My name is Angela Borho, I am 20 years old and I live in a small town in the South of Germany. I work for Wiha Tools which has its headquarters in Schonach, Germany. Wiha produces over 5,000 different high quality hand tools and sells them all over the world. With its over 1,000 employees worldwide Wiha has many subsidiaries all over the world, among others in Monticello, MN. Usually, students who work for Wiha get the chance to do an internship during their studies in one of the subsidiaries of Wiha. Hence, why I got the opportunity to go to Minnesota for a four week internship at Wiha USA.
A ten hours flight, 4,452 miles and a completely different time zone. This was the start of the adventure. Did I pack all the important things into my suitcase? Do I have all the essential cards and forms for the controls? And hopefully the train to the airport won’t have a delay. So many questions and sorrows in one head, but at least it all worked out. Finally I arrived at the airport in Minneapolis where I met my colleagues Andrew and Jeff who drove me to my apartment in Monticello. My home for the next four weeks. During the weekend I had some time to settle in and to explore Monticello. Additionally I had lunch with Lauren, with who I most often worked together during the internship.
The following Monday was my first day at work. After a company tour with the Director of Wiha USA, Patrick Diperno, my on-boarding period in the Marketing Department began. I got an insight to the different Marketing tools and was informed about the processes and tasks. At the beginning I supported Lauren, Digital Marketing Coordinator, by creating and analyzing Social Media content. After the first days I got my own projects surrounding Social Media. Analyzing Instagram accounts, websites and optimizing them was e.g. one big project. I was allowed to work on my own and I was free to create proposals of my own ideas.
Feels like Home?
Same as in Germany, this character trade is a big advantage of the company culture as a whole: the employees are welcome to share own ideas and opinions. They are not afraid of trying out new things. And therefore, I was allowed to create an own one-week Instagram campaign. It was my task to create the topic, the content, the pictures and all other preparation that is needed to run a successful campaign. I chose the topic “Around the Globe” to show potential or current customers how big the brand Wiha actually is. With different measurements I measured the success and at the end of the campaign I achieved the overall aim of ending up with at least 18.5k followers on Instagram. Finally, I have learned that making videos, creating posts and engaging our audience makes for a lot of fun, but also requires enough time for preparation and courage to be different.
Besides my time in the Marketing Department, I was also introduced to the work in Customer Service as well as to a workday in the warehouse. Both parts were interesting to see and have helped me gain a greater understanding of the whole product cycle at Wiha Tools USA.
In the evenings I spent my time exploring Monticello itself. I met different people, visited interesting places and got to know the American culture. It was my first time in the States which made this experience so much more exciting. Sometimes my colleagues showed me some places or gave me tips of where I definitely should visit, but most of the time I just went for a walk along one of thousands of lakes and enjoyed my trip to the fullest.
On the weekends I spent my time across the borders of Monticello. I took the advantage of Labor Day at my first weekend and went to Chicago, Illinois. Eight hours sitting in the Greyhound Bus couldn’t stop me from exploring the windy city. Thank God – it was worth it. The following weekend was a little less exciting and a little more relaxed. What about a boat cruise at Lake Minnetonka and a day at the beach of Buffalo? It sounded perfect and it was perfect. By my third weekend I wanted to get some of the great outdoors feeling. I drove towards the Canadian border along Lake Superior and visited beautiful Duluth. It consisted of a 5 hour drive and a temperature difference of 30 degrees Fahrenheit lower but it was one of the most stunning places I have ever seen. I realized that I have seen lots of beautiful places in Minnesota, but not yet the biggest city – Minneapolis. This needs to be changed, which means I will spend my last weekend in Minneapolis.
Unfortunately, every big adventure comes to an end. So after my short trip to Minneapolis I am going to leave Minnesota behind. Lucky me I took the chance and combined my internship with my holidays. So this is going to be the end of the internship and the start for a bus trip through California at the same time. Nonetheless I will leave beautiful Minnesota with one crying and one laughing eye. On the one hand I will miss my colleagues, the culture and the landscape, but on the other hand when I will look back I will always remember lots of beautiful moments and experiences for which I am more than thankful for.