Thanks to the International Club I feel at home!
Jaikar joined ZEISS in 2013 as a trainee on the Global Graduate Program. “At that time there were only two international colleagues on my entire floor. Now there are nine.” This helps him feel at home in the Ostalb region around Oberkochen and shows that ZEISS is becoming increasingly international.
Jaikar already had a strong connection to ZEISS – and consequently to Germany – when he came here for the first time in 2005. The ZEISS brand had always been a part of his everyday life: "I've worn eyeglasses with ZEISS lenses for a long time, I used to live across from the Carl Zeiss India Office and my first smartphone had ZEISS optics."
After completing his studies in Sweden – where the temperature rarely rises above 20 degrees in the summer – Jaikar is thankful for the comparatively warm summer months in Germany: "I prefer to spend my free time outdoors and take advantage of the warm days in the Ostalb region. I have plenty of opportunities to enjoy the nature here."
The Ostalb: a great work-life balance in an economic powerhouse
This is exactly what is important to Jaikar. Jaikar describes the area as diverse and a good place to live: "We have a lot of great things in one location – the industrial diversity of one of Germany's economic powerhouses, close proximity to big cities and beautiful natural surroundings." Jaikar has the work-life balance on his doorstep. He regularly pursues his favorite hobby: hiking. "It's easy for me to unwind because the region isn't as densely populated as a big city – I enjoy the peace and quiet," says Jaikar, who grew up in Bangalore, India.
German culture: the challenges facing a foreigner
Jaikar hat studied electrical engineering and works as a product manager. During his time as a trainee he got to know different departments at ZEISS, including Regulatory Affairs and Research and Development in Oberkochen along with Sales and Service in Dublin (USA). These positions taught him a lot about different subject areas and how to work as a part of an international team.
He's very impressed with how well the German economy is doing and how smoothly the healthcare system works. He also shares what he thinks of German culture and day-to-day life here. In his opinion, the special features of the local culture also present certain challenges: "As I see it, the extensive German bureaucracy means a lot of time, effort and stress."
Friendship and support through the International Club
Jaikar has benefited from the ZEISS International Club, which is open to all foreign employees at the Aalen and Oberkochen sites. Through the International Club he's made a lot of good friends from abroad who are living in the Ostalb region. They help each other out and offer assistance when an international colleague has to deal with the authorities or fill out documents. Jaikar explains: "I received a lot of useful tips, which really made my start in the region a lot simpler and made it easier for me to get to grips with the local culture."
The International Club was started a few years ago by ZEISS employees and now has nearly 180 members. Each month about two new members join. They organize regular events which bring colleagues together outside of work. There's something for everyone, including excursions to the ZEISS mountain chalet, cooking and sporting events, a visit to the Christmas market or a trip to the movies.
The Club is a member of the regional International Club East Württemberg. Together they aim to help foreign colleagues feel at home in East Württemberg. Thanks to their success in Oberkochen, an International Club in Jena has since been founded and is also going strong.
Off to a good start in the Ostalb region
“My colleagues were very supportive when I started working here. "I did miss my own culture – the people, the Indian celebrations and the food. I can't completely replace these, of course, but I've found alternatives here in the Ostalb."
"I know what it's like to be a newcomer from abroad in this region. I think it's important that I share my experiences with other new arrivals and motivate them not be discouraged by what is foreign and new." He makes it clear that he likes participating in the International Club and points to the comprehensive support it offers: "An international colleague starting at ZEISS is in good hands."
Product Manager for Microsurgery
My favorite place in the region
I just love spending time near Lorch on the Schelmenklinge and Schillergrotte hiking trails. The area never ceases to impress me, and I just love going hiking here.