Back into another week of work. However, before discussing anything work-related, I just wanted to share a little bit about my past weekend, which proved to be an absolutely amazing time! Some friends and I decided to book a last minute bus to Wroclaw, Poland, an adorable city just about 4.5 hours away from Berlin. In order to save money on hotels, we decided to only do a day trip, leaving at 7 am Saturday morning and returning at 12:30 am Sunday morning, and attempting to sleep on the bus ride back. Although it rained almost all day, we had such a fun time exploring this colorful city, eating pierogies, searching for gnomes (there are 315 gnomes statues scattered throughout the city), meeting locals, and more! When we finally got back to Berlin, it was 5 in the morning! I ended up sleeping most of the day away, but ended my Sunday by going to a concert with one of the girls in my program! It was a small venue, so we pushed our way to the very front row and had such a great time!
Reality has sunk back in though as I have a full work week ahead of me. My supervisor called in sick for the entire week and the rest of the Marketing Department is either sick or on vacation so things have been pretty slow and a little lonely. However, this slow week has given me some time to reflect on the global/national environment affecting my company. One thing that has definitely surprised me about my time at Derdack, is that no one has ever mentioned anything political to me at all. When I was in Bavaria last summer for the Plus3 program, the first things one of the German students asked me was “who are you voting for,” so I was expecting my coworkers to be pretty blunt about this topic as well. Either this is a topic in which they do not feel comfortable discussing, or they really just have no interest in it.
As a private IT company, the national or global political environment really does not affect day-to-day operations, at least it does not appear that way to me. One of my main tasks at the company is to conduct competitor research, and all of Derdack’s competitors are actually headquartered either in the United States or Canada. From what it seems, Derdack is an anomaly in Europe and especially Germany, as similar products have not yet been developed here. Even so, Derdack prides itself on innovation and quality, and although their product may be revolutionary here in Europe, they are facing tough competition elsewhere. This is definitely a driving force behind many of the decisions they make as they must always be keeping up with changing technological trends and must be aware of their competitors’ next moves before they even make them. This is where I hope to help as I have been working on developing new models for them to analyze their competitors’ current strategies in order to predict what they will do in the future. With at least a general knowledge of how an IT company is run in the US (I interned in sales at an IT company last summer), I am hoping that this is something I can accomplish.
Well, I have a lot of exciting things coming up in the next weeks! This weekend, my friend Logan and I are traveling to Barcelona, and the weekend after that, a group of us are going to Lucerne, a small town in the Swiss Alps! I cannot believe that we are over halfway done with our program. Although it’s definitely going fast, I am beyond excited to see my family again. As a native of Pittsburgh, I have never been away from my parents for this long. It has definitely been tough, and the spotty Wifi at our hotel that makes it nearly impossible to have a conversation with them on the phone isn’t making it any better. However, I would not trade this summer for the world! The experiences I’m having and the people I’m meeting along the way are absolutely worth it!