Learning the History

My experience in Berlin has definitely peaked with high adventures but also mellowed out with more relaxed periods or weeks.  This past week was spent more on the relaxing side of the specturium. Since arriving in Berlin each weekend I have been here I have spent in another location, including France and Prague.  As much as I love and appreciate traveling around, this past weekend, I was excited for a time period of staying in Berlin, catching up on sleep and exploring more of my host city. In this period of time I did my best to devote my time to learning more about the history that consumes Germany.  To do so, I went and visited the Jewish Museum of Berlin which has been located in the city since the year 2001. Ever since opening its doors years ago, the museum has joined the ranks of Europe’s leading and most popular museums, in fact, it is the largest Jewish museum in all of Europe. Inside the museum is a combination of art exhibitions, permanent collectional and educational aspects.  To my surprise the Jewish Museum was more concentrated on the art aspect, lots of the museum focused on symbolism and architecture that was meant to reflect the history of the Jews in Germany. In fact, the building itself is considered an architectural masterpiece in Berlin and is one of its most recognizable landmarks with its zinc paneled exterior and unique zig zag shape. It was innovatively built by Daniel Libeskind.  

Unfortunately, I am not a huge art lover of this kind, I did not grasp the obscure connection that the architect and designer was trying to make. As a result, it was not my favorite museum in the world. However, I loved that every inch of the museum reflected the Jewish history and culture as well as migration and diversity in Germany.  One of the most interesting parts for me was that people, connected to the holocaust in some way, have donated memorabilia peices of all kinds to the meusem over the many years. As a result, the halls of the building are filled with letters, signs, pictures or other objects from the period of the Holocaust. My favorite piece of history to see at the museum was real Jewish stars.  The Jews of Europe were legally compelled to wear these stars as badges of some sort so that others would be able to distinguish people as Jews easily. The German government’s policy of forcing Jews to wear identifying badges was but one of many horrid tactics aimed at isolating and dehumanizing the Jews of Europe, directly marking them as being different and inferior to everyone else.  These badges were taken very seriously by the German government, those who failed or refused to wear the badge risked severe punishment, including death. With a history like that, seeing Jewish stars from that time period was shocking.

Spending my day learning about Jewish history in Germany made me even more curious to learn more. The time period is extremely important to be remembered and for people to be well educated on so that history never has to repeat itself.  I’m excited to keep visiting the meusems that Berlin has to offer so that i can have a much better understanding for the events that took place in Europe.

I don’t know if i can say Pitt perfectly prepared me for this international internship, however, I believe that getting involved with Pitt Business clubs made a tremendous impact for me personally. I think that being taught the basics from a professional fraternity about how to make a good impression in an interview and in a job really helped me to excel in the work environment here. It taught me how to be prepared in an interview, including the questions that I am most likely going to be asked to how important preparing and doing research is. It taught me how to take on more work and gave me practice talking to professionals. Having this experience in my college career has given me a lot more confidence to take on work life in Berlin.  On the side of the internship, I wish that I felt more prepared from Pitt. Its disappointing how long it takes for students to emerge themselves in the majors that they choose. Because of the barrier at Pitt, I have yet to dive into my major classes. As a result, I strongly wish I had more experience with finance terms, processes and excel in general. On the other hand, I am grateful for taking classes such as quantitative methods with wendell because I feel as though it gave me the most experience with excel and taught me how to be efficient with working in the software. I hope that I encounter similar classes to this in my future semesters at Pitt because excel is an extremely useful skill that a ton of internships and employers value.