Appropriate Culturalization

As my time in Berlin continues, I have been able to observe many of the political and cultural realities of Germany of which I was not previously aware. For instance, I didn’t even realize Bavaria was a thing (turns out it’s the name given to the entire southern region of the country). Don’t ask me how I learned German for two years and remained ignorant to that simple geographical knowledge. I guess one thing I have learned about myself is that I really am not too far off from that typical ignorant American who only focuses on their own politics, or world politics that are involved with America’s business. Most of my perception of the world is still in stereotypes, although my summer abroad has actually made me more accepting and willing to adapt to other people’s needs… because I’ve finally been put in that situation itself!

I think an international internship can seem glamorous on social media and impressive on a resume, but of course neither of those platforms reveal the inner workings- good and bad. For example, you may be in a country where you aren’t good enough at the language to join in on conversations in that language- which makes you feel out of the loop.  Maybe you’ll almost get an ear infection and your mom will freak out and demand you come home! (sorry mom).  Unexpected stuff is going to happen, should you be reading this as a prospective intern or fellow current intern. However much I may look forward to going home eventually, I am always going to be thankful for the time I’ve spent working this internship. By the end of the program, I expect to have experienced Germany, Poland, Austria, and even Bavaria(!). I don’t know if I’ll ever get an opportunity like this again, as I expect future expeditions to Europe will be spent in the more western ends such as Italy and England.

This past weekend, I was lucky enough to enjoy a warm and balmy weekend in Berlin. It kicked off with pizza with Britta, our program manager. I was accompanied by a couple of the Pitt students, as well as a few other American students involved with Intrax. She’s a gem who is always nice and willing to help us, and also very insistent on getting a good scope of how we are performing at our internships. It was during this meeting that something occurred to me- I’m going to need to ask for a letter of recommendation relatively soon. This can be a little nerve wracking in any situation, but it also occurred to me that my co workers may not speak the eloquent English that may be preferred on a letter submitted to my next job or even law school application. Maybe I’m over thinking it, but I think I just want to make sure that spending a large portion of my summer in Berlin has paid off. On Saturday, a fellow Pitt student and I went to the lake, Orankesee, which is located in a suburb of East Berlin. Predictably, I attempted to tan and got patchy sunburn all over my back (which showcased my half-hearted sunscreen application). I’ll let you know when I learn that pale people need to not do that!!! Afterwards I enjoyed an Italian dinner of gnocci and gorgonzola, a new favorite of mine. All I’m saying is, if an IIP: Rome existed… I would probably definitely have done that. One fair warning about German food… it mostly isn’t famous for a reason. On the plus side, European supermarket food does tend to be more fresh, so simple meals will taste better no matter where you go! As for Sunday, I fulfilled my expensive chai tea latte addiction and FaceTimed some people from home. This upcoming weekend will actually be my last entire one in Berlin, as I am going to Poland the following weekend, and Munich the one after that, and then I fly home the Saturday after my last week of work. So the end is in sight, and hopefully in that time I’ll manage not to lose another 81 Euro bus pass!!!!