Lauren Loftus
Riedel-Cutler Scholar
Management Experience at the Owens Corning Chambéry International, Chambéry, France.

"I had been to France twice before with high school groups and knew I wanted to go back someday, so I applied for an internship and was actually able to go work at the facility in Chambéry for the summer. This was not an unusual arrangement — after reviewing my chemistry and French experience, they decided to accept my request and Alain Raminosona, Material Characterization leader, was willing to work with me."

"In addition to reinforcing my science and chemistry skills this summer, I also learned a lot about working in an industrial setting, and also within a global company… It’s obvious that different groups of people and countries have different cultures than we do, but it was not so obvious to me that their work culture would be so different as well."

"Surprisingly, I found the children of the employees that I stayed with the easiest to talk to, even though they knew the least English. I didn’t care if I messed up my French talking to them, and they didn’t mind either. For the most part, they wanted to learn some English from me, so it was fun to have them ask me how to say certain words or things. And despite the language barrier, I always had a good time with them and they always made me feel welcome in their homes. It was really very rewarding to get to experience their culture with them, and it was amazing to see firsthand how many things can transcend language barriers if you have an open mind. It was also rewarding to learn that because of my internship, the HR team in Chambéry is brainstorming ideas with the global headquarters about how to start a type of exchange program with the children of employees, not for work purposes, but just to share cultures and have some fun vacations."

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