Alejandro, you were essentially discovered by Porsche. How did that happen?
I took part in the Formula Student with a team from my university in Barcelona. Among other things, we designed a driverless electric car and were quite successful with it. At the competition on the Hockenheimring, an employee from Weissach came to us and wanted to know if any of us spoke German. I was the only one, and he encouraged me to apply for an internship. And it worked out.
Could you have anticipated that when you started your studies in mechanical engineering?
No. I come from a family that loves racing. As a child I went to many Formula One races with my father. Becoming a driver was out of the question, but working in the automotive industry was a realistic possibility. Because the big manufacturers are based in Germany, it made sense to do a semester abroad at the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology. But Porsche was always like an unattainable dream.
But now your dream has come true. What was your first day like?
On the first day I felt a little lost. I wasn’t even familiar with the site because my interview had been by phone. My team leader wasn’t there, so another intern picked me up, and as luck would have it, he was a member of another Formula Student team. I was happy to know someone, and he showed me around a lot. My department also gave me a warm welcome right away.
What is special about being an intern at Porsche?
You’re a real member of the team here as an intern, you’re not just standing around at the copy machine. I attend meetings, and have been allowed to drive on the test course and also in the climatic wind tunnel. I’ve even been able to work on the Taycan. Porsche offers me the perfect combination of conventional automotive industry and motorsports: you’re building cars for the road as well as sports cars. In addition, the company organizes regular gatherings for all the interns, and we also meet a lot on our own to talk. We’re like a little family.
In your case, not only is the work new but also the country and the people. How different is it from your life in Spain?
Very different. I have some problems with the weather—even on warm days, the mornings feel really cold. And I miss the ocean. A lake is not the same thing. The rhythm of daily life is also very different. In Spain it would be unthinkable to start work at 6:30 in the morning. The lunch break is much shorter, and the food is different. Here people eat a lot of meat and sauces.
What do you like about Germany?
The people are open, and I feel welcomed. And I like käsespätzle (a cheesy noodle dish) and maultaschen (ravioli).
Spaniard Alejandro Sarró (23) started learning German in 2016. Just for fun, he says. At the time he didn’t know that he would be living in Germany and working for Porsche three years later.