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Philip Koch's Secondment Life at Baker Tilly Spain

Philip Koch 17 March, 2023

We want to share the experience of Philip Koch during his secondment in Barcelona for two months.

You chose Spain for your secondment. Why did you choose Barcelona?

Well, I must say it could have been Bologna or Paris, but in the end, I've always really liked Spanish cuisine, culture, and people. Spaniards are just very open and communicative. This was very convenient for me, even though my Spanish skills are, unfortunately, still somewhat limited. I found it easy to communicate in English and, at the same time, I was able to learn new terms and expressions in Spanish in my daily life at the office. The weather in Barcelona is also very pleasant, and the combination of a vibrant city and relaxation on the beach (just 20 minutes away) is not found everywhere.

How has your experience been, and how did you find working with your team?

First of all, in Barcelona, I worked in commercial law/mergers and acquisitions, not in media law (IP/IT) as in Hamburg. As I had no knowledge of Spanish law until now, I primarily supported on international matters and, as a native German speaker, I was predestined to draft bilingual contracts. What excited me the most were the tasks where I was allowed to compare certain international standards with German law.

Regarding the team, they gave me a very warm welcome. Overall, the team is quite young, and everyone was very open with me. They also invited me to the usual tapas evenings after work and allowed me to test myself in Baker Tilly's internal "Padel" tournament, so I felt very comfortable.

What highlights would you emphasize from this experience? Do you encourage your colleagues to take advantage of these secondments?

Well, it was certainly new to me to work in an open office, meaning you have to book your seat in advance. In Germany, we mainly have fixed individual offices, and from a German perspective, the open office might not seem like a good way to concentrate, but I actually found it to be a good opportunity to exchange information with colleagues sitting next to me. It was also nice to be able to greet all colleagues in the morning without having to go through each office individually. And if there was too much noise, I could always resort to my noise-cancelling headphones.

Due to the size of the city, there is always something to do, whether it's a visit to Camp Nou stadium, a party at the old "El Monumental" bullring, or a walk through the famous "Park Güell" by Gaudí. Apart from work, I also realized that it's quite difficult to make friends in a foreign city with a certain language barrier. Fortunately, there were also many great opportunities to make contacts, such as sports groups or tandem language groups, and excursions to nearby places of interest.

Lastly, I recommend this experience to all colleagues who are also thinking about taking this opportunity; it's the best way to experience working life and an environment abroad firsthand.

E
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