Stefanie Garises

Bank Julius Baer and Co. Ltd., Department of Human Resources
Bachelor student in Computer Science, Namibia University of Science and Technology
February 1 to April 30, 2018

Im Moment nur in Englisch verfügbar.

At Work

Julius Baer Academy (JBA) is an amazing team of which to be a member. It is like a professional family. I never ate lunch alone and they were always available for me to ask any questions that I wanted to ask.

I acquired new technical skills as well as new soft skills during my time with the team. I learned how to set SMART goals, create a web-based training course from scratch with Articulate Storyline 3, publish a course using SAP’s Learning Management System, and I learned how to manage a Learning Development project from the introduction to the conclusion.

I also participated in a number of “Lunch and Learn” meetings, within which I acquired much of my new soft skills. These were meetings organised and attended by academy members. Some of the new tools I obtained are ways to give useful and constructive feedback, ways to influence change in behaviour without attacking beliefs, and finding ways to ask precise questions or identifying the real problem in situations.

Last, but not least:my team taught me a bunch of cool-sounding words that I doubt I could ever forget, like Chuchichäschtli.

My Swiss host family

The Aschwanden family is great. Each person has a special character and we all got along well enough. My host mother, Astrid, is medical superstar in my eyes. She always knew what tea or ointment I needed for any ailment that I had. She also has a well of knowledge to share and, thus, I learned a lot from our conversations.

My host father, Alois, is a sweet person who loves his sweets. I was surprised to discover that he used to be a pastry chef and I enjoyed every pastry goody he baked for us. He also consumed the most chocolate within the house. My host brother, Leon, is a talented ball of energy and he is very passionate about history. I believe that he is going to be an incredible actor someday soon. My host sister, Miya, is like a super woman. She’s a synchronised swimmer, a jazz dancer, a linguist and a master of sarcasm. I had the unique opportunity to get to know these wonderful people and their experiences, and share my hopes and dreams with them.

Highlights and challenges in Switzerland

The biggest highlight for me was going to the Jakobshorn mountain in Davos. I had never seen anything like it. There mountains covered in soft blankets of snow all around me. I know the snow was soft because I fell, face-first, into it. That was fun and incredibly beautiful.

I did a lot of things for the first time in Switzerland. I went sledging for the first time in Sedrun, I attended a huge festival for the first time in Zurich (Sechseläuten), I visited the transport museum in Lucerne for the first time which was an insane amount overload of fun, and I seriously questioned my future plans for the first time.

The biggest challenge for me was adjusting to the seemingly introverted nature of people in and around Zurich. I am so accustomed to a generally outgoing, extroverted and easily sociable population, as this is the case in Namibia. I felt strange because I did not have as many interactions as I would when I am in Namibia. I got around this by interacting more with the people I know in and around Zurich, and also by travelling. I noticed that this is not the case all over Switzerland when I travelled to Lugano and Geneva. These places all have completely different atmospheres and people behave quite differently in all of them.

The second biggest challenge was the number of smokers in Switzerland. I was overwhelmed by this in my first few weeks. This is just something I was not used to and did not appreciate. I noticed it a lot less over time, so I guess it is something I could get used to.

Another challenge was that I had to adjust to a rather quiet household. Everyone kind of has their own routine. This is somewhat similar to my home, but I am used to interacting a lot more with my housemates and being able to make a certain amount of noise every now and then. I just felt a little restricted. Although, it is worth noting that I am more hyperactive than most people and I tend to express myself quite loudly. So maybe I just need my own space (hehe).

My future plans

My short term future plans have changed throughout my time here in Switzerland. I never thought I wanted to travel so much until I came and became an explorer here. I am now more curious, about what the world has to offer, than ever before.

Before I came here, my plan was to go straight into my next degree and continue learning. I still plan to do this eventually, but right now I just want to apply the knowledge I already have. I had forgotten how many cool things I learned, because I was so focused on learning the next cool skill. I really enjoyed being a useful resource for my team and simply working.

My new plan is to work in different environments over the course of the next year, in order to find the right fit for me. The bank is amazing and I really enjoyed working in my team, but I need to explore different, more creative environments before I decide exactly where I want to work. Thereafter, I will continue my studies and enrol in Masters course with a special focus on Data Science and Business Analytics, as that is where my interests lie.

Once I have gained more experience and further sharpened my data ninja skills, I will start my consultancy firm with a focus on empowering start-ups with their own data to ensure their survival, as I believe this is one of the solutions to Namibia’s economic issues. I am passionate about this, because it tackles so many issues in one go and I would like to create a better tomorrow for my country.

This is only one of my goals. I will continue to facilitate trainings to introduce youth to programming as this will give them more opportunities in the near future

Personal message

I would like to thank the B360 team from the bottom of the deep well of gratitude in my heart, for this life-changing opportunity. I experienced a lot of change on a personal level. I realised that people sometimes perceive my actions differently than what I intended. I am more aware of my surroundings and effects of my actions. I honestly didn’t know what to expect when I was granted this unique opportunity, but I know now that it would have surpassed any of my expectations. I feel like I can take on any challenge after this, as my train of thought has changed almost completely.

I would also like to thank the host families, mentors and volunteers involved this program. It was mind-blowing the level of trust and care that I have enjoyed from those with whom I have interacted. The entire experience is something that I am certain I will never forget…and I’m pretty forgetful.
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