October 2, 2023

Internship in Germany Calls for Language Skills and Love of Chocolate

USU student Collin Carter works with a machine at the Halloren Chocolate Factory USU student Collin Carter works with a machine at the Halloren Chocolate Factory in Halle, Germany during the summer of 2023.

By Andrea DeHaan, CHaSS Communications Editor

Utah State University student Collin Carter spent his summer in a German chocolate factory. Yes, he made custom candies for customers. Yes, he wore a slightly amusing hat — do hair nets count as hats? — but no, it wasn’t a golden ticket that got him there.

Carter heard about a presentation by Darren Ehlert, CEO and owner of the Halloren Chocolate Factory, who visited the Logan campus in September 2022. But in another magical turn of events, Carter didn’t even make it to Ehlert’s presentation due to a class conflict. Afterward, he heard about the summer internship at Halloren and thought, why not?

Carter is studying psychology and German and learned the language from his mother, who grew up in former East Germany, not far from where Halloren is based.

“There was so much English around,” said Carter who lived in several places but considers Chicago home, “it just made sense to sort of stick with one for a while, and then I sort of went back to it.”

Located in Halle, one of the largest cities in Sachsen-Anhalt, the Halloren Chocolate Factory’s internship is selective, but Carter made the cut and spent the summer working and living on the factory premises.

The 90-day summer program only accepts three students from all cooperating universities. USU pays for flights and organizes accommodations. Interns currently receive 1,500 euros in exchange for 10 weeks of work, followed by two weeks of vacation.

Carter and a roommate shared a small apartment above the factory itself and were given opportunities to work in the handcrafted chocolate section as well as the main store and chocolate museum. Carter described the internship as “flexible” with Halloren letting the students explore specific interests during their internships.

Carter spent most of his time fulfilling custom orders, writing “Herzlichen Glückwunsch” on birthday chocolates, for example, but also had opportunities to learn about the chocolate production process and navigate the machinery involved.

“Working at Halloren, Germany's oldest chocolate factory, is a hands-on experience that can provide valuable insights into international business practices and the food industry,” said Claudia Schwabe, USU professor of German.

“This partnership underscores the importance of global collaborations between universities and industry, enabling students to gain practical experience while contributing to the growth and success of the company.”

For his part, Carter says he spent considerable time helping fellow interns translate between German and English. German proficiency was not required for the internship, and Carter found that his language skills really helped him connect with patrons.

In fact, despite traveling to the Alps and connecting with family during his two weeks of vacation, Carter describes using his German as the best part of his experience.

“Just gaining proficiency with German was…the main thing,” he said. That, and all the chocolate that he got to eat.  

Hungry for more? Contact claudia.schwabe@usu.edu to learn about the Halloren internship program.


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