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Internship for Mechanical Engineering at EDAG Engineering, Germany- An Interview with Chew Chee Yau

Chee Yau posing next to the EDAG signage where he did his internship for his Mechanical Engineering course.

Source: Chew Chee Yau

Chew Chee Yau is a Malaysian student studying Mechanical Engineering at the Technical University of Munich. He is currently in his 5th semester and has just completed his internship at EDAG Germany, one of the world’s largest development partners in the automotive and aviation industry.

We are so glad to have interviewed Chee Yau to learn more about his experience interning at EDAG engineering. Here are his stories.

Which department were you working at and how long was your internship?

I was an intern at the exterior vehicle component testing department of EDAG engineering. My internship lasted for almost 6 months, starting from September 2021 to February 2022.

How did you come across this internship opportunity?

While I was living in Munich, I noticed many prototype camouflaged cars were going in and out of a few companies that were not owned by BMW and so being intrigued, I just went on the Internet to find out more. Fortunately, my workplace during my internship is very close to the place I stay.

EDAG Germany

Source: Chew Chee Yau

What were the major tasks during your internship? What was your day-to-day work like?

After the one month of training I was in charge of most of the buckling resistance and denting tests that were carried out. I was trained in setting up the machine, building supporting structures for the vehicle components and documentation in the form of reports.

My usual day at work starts at 7:00am, as I check our calendar for the scheduled tests for the day and discuss with my mentor on how the tests should be carried out. After that we get down to work with tensile stress tests, fatigue testing or functional tests depending on the project at hand. Our break at lunchtime is flexible and varies some days but is usually taken at 11am.

The work carries on from there till 3:30 pm before I clock out and head up. I would say one of the enjoyable things about the internship is that despite being at one department, there’s always something different and sometimes even new to do everyday, which makes the job more interesting.

Were there any particular experiences that stood out during your internship?

I think the most interesting part of the internship was when I was sent to assist with an outdoor test on a test track. I rode along in a prototype vehicle with a technician from EDAG and an engineer from the client company.

Fortunately, I was able to talk to the engineer and learned about the development processes that cars go through before they are confirmed for production. During the tests I witnessed the sounds of screeching tyres and roaring engines as some cars were tested on the high-speed track and skid pad. It was quite a sight to behold.

Were there any challenges being in the real working world? Was language a barrier to you?

I think I was initially taken aback by how often I had to learn on the go, I would often have to carry out tasks that were new to me without much experience or information prior, as time passed, I soon learned about who to ask as well as where to get the needed information. Through all this I understood how important it is to be adaptable in new situations.

The internship can be quite physical sometimes, requiring me to lift heavy objects, assemble or disassemble supporting structures for the test subjects, which would cause me to be exhausted at the end of the day, but that does not happen too often.

Language was also one of my biggest challenges in working as my colleagues sometimes spoke with a heavy Bavarian accent, which I found hard to understand. Fortunately, they realised it and tried speaking more standard German with me.

Chee Yau with his colleague at EDAG

Source: Chew Chee Yau

How different is working/internship compared to studying?

I think that there is a greater sense of responsibility when it comes to working, knowing that your actions can have huge effects on something makes you feel like the work you do matters to someone else.

At the same time, I feel that you have to be much more active to learn new things while doing the internship because unlike the university there is no fixed syllabus, and thus you must be more active to observe and ask about things you do not understand to learn about them.

Furthermore, communication plays a bigger role when it comes to working compared to studying because most work is carried out in projects, which involve many people and to be able to communicate well with others helps get the work done efficiently and builds good lasting working relationships.

Were you able to make use of everything you have studied in your internship?

Yes, a big part of testing is figuring out how and why things fail, to do that a good understanding of static and dynamic forces, material sciences in different temperature and humidity as well as CAD software played a big part. Fortunately, they were all courses that I took from prior semesters.

Overall, how did you find this internship?

It was a very eye-opening experience. I learned a lot about the vigorous testing that goes through every component that build into a modern-day car, tests ranging from simulated fatigue testing, where sections of a car are placed in a vibrating platform for hours or weeks to simulate wear and tear, to climate testing, where components are placed in climate chambers that simulates from temperature as low as -20°C to temperature as high as +80°C.

Apart from the flexible working hours I also enjoyed working together with the technicians and engineers, as they were nice and took their time to explain the various types of tests that were carried out. Due to the work involving prototypes from the clients, I was happy to be involved in the development of cars that will one day be on the road. Even though I was only an intern, I was treated just as any other employee at the company, I attended their virtual welcoming event for new employees, was given a welcome package just as the other employees and carried out tests by myself.

Germany is the world leader in the engineering industry. Students who are studying engineering in Germany will have the opportunity to find an internship or even full-time job in one of the world-leading German companies, such as Audi AG, BMW Group, Daimler, ContinentalThyssenkrupp, HAWE Hydraulik SE, and more. 

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