Our apprentice Timotheo reports on his year abroad

Sep 2, 2022.

In addition to a traditional three-year commercial apprenticeship, Generali Switzerland also offers a four-year international commercial apprenticeship, which also includes a year abroad. Training is interrupted for a year and resumes when the apprentice returns. Timotheo, one of our apprentices, took advantage of this opportunity and spent a year in the US. Now he is back and continuing the second year of his apprenticeship after gaining lots of new experience.

Timotheo, you decided to include a year abroad in your commercial apprenticeship. What was your motivation for this?

I had a sense of adventure from a young age – I loved discovering new places and widening my experience. I have always dreamed of living overseas. But I’d never considered a year abroad. When Roger, Head of Apprentice Service, told me about this unique opportunity, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I instantly knew it was right for me. I was immediately drawn to the idea of spending a year on the other side of the world enjoying unforgettable experiences in another country. I wanted to familiarise myself with a new culture and American high-school life. I told myself: “It’s now or never!”


During your year abroad, you attended high school and lived with a host family. What did you think of this combination?

It was great. I had a fantastic host family, and we instantly hit it off. We became a real family. I was also very fortunate with my school. Both my classmates and teachers welcomed me with open arms. The fact that my host brother was the same age as me made everything so much easier. But it’s important to note that not everyone is as lucky as me. Sometimes, the host family and student don’t get along, in which case AFS, which organises the year abroad, will look for a new family.


A year abroad not only involves a great many new experiences but also promotes personal development. How have you changed and what have you learnt?

I don’t think I’ve changed very much. In fact, I hope I’ve stayed the same. I’ve learnt to tell myself more often: “OK, it is what it is.” I’ve definitely become more tolerant and patient. My year abroad has shown me that you have to leave your comfort zone in order to learn new things. I’ll definitely continue to embrace this in my professional and personal development. Only now that I’m back am I beginning to realise what I’ve learnt and experienced. So I’ll probably be able to answer this question better in a few months’ time. 


What was your special highlight?

It’s hard to pick out one particular thing. ‘Friday Night Lights’ are something that will definitely stay with me forever. Every Friday night, thousands of people gather in the stadium to watch a game of American football. I was extremely impressed with the passion of the players, coaches and all the students. The school looked forward to the game all week, and there was a fantastic atmosphere. I was a member of the football team and experienced this first hand. It was a childhood dream come true for me.

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About Timotheo

Timotheo is 18 years old and began his commercial apprenticeship at Generali Switzerland in August 2020. He loves discovering new things. Timotheo is extremely passionate about everything he does, from travelling to sport. So it’s hardly surprising that he opted for a four-year international apprenticeship, including a year abroad that took him to the Milwaukee area in the US state of Wisconsin.