I graduated from NUI Galway in 2014 with a 4-year degree in Arts, Legal Studies and German. As a part of my course, I had the pleasure to participate in the Erasmus Program. I spent a year in Augsburg, Germany where I continued to study German and Law whilst being immersed in the country and its culture.
I always wanted to pursue a career with German, as I've studied the language since primary school. I heard about Wayfair from my friend who was already working with the company. She told me that there are many different opportunities for German speakers. Wayfair appealed to me because it is a growing International company that sells furniture almost all over the world, with headquarters in the US, the UK and Germany. I knew it will be a great start of my future career.
I applied for two positions before my final Exams. I did not have to wait long for them to get in touch with me. The recruitment process was very straightforward. The First step was a phone interview with the recruiter, which was followed by an onsite interview with the department managers. I also had a Skype interview with the head of European Operations.
The Data integration and Compliance Analyst position appealed to me because I knew I would be using both my oral and written German on a daily basis whilst learning German business terminology. I also knew I would gain many new skills such as: understanding and analyzing raw data, learning about EDIFACT and EDI, training colleagues, process improvement and project management.
My biggest challenge so far was to become more confident in speaking with German suppliers. At the beginning it was very difficult for me to pick up the phone and call German supplier spontaneously. I had to prepare exactly what questions to ask and to think about possible answers. The biggest fear I had was that I would not be able to understand what the person on the other side of the phone was saying and what questions they were asking. I soon realized that most people were happy to speak to someone who was trying their best to communicate in their own language with them and were very forgiving of any mistakes I made.
My advice to other students and graduates regarding learning languages and the opportunities they present would be this: imagine how many conversations you can have with different people speaking one language. Now triple that. I believe that one of the most important things about learning a language is to not be afraid to speak it. Neither English nor German is my native language but living in Ireland and Germany has perfected both. What I found from my experience is that it does not matter if your grammar is perfect, so long as other people can understand you. Through communication you will learn a lot about the language and the culture.
Also give it a bit of time. Rome was not built in a day. Going abroad and living in an environment where the language is spoken day to day had a huge impact on my fluency, but actually working internationally with German speakers across Europe in an office setting has honed not only my spoken grasp of the language (and various dialects) but my reading comprehension and writing as well.
I am happy in my position with Wayfair. I learn something new every day. In the near future I would like to move to Germany, and I can do it with Wayfair as our German headquarters are based in Berlin.