Google Translate Is My Best Friend

This week was probably my most eventful week so far. With only a 3-day work week, my friends and I traveled through the south of France for the long weekend. We started our 4 days in Toulouse where we stayed in a small hotel near the old city. Also known as “the pink city”, Toulouse looks like a town you would see in a fairytale with rows of small colorful buildings with terracotta roofs and small shops. The streets were so small to the point where the taxi we took could barely turn the corner without hitting the curb. The slow pace of the quiet streets was so different from the fast-paced life of Berlin which made it very relaxing. However we did face a couple challenges when traveling, one of which was the language barrier. Unlike Berlin where almost everyone speaks at least some English, here many people did not speak English and those who did could not speak it very well. On top of that none of us speak any French so it was difficult to fully communicate. Right as we figured this out we knew google translate would be our best friend for the weekend. The following day we started our journey down farther south to a beach town called Valras Plage. On the train ride down we were able to stop in Carcassonne, a medieval city in the south of France. Here we toured through a fortress made of stone and had beautiful views of the hills of France. After a couple hours there we hopped on the train to complete the second half of our trip down to the beach. Once we made it down to Valras Plage we met the hosts of our Airbnb who, you guessed it, barely spoke any English. While it was challenging to communicate with them, like everyone else in France they were incredibly kind and patient when trying to communicate. After that we made our way to the beach which was about a 10 minute bus ride from our house. When we arrived I felt almost like I was in Santa Monica, California. As opposed to the typical rocky beach you would expect to see in Europe, this beach had soft brown sand and stretched pretty far until you hit the water. The temperature outside was at a nice moderate 75 degrees which was nice to sit in but made it very difficult to judge the strength of the sun. All of us ended up getting burnt because we did not prepare for the intense sun rays of the south of France. At least we will know for next time.

            Overall the weekend was very enjoyable and I’m glad we did it. With that, like I said before, the trip came with some challenges. From the inability to fully communicate to the unreliability of public transportation in more rural areas, the weekend definitely tested our ability to adapt and stay calm in moments of stress. It also taught us to work together to problem solve and work out problems we were facing. I’ve never traveled to this extent without my family so it was definitely a learning experience for me. Despite all the difficulties, I was really proud of us for navigating the obstacles and actually making it home when we had originally planned!

            A lot of the skills we developed this weekend had to do with navigating the new and unfamiliar. While I’ve never really had to adapt to situations quite as extreme in my internship, there have definitely been moments of uncertainty I’ve had to navigate. Come to think of it I think most of my internship so far has been heavily focused on figuring out problems without clear steps to arrive to a solution. All of my work has been based in excel to his point and there are multiple moments in the day where I am uncertain as to what to do. I know that my supervisor has tasks to complete on his own agenda, so I have been proactive in using online resources or previous knowledge to figure out the problems on my own. I think beyond the more obvious skills that internships help develop, self sufficiency is one that has been most prominent in my experience . The experience has helped me become for comfortable and confident in these types of unfamiliar situations and has further developed my ability to adapt. These types of skills cannot necessarily be learned in a classroom which has made this internship extremely beneficial to my professional growth.