David: Our first work-study student on an international exchange

David: Our first work-study student on an international exchange

5 min read Aug 10, 2023

David is a work-study student at BE-terna in the Microsoft Dynamics D365 Business Central business line. He tells us about the unique position he has held so far and gives exciting insights into what it is like to be the first work-study student from Germany to move to the Helsingborg site in Sweden. In this interview, he will tell us how the company's flexibility has helped him realize this cross-border experience.

Tell us something about your work-study program and your position at BE-terna. How is the course content structured and can you use it in the company?

I am studying business informatics at the Saxony University of Cooperative Education in Glauchau with BE-terna as my practical partner. The course content is quite broad and covers many important topics in business informatics, such as software development, databases, ERP systems along with general business and information technology topics.
I really like the work-study mode. During my studies, I can dive directly into working life and develop a good understanding of professional practices. Personally, I always have "Aha!" moments, both in the practical and theoretical phases, when I already know certain facts and realize how theories and applications are linked.
At BE-terna in particular, I feel that I am in very good hands as a student. My colleagues are friendly and helpful throughout, and I am given plenty of room and the time I need to immerse myself in different areas and pursue my personal interests within the work. That's how I got started in development for Business Central, but I'm also currently pursuing my own small project in the area of data analysis.

As a student using the exchange from Germany to Helsingborg, Sweden, how would you describe the flexibility the company offers you in realizing this cross-border work and study program?

The flexibility works really well. I can take my laptop anywhere and work as long as there is a power supply and an internet connection. This works just as well in the office in Helsingborg and Halmstad as it does in Erfurt, Leipzig, Auerbach or even at home. I can communicate with my colleagues in Sweden and still stay in touch with my team in Germany. Thanks to the flexible working hours, I can also allow myself to work fewer hours on some days in order to have more time to explore the country.

How did you feel about your personal reception in Sweden? Was there any special support from the company or the university to help you get started in a new country?

I was very well received in Sweden. The colleagues at BE-terna and also the people outside the company are very friendly. For example, Lund University provided me with an apartment, even though I am not enrolled as an intern at the university in Sweden.
In the company, I immediately felt welcomed and accepted. I have the feeling of being part of the team, although I continue to work on my “German tasks” for the most part during the internship. I was also lucky that the annual “Sommarfest” took place a few weeks after my arrival. This gave me the opportunity to get to know all my colleagues from Sweden and experience a really warm and fun company party with them.

How did the experience of working across borders affect your professional and personal development? What specific skills and perspectives did you gain from the experience?

I found it very valuable to get a deep insight into life in Sweden, much deeper than would ever be possible on a vacation. It allowed me to experience what it really means to be part of an international group of companies and to learn about a few Swedish traits. For example, I can confirm the positive preconceptions that, in terms of education, culture and digitalization, Sweden is very well placed overall. What was particularly impressive for me, however, was the way people interact with each other on a day-to-day basis. Much is based on mutual trust. This creates a certain serenity, freedom, and warmth that I found very pleasant. I will definitely take this perspective with me, both personally and professionally.
I was also able to contribute my knowledge and skills on site and exchange ideas with my colleagues. This now opens up opportunities for me to stay in contact and work together with the people in Sweden in the future.

What advice and experiences would you share with other work-study students to encourage them to also participate in a cross-border exchange program, and what benefits could they gain from it? Would you want to do the exchange again?

I think your student days are the best time to gain experience abroad. You can really broaden your horizons professionally and personally, and reflect on your own “national domestic perspective”. In Sweden, I was able to discover many little peculiarities of the country and differences to Germany and also learn a lot of positive things, for example about interpersonal interaction. Such experiences surely arise for everyone in one form or another during such a program, and for that I would definitely recommend an experience abroad.
At BE-terna, the conditions were ideal for me. I didn't have to leave my job for the internship. The company was very flexible and allowed me to start right away. This helped me connect with my coworkers on-site, continue my previous work, and get to know the country better.
So yes, I would do it again at any time.
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About the Author

Verena Schneeberger

Marketing Associate