Stuttgart and Prague

This week was the busiest weeks I’ve had so far in Germany. For my internship I traveled to the south of Germany to the town of Stuttgart. This trip consisted of five property site visits for my company, all of which needed to be completed in two  days. These visits are basically designed so that our company, represented by my super visor in this case, can more easily analyze the spaces of the property and have real life images to work off of for the vacancy analysis. Our company works with the managers of the spaces at each of these locations  To sum it up generally, meetings at these sites consist of going over the square footage of available space, confirming whether or not those spaces will require renovations, and if the return generated from these improvements will even be worth the investment.. My job was essentially to record all this information in a spreadsheet that will be brought back to management this week. While these site visits do not appear to be the most strenuous work, the reality is it takes a lot of patience and focus to get the information you need that you cannot simply do virtually. The amount of time we spent at each site really depended on how large the space is and the amount of complications or discrepancies arose. Factor in the amount of time it takes to get to the city/drive from one location to another and you will soon begin to see how much time it takes to complete all necessary tasks. On top of that we had less than 48 hours to do it all.

While the trip was exhausting and not the typical “fun” that pops in one’s head when they realize they get to travel for work, it was such an awesome experience to have. Not only was I able to sit in and experience the front end of the business but I was actually able to contribute to it. I liked being able to physically see what all of our work goes towards and play a part in making sure business is carried out accordingly. It feels good to know your actions are helping the company in some form and that your work is valued by others. In addition to getting the experience, I was also able to explore some of a new city which was also a cool thing about the trip.

For the most part the entire trip was successful however our flight was canceled going home. This typically would not be detrimental however I had arranged to take an early bus to Prague that Saturday morning which meant it was crucial to get into Berlin that Friday night. And as discount airlines do, EasyJet was far from proactive in helping us arrange any feasible alternatives. As a result my supervisor and I rented a car through our company and drove 6.5 hours up to Berlin. Luckily not having speed limits on the highways allowed us to get to Berlin just in time to get me on my bus.

Prague was by far one of the most, if not, the most beautiful cities I have ever been to. It truly was a dream walking through the streets with the decorative architecture. The food was delicious, the views were unparalleled, and the people were very kind. It is definitely a place I would love to return to one day.

Over the past couple weeks I haven’t noticed major differences in German culture that I’ve found to be too difficult to assimilate to. If I could identify general differences it would be an emphasis on punctuality, and a tendency to be more direct and concise when speaking to others. I’ve also noticed that people are not particularly warm or overly friendly, which isn’t to say they are not well intentioned or good hearted. It’s just that people are generally more conservative in their body language and reserved in their verbal interactions. None of these differences were difficult to adapt to and I had the overall impression German culture was not starkly different from the US. I don’t know if this would be considered a real cultural difference, but I have found it difficult to adjust to smoking as a very common habit amongst the general population. I don’t enjoy the smell of smoke and often the office has a lingering scent. During the business trip basically everyone would take a smoke break almost every hour. I’ve found myself at times clouded by smoke in public areas which is not the first thing I want on summer day. Overall I think it’s sometimes difficult to be around a habit that is so widely discouraged in the US, but not to the point where cannot manage my discomfort.