Preparedness

This past week has been one of the more relaxed weeks since I arrived in Berlin. This week also marks the official halfway point. While I do feel like I’ve been here for a while, I also wish I was here longer. It’s weird to think that we only have a month left and I really hope the time doesn’t start flying. There is still so much of the city I need to see and explore. After work I try to go out and see different areas, it can be difficult though working the long hours and then trying to be active for another at least 4 hours. There are so many days that I want to go home and lay in bed, but then I remind myself that I only have so much time.

This past week was a week full of just exploring Berlin and taking a break from travel. Monday afternoon we returned from Prague and then went to this pool in the river called Badeschiff. It’s a really cool place because you can just go and relax and swim. It’s in Friedrichshain, which is a really awesome neighborhood in the East. There’s so many great food places and awesome street art everywhere you go. We went swimming and then had dinner at this restaurant on the canal, it was a great way to unwind after a day of travel. Tuesday was another relaxing day where I ran errands after work and just relaxed. It was necessary after an exhausting weekend, but it was also nice to spend more time in the area near my flat. My roommate and I also made a very german meal of bratwurst, potatoes, and spargel. My coworkers even complimented me on it when I took it for lunch the next day. Wednesday was a very eventful day because I went over to one of my coworker’s flats for dinner. It was his last week before leaving for his new job, so he had all my coworkers and me over for a barbecue. He lives in the north east part of Berlin, and I had never been to that area before, so it was cool to see that and walk around there a little bit. However, on my way home that evening my phone ran out of data right before I had to leave to go home, so I had to navigate myself home with no data, which ended up being no problem at all. It was just an interesting situation. It was a great time though and I’m glad I got to interact with my coworkers in that environment. Thursday after work I went to this place called Simon-Dach Straße, which is a place with a lot of bars in the East. We went out and had dinner and a few drinks and just explored this other area of Berlin. Then Friday, we checked out a couple of clubs in the evening. Saturday we went back to Badeschiff and hung out there since it was so hot that day. It was super crowded though because everyone had the same idea of hanging out at the pool. Sunday was another busy day, we started off at this Thai market where we got authentic Thai food. It was so delicious and super close to our flat. We then went to this huge outdoor market called Mauerpark. They had so many cool art and clothing pieces. They also had a stage area where people would perform. There was another area where people could do graffiti, so we saw a few people tagging the wall. After that, we went to the DDR museum, which is a very interactive museum about life in the DDR. This past week has been an eventful one where I spent a lot of time exploring the city.

While it is hard to prepare someone to work full time in a foreign country, I feel that Pitt has done a pretty good job. Because the German department at Pitt is so good, I feel that I am able to use my german skills pretty frequently. At my work, my coworkers all communicate in german and I am able to understand most of what they say. They interact with me in both english and german, so I get to use my skill frequently. I also try to use my skills in everyday scenarios such as going to the store or while on public transportation. What I wasn’t prepared for was the work environment. Because I’m an Economics major we never really talk about what it will be like to work in a business office setting. Everything that I do is revolved around academics. The skills that I’m gaining at my internship are also ones that I wouldn’t take a class on. I feel like this is a very natural gap that many other people are experiencing as well. I’m handling it by trying to separate school and work in my mind. They are not the same thing at all and thus should be treated differently. The way that I manage my time and my personal life are not at all similar, which has it’s positives and negatives. I like that once I leave work I’m done for the day, not extra studying or other clubs, I can just relax and take advantage of the day. On the other hand though I have set hours that I have to go and be productive. I can’t explore the city and I have to plan ahead and think about how late things are open etc.

I feel that there are just some real life things that no university life style could really prepare you for, but I’m happy that Pitt has provided me with some very useful skills.

Until next time!