Secondment Experience by Rebekka Van Wickern
Rebekka Van Wickern, is employed at PKF Fasselt Schlage in Germany. She has held the role of Associate for the last two and half years. Rebekka currently embarked on an exciting secondment opportunity, as a Global Exchange Employee/Associate, to PKF Mueller in Chicago as part of PKF GO . Rebekka has shared her story on why it was important for her to seize the PKF GO opportunity and to expand her horizons.
I first became interested in PKF GO, PKF’s secondment program, when I was introduced by Kai Schoeneberger to Dave Nissen (Managing Partner at PKF Mueller) at the Global Gathering in Cape Town in 2018. Dave told me about his secondment experience and that’s when I knew I wanted to undergo a secondment to PKF Mueller for three months!
I chose the US for my experience as the US economy has a huge impact on Germany and since I was already participating in a US / German Collaboration Group, it made sense to explore this option and get to know much more about PKF across the globe.
I didn’t have to undertake any additional learning – my skills were transferable. Although I would say language skills are very important. I speak English as well as German, and that has helped me immensely to communicate with my new colleagues and friends.
My biggest achievement
I wanted to get to know as much of PKF Mueller as possible and to find out more about the differences in the two cultures. Since I work in three departments in Germany (accounting services, tax and audit) I am happy I got to switch between these departments within PKF Mueller. I was able to compare the work they do and then take my new experiences back to PKF Fasselt Schlage which has been helpful.
I have learned so much about myself
I have previously been an exchange student, so I knew I already liked the area and had some friends nearby. Since starting my secondment I’ve made lots of new friends, not once did I feel lonely as they always keep me so busy! I regularly went to baseball games, evenings out with my team to see the Chicago sights and not to mention kayaked on the Chicago River. I feel very grateful and privileged to have this opportunity.
I’ve learned to be bold and curious. I’m not afraid to ask questions or to worry that I don’t know answers to all questions. Being brave is key-ask a lot of questions! This not only helped me learn, it also helped my language skills too.
I would recommend a PKF GO Secondment to anyone who can try it, as I’ve found the experience to be very well organized and fulfilling. I’ve really enjoyed attending meetings and getting to know my colleagues and new people. I thought the experience would be good, but not this good!
“It’s a great work experience that I will never forget!”