Internship with insights
German Krieger is 21 years old and is in his 5th bachelor's semester studying chemical engineering / paint and coating at Esslingen University of Applied Sciences. Here he reports on his mandatory internship in the Construction Coatings department at Covestro in Leverkusen, Germany.
I've known Covestro for a while now, because during my apprenticeship as a coatings lab technician I often got in touch with Covestro products. Later on, during my studies, I got to know the company even better because they have a cooperation with my university (Hochschule Esslingen) and through that I had the opportunity to take part in an event. The speakers were very sympathetic and the presentations, especially with regard to Covestro's vision “to become fully circular” made a strong impression on me, in particular since I would not have thought that a chemical company could act so sustainably. In addition, exciting projects were presented that researchers are currently working on. In any case, these aspects contributed to the fact that I wanted to get my own impression of the company and complete my internship here. An attractive internship compensation also made it easy for me to afford an apartment for the six-month in Leverkusen. Therefore I`ve decided to move into a shared apartment with a fellow student who is also doing his internship at Covestro.
After starting the internship in September, I got my own project pretty quickly, investigating raw materials for coating formulations. My tasks in the project included, among other things, planning experiments, calculating formulations, preparing and applying coating materials, creating test specimens, measuring certain properties and, of course, interpreting the generated data, presenting it to other departments and writing a report. The multifaceted project always provided enough variety and challenges, which is why I never got bored.
What I found very pleasant during my internship was the collaboration with my colleagues, even across departments and locations. Everyone was very nice right from the start, integrated me into the team really well and was always ready to help. Covestro also hosts a community for all interns. In this community, interns from all areas meet voluntarily for a joint, informal exchange – either digitally or for a lunch on site. This is an absolutely amazing way to meet lots of new people.
One of my biggest highlights was definitely visiting K 2022, the world's largest plastics trade fair in Düsseldorf, which only takes place every three years. We received tickets from Covestro and were able to take a look at the huge booth including the stage program and learned a lot about Covestro`s product innovations.
In addition to the highlights, there was also a somewhat challenging phase when I started my project as the creation of polyurethane coating films initially proved to be rather difficult. I definitely had to exercise patience during this time as I must have spent 2-3 weeks repeatedly trying different experiments to solve the problem. With the ideas and experiences of my supervisors and other colleagues, however, it finally worked out and the project could be worked on well.
Last but not least, I would like to emphasize that occupational safety is very important at Covestro and many measures are introduced and implemented for this purpose. This is probably indispensable for such a large company, nevertheless I also noticed this very positively.