Week 7- Reflecting on Cultural Competence

 I have just spent my last full weekend in Berlin and I am sad that my time in Berlin will be coming to an end soon. My favorite part about living in Berlin is that you can explore for hours on the weekend. During the week, I do not have a lot of time to do different things and explore because I have to work from 9-5. Usually, on the weekdays, I can only do one thing after work and maybe go explore one part of the city. If I workout after work, then that time is cut down even more and sometimes I won’t be able to do anything after work. This is why I love weekends in Berlin so much. The weekends present the opportunity for me to go out and do the things I want to do in Berlin. 

Although this was my last full weekend in Berlin, I am very excited for next weekend because I am going to visit my friends in Frankfort. When I was in high school, I was able to partake in an exchange program at a school in the city of Gladenbach, which is outside of Frankfort. I met many people on my first trip to Germany, and these people will be lifelong friends of mine. The previous two times that I have come to Germany have been to visit my friends there. This is my first time coming to Germany since the first exchange that isn’t to go visit them. I knew as soon as I found out that I got accepted to this program that at some point I would be going to Frankfort to go visit them. Some of my friends came to Berlin early on in the program to come visit me, and we had a really good time. I knew I was going to try to visit them this weekend because their town has a big festival every year that everyone in the area attends. It is a really fun time where everyone comes together to celebrate and have fun. I went to one of the days of the festival last year, and it was a really fun time and ever since then, I wanted to return. I am leaving Berlin on the 13th so I will only have one more week left in Berlin before returning to the US. 

I have been interning at my company now for seven weeks and have realized some contrasts between working in Germany and working in the United States. It is kinda hard for me to accurately describe these differences because I don’t have a lot of experience in a professional work setting in the United States. The work that I have done in the US has been more basic, so I’m not sure exactly what the work culture would be like in a professional business setting. One thing that I have noticed in a broad sense is that I think that working here is much more laid back than in the US. At my internship, my supervisors have a lot of trust in all the employees that they will accomplish what they are being assigned. In the US, I think that supervisors generally are more involved and wanting more updates on the progress being made. I think both styles are good for different people and that one way isn’t necessarily better than the other. I also feel that Germans have more flexible work schedules compared to Americans. In my office, if someone has something to do at 4, then they can just leave at the time without any issues. In the US, I believe that work schedules are more strict and you cannot just leave if something comes up. Another huge difference that solidifies this difference between the two work cultures is that Germans get a lot more vacation days than Americans. Most Americans will have about one week or maybe a little bit more, whereas Germans all get about three weeks off every year. I think this is an amazing perk to working in Germany because you get so much more time every year to live your own life. One of my coworkers left last week for a month-long vacation where they are traveling through the US and that blew my mind because in the US this would not be an option for the vast majority of people. I plan on keeping in contact with my co-workers after I leave this internship in hopes of meeting with them sometime in the future. My company also runs events in the US throughout the summer, so I hope to be able to go to one of the events in the future.