For many engineering graduates, the most memorable part of their degree is the time spent applying their skills through co-op work term placements. For mechanical engineering student Georg Tuchlinski who travelled to Munich, Germany to work for BMW this past fall, the memories will last a lifetime.

Working for the coveted car company was a long time dream of German born Tuchlinski, who is fluent in the language. But getting the job meant getting over the low salary.

“You don’t work in Europe for the money,” says Tuchlinski, “you go for the experience.”

In Germany, apprenticing an engineer is considered a great privilege, and many students there do it for little or no money. But there are many other incentives.

“They let students drive the cars, because they know we love that,” he explains. “I was in a 275 horsepower 1 Series BMW on the second week on the job.”

He also snagged one of the few available spots in BMW staff accommodations, where he could walk to work and not pay more than his monthly wage for rent, as he would have if he had lived elsewhere in the urban centre.

Tuchlinski also loved the work place mentality: “My boss just said, show up sometime in the morning and leave in the afternoon. There was a lot of flexibility.” That, and there was great food and, of course, good beer.

Perks aside, the work was challenging and well worth the trip. Tuchlinski’s main task was to assist with vibration tests done on inline 6 Otto-cycle engines to ensure that they would provide the quietest possible ride. “It was awesome because other people aren’t going to see these designs for years,” says Tuchlinski.

Now Tuchlinski has an impressive name on his résumé that he’s sure will pay off in the long run. “Not many people can say they’ve worked at BMW. I’m sure this is going to help me next time I’m looking for a job. It was a really, really great experience all around.”