Critical Reflection – Week 5

Already at the halfway point of the program, there is so much to reflect upon and thankfully more to look forward to. This past week has brought about its own set of experiences, challenges and more to discuss. One of the highlights of the week was being in Berlin for the Carnival of Culture celebration. Thanks to the holiday, the work week was shortened to 4 days, and the festivities of the weekend gave me a great opportunity to continue to explore the city and experience the many cultures that find themselves in Berlin.

On Saturday I decided to take a bus in the general direction of the parade but not to set any specific destination. I wanted to be able to explore with no real guidelines and I decided that I would get off the bus whenever everything was new and looked interesting. Luckily enough, by the time I got off and grabbed some food from a local shop in only took me about a 10 minute walk before I was immersed in the celebration. All in all, the weekend was a great time to relax and focus on wellness when needed, but also be able to continue discovering all of the amazing things that Berlin has to offer.

After the long weekend it was back to work. Tuesday was business as usual with a couple new assignments to be done on Salesforce and things were also very interesting on Wednesday when neither of my English speaking colleagues were in the office. This gave me the best example so far of when I really could only use my German, even if I was confused or for small talk. At first it was a little difficult but by lunch it almost felt normal to have not spoken any English yet that day. I really appreciated that experience because it was one of the harder to find experience where no matter what, I could not rely on my English for help or for familiarity, I really enjoyed the extra challenge.

By Thursday my coworkers had returned and the complete dependency on German was no longer there, however, we continue to speak German unless English is “needed”. I was fortunate to get some interesting assignments, too, when my coworkers returned. The task given to me was to make the manuals for how to use and perform different tasks on Salesforce. This allowed me more creative flexibility than in the past and gave me more autonomy in terms of how my work would be done. I also enjoyed the more tangible results of my work (as opposed to data entry, I could actually print and hold the manual I designed) and it seemed visibly more meaningful given that Residea is about to transition from out previous sales software to Salesforce.

When the work week ended it was nice (as always) to have time to be social, explore and focus less on completing tasks and more on experiencing culture. I appreciated having time to once again call friends and relatives and to wish my dad a happy Fathers’ Day. All in all, it was a very nice weekend to cap off another challenging and fulfilling week of the internship. I guess now would be a good time to transition into how my experiences at Pitt have played a role in the work, challenges, and overall experience of this program.

It is almost unnecessary to say, but Pitt has obviously had a huge role in my development bother personally and professionally over the course of the last three years. In this time I have grown into a different individual thanks to the experiences I have had, the people I have met and the lessons I have learned at Pitt. In terms of how my experiences at Pitt have prepared for this program, it’s almost difficult to pinpoint exact. Without a doubt, though, my previous three years of studying the German culture and language have prepared me the most for this experience. But beyond the obvious, I would say that Pitt business and the college experience in general, has helped support how I developed my work ethic, my capacity for maneuvering complex and uncertain situation and my tolerance challenges and how I take personal failure and use them to motivate myself into improving.

In terms what I feel academically I was not prepared for on this program, I would say that after having taken two classes that incorporate excel heavily (one that’s entirely excel), I find that there is a gap between having taken these courses and done well, and not actually being a confident and fully knowledgeable as to how to use excel in an actual, pertinent business environment. I do also feel as though some of the German language skills I have studied over the past few years are not quite as applicable as they could be (terms no Germans actually use, lack of actually practicing speaking the language enough…) Despite these couple areas, though, I would say that I feel overall to have been prepared. In order to fill these gaps, I have worked very diligently on constantly trying to use, refine and improve my German through speaking, and I have stressed my desire to my coworkers to continue to find tasks that can incorporate new skills on excel for me to learn and master.