(Jasmin Sieber)

I had the opportunity to do my intership at Webasto Rochester Hills, MI from 4th July until 29th July. Rochester Hills is a suburban town, which is located 34 miles northward of Detroit. The Webasto plant in Rochester Hills produces convertible roof systems as well as sliding and panorama roofs for cars.

On my first day I got my key card, a reflective vest, safety goggles and a desk was assigned to me. But before I started working, the plant with its different stages of production and the warehouse were shown to me. While walking through the plant I was introduced to more than a hundred colleagues!
I worked at the service department which deals with customers, paying information, orders and shipping. My task was to create a Master Service sheet with general information, description, special parts and shipping information for each and every part currently getting shipped to GM, Chrysler or Ford. I started with Ford and began to insert the different numbers into a previously created form. I learned in which database I had to look for which part and where to search for engineering, production and customer numbers. After two days I got a day off to visit the Henry Ford Rouge Factory Tour which was very interesting as it was possible to go into the Ford plant and watch the entire process of building a car. In the museum movies were shown about Henry Ford and his vision of an automobile which many middle class Americans could afford to buy and how his visions became true. I’m really glad I went to the tour as it was one of the most interesting museums I ever visited.
I got back to work the next day and wanted to take photos of each different part for the Service sheets but I had to search for the B.O.M. first which holds the entire product information special details about the shipping.
Getting the B.O.M. was much easier than getting the engineering numbers as I only had to search in one database for it. But it still took quite a long time.

After I’d got all the B.O.M.s I could finally start taking pictures. Each time a part I hadn’t already pictures taken of was built, Arman came to take me through the plant to the required part. He always helped me if I had to take pictures of a special part not getting produced at that time. Sometimes we searched at the shipping area, the two warehouses and even on the line until we found the missing part. After taking the pictures I had to insert them in my Service Sheets and add all the required information about special screws or shipping information.
However work was quite interesting as I liked my project, the colleagues and the working environment.

My internship did not only consist of work, of course. Within the first few days I visited Downtown Detroit. During the drive on the highway I saw quite a lot of old industry parks.

The decay of Detroit is visible on every corner in Downtown. The majority of buildings is abandoned and moving along these buildings you’re feeling some kind of hopelessness and I understood why Detroit’s population decreased from 2.5 million to 750,000 inhabitants. It’s definitively no place where you want to raise your children or live longer than necessary. Some buildings like the Renaissance center, which is the headquarters of General Motors, are still in excellent condition so. While walking at the riverfront I saw the Ambassador Bridge which connects Detroit with Windsor, Ontario.

During the conversations with my colleagues they recommended to go up north to Traverse City.
When the next weekend came I travelled to the upper peninsula.
I arrived in the evening and went to the lake first, afterwards to Downtown Traverse City, which is a very nice place to stay for holidays. On the next day I fared to the Sleeping Bear Dunes. They are called like this because a legend says that once a bear with its two whelps swam from the West to the East coast of Lake Michigan. Tragically the young animals died on their way and their mother has been looking back to them since. The bear mother is symbolised by the dunes and her children by two islands in front of the coast.
The dunes are 160 meters high and nearly two miles long.
Lake Michigan is definitively more like the Sea, anyway it is 120 times the size of the “Bodensee”. No salt, no sharks, no worries is the slogan of Lake Michigan and it’s fitting perfectly. But the water was quite cold at fifteen degrees.

Michigan is known as the area of the great lakes. Normally it’s possible to see the other coast side if speaking of a lake which is not the case at Lake Michigan. The lake is like the ocean leading to the infinite. I had a great time at Lake Michigan. I went back to work on monday and proceeded my work until friday afternoon.

The next weekend I was to travel to Canada to visit Toronto and the Niagara Falls.
The skyscrapers were tall enough to prevent the navigation system of getting any signals in Toronto! In the evening I could finally start exploring Toronto. On my way to the riverfront I walked along the Yonge Street, which is the most famous street of Toronto and through the financial district with its imposing buildings. It’s not possible to compare Detroit to Toronto, nevertheless if you choose to compare them you will find a difference in the people. Toronto is full of them whereas Detroit is mostly abandoned.
On our tour back we passed the CN-Tower which is quite impressing at night as its colour changes from blue to green to red every minute.

On the next morning I fared to the Niagara Falls. The American falls are smaller and in my opinion not half as eye-catching as the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. It has always been one of my deepest wishes to see the Niagara Falls with my own eyes. It blow me away and I’m pretty sure that not many things will ever outrank these waterfalls. It’s unbelievable that 168,000 cubic meters of water go over the crestline every minute.

I doubt that I will ever forget this experience and how impressed I was by it.
During the next week I was taken to a really cool ice cream place for lunch by some of my colleagues and the caramel sundae was especially tasty. Before I left the plant my boss Mr. Wilder organised a farewell lunch for me. All my colleagues came and we had a great time eating pizza, salad and my farewell cake. They also gave me a hoodie, which was created by my boss with the shape of the state of Michigan, the Webasto logo and my name on it. I only worked there for three weeks but it felt like a much longer time to me when I left.

In the end my internship at Webasto, Rochester Hills was a great success, I met nice people with whom I’m still keeping in touch and I enjoyed working there. I also travelled a lot during the weekends to places I had always wanted to visit before.