Ten weeks in Italy in the summer! For tourists, it would be a fabulous mix of sunshine, beach life and latte macchiato, but what would it be like for me? I didn't know what to expect when I headed off to spend the hottest part of the year, from June to September, in Bologna to provide technical and interpreting support for the installation of a German printing press, but it was bound to be exciting!
Things never go exactly as planned, so I wasn't surprised when I discovered right at the start that construction of the building designed to house the printing press was delayed. Despite this, our client moved heaven and earth to stick to the tight schedule. This meant that even five weeks after we started the installation, my colleagues and I were still working on three levels at the same time, with lights being mounted on the ceiling, the printing press taking shape in the middle and the floor being painted underneath us. And in the middle of all this, my interpreting skills were constantly being put to the test.
Sometimes this would involve me translating the menu for my colleagues (after a few funny surprises at the first meals!). Other times it would be a translation of something more official, like the speech for the topping-out ceremony. And in my second week there I ended up spending several days at various police stations and government offices getting hold of the required documents and permits for a heavy load. On its way to the site, it had missed the exit because of roadworks on the motorway and had subsequently been unceremoniously immobilised by the Italian police… To cap it all, this was all taking place in the most unbelievable heatwave, which was too much even for our Italian hosts.
But, whatever the weather, I have been finding the whole experience immensely enjoyable. The conditions arranged by intelliJOB are absolutely fantastic and the flexibility I have in planning my assignments has made it easy to balance my work and family life.
By now, even the security guard at the gate has discovered that there is a German person working in the plant who speaks Italian, and he merrily calls me up every time something "German" wants to enter the plant, even if it is just advertising leaflets for the secretary's office! The client here has now decided to order another, identical printing press, so I think I can confidently say that I'll be coming back to Bologna!
Why not follow in Thomas's footsteps? You too could be spending a few months getting to know new countries and different people while earning an excellent salary. Check out some of the interesting job postings available at intelliJOB.