specified.

The activities I did included entering samples in the computer system, preparation of agars, preparation of samples, homogenise the samples, serial dilutions, incubation, counting colonies, result calculation and evaluation, salmonella test, cleaning and disinfection pH of coffee and liquid seasonings/sauces, refraction of oil and sugar syrup, particle analysis of micro grind coffee, density of liquid products analysis, salt content analysis, water content analysis, sieving of dry products and water activity.

Compared to Namibia, tell us how you found Switzerland in terms of culture, climate, transportation etc.? Switzerland is a developed, green country. It receives rain throughout the year. The climate is moderate with no excessive heat, cold or humidity. The Swiss public transport system is convenient. They offer the densest public transport network in the world. They use trains, buses and ships of comfort for desired destinations. Rail services are regular and reliable. The train departs every half-hour or hour. With some special travel tickets you can cover the entire country in a day. The Country’s national languages are German, French, Italian, and Romansh, spoken by a small minority. Therefore, Swiss culture is characterised by diversity, which is reflected in a wide range of traditional customs.

What did you do on your leisure time? During leisure time, I did a lot of activities with the family I stayed with that includes city seeing (visited a big old city in Switzerland that called Basel for a musical live show called the Lion King). I went boat riding, mountain hiking, and experienced snow in the mountains. I also had a chance to visit Germany and Italy and attended a Swiss wedding.

How did this international experience benefit you? Doing my internship internationally allowed me to develop my professional and personal skills. It introduced me to the actual work field. I have learned to work in an organization and to apply my knowledge. Internship gave me a chance to experience the Switzerland culture, values and lifestyles. Living with my host families enabled me to become immersed in the culture, and to experience the way of living of the Swiss people.

What keeps you going as a student and what inspires you most? The fact that I was afforded the opportunity to take on significant responsibilities while someone was on maternity leave, and not treated as an intern, inspired me a lot. These provided me with a knowledge I could not have gained in the classroom alone. I felt as if I was a permanent employee.

Success quote: “International internships are incredibly worthwhile endeavours that everyone should seek out in order to be successful in the rapidly globalizing world of today.”