In these past two weeks abroad, I have had the opportunity to participate in so many cool experiences. It has been a bit of a challenge adjusting to the German lifestyle, but an enjoyable change nonetheless. I arrived in Germany a few days before the internship program began with one of my best friends (she is also a member of the program). I wanted to reconnect with my exchange student from high school, so he and his family hosted us for the weekend! He lives in a small town called Kindsbach, where I lived with his family for a summer month during my junior year of high school. During the weekend we were able to explore Kaiserslautern, Heidelberg, and Frankfurt. Being able to travel and get used to the German transportation, along with brushing up my German language skills with my exchange student, really allowed for an easier transition into the country.
Once we arrived in Berlin, we got to meet everyone else taking part in the program. I immediately made some amazing connections, and we all had fun exploring historical sites, museums, and the city itself during our first week together. As we were really encouraged to immerse ourselves in the German culture, I was able to pick up on some obvious differences in lifestyles. In Germany, one can rarely use their credit card to pay as Germans prefer paying with cash, at times one may also have to pay to use a public restroom, and the water is remarkably expensive and there are no free refills at restaurants (I honestly do not understand how people stay hydrated here at times). However, Germany does have a very efficient transportation system that allows for an easy commute to and from work, and everyone seems to speak more than one language as I find most Germans speak at least some English. I think it is interesting how the city itself has a large diversity of cultures, and the common form of communication is English. Unfortunately, this does not help me improve my German conversation skills as it is easier to just speak English in most situations.
This past week I finally started my internship with Sirius Facilities. I was immediately welcomed and felt very involved among the workplace. My supervisor has been extremely helpful and has already entrusted me with some projects involving financial statement valuations and reconciliations. I have been placed on the finance team of 8 women, which also makes for a fun, lively workday. When I entered the office the first day I was surprised by how open the layout of the German office was as they try to enforce a collaborative environment. I have witnessed how this atmosphere allows employees to bounce ideas off each other and ultimately become more efficient as a company. Sirius has around 80 employees at their Berlin office, which means communication is very important for their successful business operations. It has also been interesting to see what language the employees speak, depending on the situation. Most of the employees are German, however the head of the Finance team (my supervisor) is Irish and does not speak any German. This creates an environment where concerns and new ideas are brought up in English, and the side conversations among other employees are conducted in German. So, half the day I know exactly what is going on in the company, and the other half of the day I am lost and confused.
So far I have had a great time adjusting to the work life in Germany, and am really excited to see what other projects I will become a part of as Sirius gets busier with their year-end financial statements and upcoming budgets and projections!
That’s all for now!