So much to do; So little time

It feels so unreal that I only have two weeks left of my internship! There is still so much that I want to do while in Berlin, so I definitely am going to have take advantage of all the time I have left. Even though I have been working really late, I’m hoping I’ll have time after work to visit a few more famous landmarks and museums.

This weekend, I’m going to Budapest – and I couldn’t be more excited! It is such a unique place, and when I started this program, I never would have imagined I’d be going there. I thought all of my weekend travel would be to more mainstream cities, like places in Poland or other German cities. Who would have expected that I’d be traveling to Croatia and Hungary? That is one reason I feel really fortunate to be in a very central location in Europe. It has given me the opportunity to travel to places I would otherwise probably never go. It has also taught me a lot about independence. I’ve learned how to organize trips and travel in a foreign country – and how to navigate situations when something doesn’t go according to plan. I’ve also grown in my ability to be detail-oriented and take into account all aspects that are required to organize a vacation.

I’ve also learned to really appreciate all the work my parents have put into planning our vacations over the years! I never knew how much time and research was necessary to make sure the itinerary was cohesive and the trip ran smoothly. I was never involved in the planning, so it didn’t cross my mind. But now that I’ve been in their position, planning trips from scratch, I definitely have a great appreciation for how much work they’ve done! I will certainly have to thank them when I return home.

Before I head back to Pittsburgh, however, I want to make the most of my remaining two weeks at my internship. I hope to be able to start at least one more large project next week and complete it by the time I leave – I don’t want to head home with a half-finished assignment! I have had the opportunity to work on projects in multiple departments, so maybe for my last one I will be able to explore operations in yet another sector of my company. This has been a really beneficial experience for me, especially for my first internship. I have gotten to see what all the teams do individually, and that has allowed me to understand how everybody’s individual contribution – even if it may seem completely disconnected – allows the company as a whole to function. I feel like I have learned so much from each person I have worked with, and I will absolutely be bringing back that knowledge with me and using it in my future internships!

I will also be bringing back a little bit of German work culture with me as well. Before I left for this internship, I had been told that Germans heavily value efficiency. In my experience, this is very true. This internship has helped me improve my productivity and focus, and I see this carrying out in my remaining semesters at school, as well as future internships. In my past summer jobs, the schedule was more flexible. The work schedule throughout the day has been very different in Berlin. I arrive at work at 9:30, and I work without breaks until lunchtime. Then, I take a one hour lunch break either in the office break room or going out to a restaurant. After that, I return to work and work straight through until 6:30. This has been very different for me! In all of my past experiences, the work was not as consistent, with more small breaks in between. Instead of taking one long lunch break in the middle of the day, I would have brief breaks throughout my shift when the work was slow. I think it has been really helpful for me to have a large break to segment my day. It has improved my focus and attention span during my work periods. I have also found it very helpful to have a full hour to completely disconnect from work. I find myself coming back recharged and able to approach my tasks with a fresh mind. Although it was an adjustment at first, I have really come to enjoy this structure and will employ it in my schedule at school and in future internships.

That’s all for now – off to Budapest in 12 hours!

Kayla