From Bremen to Šibenik: Interview with intern Tobias Kappus

1. September 2023

Tobias Kappus, an industrial engineering student from Bremen, has spent the last few months in Croatia. As an intern in technical management at wpd windmanager. In this interview, Tobias tells us why he chose Croatia, what exactly he did in Šibenik and how good his Croatian has become.

Tobias, how did you come up with the idea of doing your internship at wpd windmanager in Croatia? How did you hear about wpd windmanager?

The wpd Group is a well-known company when it comes to renewable energies. That’s why I was already familiar with the company beforehand. As I was specifically looking for an internship abroad at the time, wpd with its many locations was naturally very attractive to me.

My final contact came about as a result of a previous business relationship between my previous employer and a current colleague at wpd windmanager.

During our first meeting, we discussed which locations would be suitable for my internship and where my preferences lay. After a short time, Croatia emerged as my favorite. The overall package of tasks, the local team and the location were just right. In addition, my colleague Edin Ramic, who acts as Country Manager Croatia from Germany, was the ideal contact person for all questions and issues relating to Croatia.

How have your experiences been so far?

My time here in Croatia is slowly coming to an end and I only have positive things to say. When I arrived here on my own in April, everything was still new to me and I first had to find my feet in the new environment. But over time I have come to appreciate and like the people, the culture and the city.

The locals here are characterized by great hospitality and warmth, whether in their professional or private lives. My colleagues here in Croatia have made it really easy for me by welcoming and integrating me into their team. The team here is simply great, both personally and professionally!

I’ve been able to learn a lot in the last few months and take a lot with me personally, and I’ve also managed to build up a large circle of friends here in my private life. So all in all, I will be leaving here at the end of August with a smile on my face, but also a tear in my eye, and will definitely be coming back next summer.

What are your areas of responsibility? What does a typical working day look like for you?

I can’t describe a „typical working day“, as the work is very varied and diverse. At the beginning of my time, when the climate was still a bit cooler, we spent most of our time in the wind farms. There, we carried out the semi-annual visual inspections of the various turbines and accompanied maintenance work on transformer stations as well as a variety of measurements and tests. On the office days, I gained my first insights into working with rotorsoft and SCADA systems, prepared reports on our inspections and learned how daily production planning is carried out.

Currently, in the last few weeks of my internship, I am focusing on working on my accompanying project, which is about yield security in wind energy production in relation to continuous monitoring. My colleagues provide me with the best possible support on all topics and issues that arise, which is very helpful for me.

What were or are the biggest challenges for you?

Here I would differentiate between organizational and personal. Organizationally, the biggest challenges beforehand were finding accommodation during the peak season in Croatia and obtaining the certificate for the medical work examination here on site, as I didn’t have a certificate from Germany at the time. However, everything was sorted out over time.

Personally, the biggest challenge as a newcomer to Šibenik with zero knowledge of Croatian was to quickly build up a small network, make new friends and find a new routine.

What is the best or most extraordinary experience you had during your internship?

I would have to choose my first ascent into the nacelle of a wind turbine. The feeling of standing on the roof of the nacelle at a height of a good 100 m, feeling the wind and seeing the landscape around you from a new perspective was really extraordinary and worth experiencing.

Language skills: Have you already learned a bit of Croatian? Which Croatian words do you use most? And what is your favorite Croatian word?

Yes, I have learned a little Croatian to be able to communicate in everyday situations or to make small talk, e.g. at the market, at the bakery or in a bar. That way you get to know people better and feel more like a local. People here really appreciate it when you try to speak the language a little. Of course, you pick up words over time.

What is used again and again:

Dobar dan = good day

Bok = Hi/goodbye

Hvala = thank you

Dobro = good

Može = I’m fine/Will do.

Kako si? = How are you?

Vidimos = See you soon.

My favorite word: Pomalo

Pomalo describes the Croatian way of life and means something like „take it easy“ or „no stress“. People here don’t rush through life, but consciously take time to enjoy it.

You live in Šibenik, don’t you? Did you have the opportunity to see a bit of Croatia and travel around a bit?

Exactly, I live here in Šibenik. As I arrived in Croatia a month before the start of my internship, I had the opportunity to explore the area around Šibenik and the city itself and was out and about a lot. By the end of my time here, I had seen almost all the major cities such as Zagreb, Split, Zadar and Dubrovnik. Due to the work in the wind farms, which are spread all over Dalmatia, I was also able to get to know some places that are not so easy to get to.

What are your future plans after the internship?

The plan now is to finish my Bachelor’s degree and gain further professional experience on the side. I would then like to complete a Master’s degree. This will then most likely be more in the direction of business administration and management, as I see myself more in a managerial role dealing with people in the long term, rather than in a technical role.

What is the difference between working in Croatia and in Germany? Have you noticed any differences?

One difference compared to Germany is that Croatians prefer to start work early in the morning so that they can enjoy the warm midday hours earlier. In addition, the lunch break, during which people in Germany usually eat something, is more of a coffee break here, during which people often go to one of the many „caffe bars“ together. Coffee is generally very important in Croatia. Coffee breaks in Croatia are like meetings where people discuss work and life and are very important to the locals.

Otherwise, there are fewer differences in everyday working life. The actual work content is carried out just as conscientiously and using the latest technology as we are used to in Germany.

What do you do in your free time? Do you have a special hobby?

After work, you can usually find me on one of the many beaches or reading in a café. In the evenings, I regularly go to Crossfit and yoga classes.

At the weekends, especially in the summer season, there are a variety of events and festivals in and around Šibenik, which are always worth a visit, and there is no shortage of good destinations for a hike or bike ride. You definitely won’t get bored.

What exactly are you studying and where?

I’m currently studying for my Bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering with a focus on energy at Bremen University of Applied Sciences, which I expect to finish next summer.

Finally, what should everyone know about you or what do many colleagues not yet know about you?

I am a very open-minded person and try to see and experience as much as possible in my free time, whereby I am very active in sports and am always up for spontaneous short vacations. In general, it is important for me to combine my personal values with my professional activities and thus see a greater purpose in my work. This led to my decision to actively contribute to the fight against the impending climate catastrophe in the field of renewable energies.

My colleagues should know that I am a very positive but also calm person who always tries to keep a cool head even in situations that don’t go according to plan.




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