Water cooler discussions around Greg Yeutter’s office are decidedly multicultural. The electrical engineering junior is one of the hundreds of Drexel University students gaining global professional experience through international co-op.
Yeutter, who has lived in Germany since last September while studying at the Munich University of Applied Sciences, is now working on a co-op in Berlin with cloudControl, a German cloud computing company.
He said his proficiency in German gives him an advantage at work, as does his English.
“Some of the international coworkers do not speak German, so it really depends on which room you're in and who you're talking to about what,” Yeutter said. “I would say that a lot of the meetings get done in English because it's one of the languages that everyone understands. However, things do get done in German.”
The office’s small staff of approximately 25 is split almost evenly between Germans and international coworkers from Switzerland, Greece, Croatia, Poland and Sweden, Yeutter said. Until recently, Yeutter was the only employee from the United States.
“The opportunity to work in an international space is good because I can see how other people work and what the culture surrounding work is in a different place,” Yeutter said. “I think business and life in general is becoming more international, and I think people need to understand how people work in other places, and how culture ties into business.”
He said the office culture in Berlin is similar to what he’s experienced in America, but there are some differences. For instance, he sometimes takes breaks by playing foosball (they call it kicker) or having tea on the balcony.
Though his focus in school is electrical engineering, Yeutter chose to work with the business development and marketing team at cloudControl.
“I wanted to learn a little bit more about the other side of the tech industry—like the management and the entrepreneurship side—and this is a company that's changing its business model to go for more of an enterprise solution,” he said.
Yeutter lived in an international dorm in Munich but now lives in a 100-year-old house in East Berlin, where he’s close to a busy area of clubs and hangout spots.
“Berlin is a place where a lot of international people come to work,” he said. “I think it’s because there are jobs available in smaller companies here and it's actually one of the cheapest cities to live in Europe. Plus it has the benefits of a big city.”
Living, studying and working in Europe has opened many doors for Yeutter to travel. He presented research on the influence of lighting patterns on elderly patients with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia at the 2013 International Cultural and Academic Meeting of Engineering Students Conference in Istanbul. And his project with product design student Alexa Forney on wind power solutions in urban settings was named one of the Top 25 teams in Schneider Electric’s Go Green in the City design challenge, which allowed Yeutter to travel to Paris to compete to win a trip around the world.
Yeutter said he has not only made great friends while abroad, but also several business connections.
“I've built a lot of good relationships here that are even helping me out with things back in the United States,” he said. “You never realize how many people you meet who can help you.”