This week at work was a little slower as the annual report is finally complete, and my supervisor, as well as the CEO and CFO, were away most of the week presenting to shareholders in London. This is the time where shareholders can bring up any concerns or ask questions they may have pertaining to Sirius’s year end results. So, back at the office in Berlin, I had the chance to have more in-depth conversations with some of my coworkers. Over the 8 weeks I have been interning at Sirius, I have developed some really cool relationships with some of my coworkers and I have gotten insight to their daily lives. This has provided me with some awesome learning opportunities about German citizens’ lifestyle, value and belief systems, and political views.
During the first week of my internship, one of the first conversations I had with a coworker related to what my thoughts are about Trump being our president. Every first encounter with a German typically included having a conversation about US politics. They always seem to find it interesting hearing what an American’s thoughts are about the president. I find that they think, as Americans, we have all really been impacted on an individual level by the presidential election, and do not really have anything positive to say about Trump. So, they were very intrigued by my conservative view of politics and what I had to say about some of Trump’s policies. It was really interesting hearing how everyone pays so much attention to the current events in the US. I think this was a little enhanced this week, as the G20 Summit was held in Hamburg, Germany. At work everyone was always keeping me updated on the events and riots that were occurring over Capitalism at the meeting with all the world leaders. Throughout all the conversations, I also had a sense that a lot of German people feel they need some changes within their own political system as well.
The company I work for, Sirius Facilities, is part of the real estate sector. Being in an industry that continues to grow and focuses on industrial site improvement, it is often affected in particular by economic, technological, and political factors. The economic well-being of the country especially affects the real estate industry, as this sector of business thrives off capitalism within an economy. Germany’s economy is very strong and continues to grow, as it has become the powerhouse of the EU. Germany has one of the largest GDP’s in the entire world, and the services sector represents 70% of the GDP, while real estate and business is a segment of services and makes up 31% of the GDP. This shows that Sirius Facilities is in an industry with a lot of potential and ability to impact the German economy. I have also learned how corporate taxes are fairly high here in Germany, nearing 30%, which affects the decisions Sirius makes concerning acquisitions and dispositions.
From my observations while in Berlin, I have noticed how Germany really focuses on being environmentally friendly and have implemented more green policies. For example, a lot of people use bikes for transportation to and from work, as they are cautious about gas emissions being released into the atmosphere. I have also witnessed how the Germans have installed an efficient system for recycling. People are able to collect bottles and plastics that can then be recycled for money. This was one thing that really surprised me during the first few weeks of my time in Berlin. I would see people just go through trash to collect these plastic bottles, and then go to recycling stations, which are in every grocery store, where they are reimbursed for protecting the environment.
This study abroad opportunity has introduced me to many new perspectives on life in Germany, and I feel like I have been able to benefit and broaden my cultural experience as a result!
Danke für zuhören!