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“I get to learn a new language”
Two apprentices reflect on their exchange semester

Aug 2, 2021.

A chance to learn a new language and explore a new region? That’s exactly what we offer our commercial apprentices. Interested and selected apprentices can spend the third semester of their apprenticeship in the other respective language region and attend vocational school there. Generali finds a suitable apprenticeship spot at one of the main sites in Adliswil or Nyon. Yllka Iseni and Sara Oezaydin share their experiences.

About Yllka

Yllka comes from Gland in the canton of Waadt and usually works at our headquarters in Nyon. From August 2020 to the end of January 2021, she spent an exchange semester at our legal protection insurance department in Adliswil. Generali provided her with an apartment for the duration of her time there.

 

About Sara

Sara lives in Effretikon in the canton of Zurich and is serving her apprenticeship at our headquarters in Adliswil. She did the reverse and spent an exchange semester in Nyon while Yllka was in Adliswil. While there, she gained insight into the customer service department and had the opportunity to live with a host family.

 

 

What made you two decide to apply for this exchange programme?

Yllka: I’ve always wanted to spend some time living in the German-speaking part of Switzerland, so when the opportunity came up, I went for it! Immersing yourself in a language is better than learning it in a classroom. And I’ve always wanted to get to know Zurich and experience all the culture and sport on offer.

 

Sara: I wanted to improve my language skills and absorb the working atmosphere in Nyon. And of course I was excited by the prospect of exploring a new city. It was almost like starting a new apprenticeship. Seeing Switzerland from a different perspective was fascinating.

 

 

What were your experiences of working in another language?

Sara: I was given the chance to join the Customer Care Center and in my six months there I gained some invaluable insight. I was welcomed with open arms at the office. I learned an awful lot from another apprentice and we became good friends. My comprehension skills improved immeasurably. I understand almost everything now.

 

Yllka: I had the opportunity to work in the legal protection insurance department – which was really interesting. The team was very welcoming. At first, I had difficulty understanding the tasks, but the team repeated everything slowly for me and eventually it started to get easier. My improved German skills helped me to make friends. Now I understand a lot, but I still have a little difficulty with my spoken German.

 

 

What were your experiences in general?

Sara: Interacting with others is what I enjoyed most. The West Swiss are always cheerful and full of fun. I was able to make friends quickly and had no trouble filling up my free time.

 

Yllka: I was blown away by Zurich. Just the size of the central station fascinated me. At the start I found it hard to find my way around the city, but in time I got my bearings and figured where to go and where not to go. Zurich is bigger, more exciting and more diverse than my hometown.

 

How did you find living alone?

Yllka: At the start I found it difficult. It was exciting but, in the evenings, I felt a little lonely. It was interesting to discover all the things you have to do when you live alone.

 

Sara: I felt very much at home with my host family. At the start we found it a little difficult to communicate. My host family couldn’t speak German at all, but it got better and better.

 

 

Would you recommend the exchange programme to other apprentices?

Sara: Definitely. Gaining a deeper insight into another culture, language and working environment is very valuable. It’s something that’ll benefit me for years to come.

 

Yllka: Like Sara, I can only recommend it. I wouldn’t hesitate to sign up for it again and share Sara’s enthusiasm. It was great fun! Both of us had a great experience.