Only two more weeks left in Berlin and boy is it starting to hit me that I soon will have to leave my summer home for good. Nevertheless, I am eager and excited to make the most out of these last two weeks, see things that I have yet to get to, and to revisit some of my favorite spots all across the city. The week at work was full new projects and some of the same old ones that I have been plugging away at for some time now. I continued and finished up the ERV valuation sheet which analyzed Sirius’s 57 owned and managed properties from all across Germany, finished up the long and grueling amazon document with the financial controllers, conducted an analysis on all of Sirius’s outstanding debt and the costs of extending it, and analyzed the industry trends of Sirius tenant base in order to see what macro level trends they will be affected by. Overall, I have really settled into my routine with working 9-5:30 and have really grown to like my coworkers who although are much older than me, have been super engaging and made for some great laughs around the office especially Preena who loves to talk American and World Politics with me. With regards to differences between work culture in the US versus work culture in Germany I actually think the work environment is fairly different despite what many people told me before I came here. I think the biggest difference is the separation between work and personal life. In the United States it is very common to be friends with your coworkers, talk about your family life, and even head to happy hour with the office. In Germany, however, there is a fairly clear distinction between work and personal life where although you may be familiar with other people’s lives it is not regularly discussed and not much happens outside of work. Nevertheless, this is a stereotype and is not the case at all companies, and it is even slightly different at mine as well given that there are 7 nationalities just in my office space. For example, my coworkers have asked me to do go to basketball games and participate in the company beach volleyball league. I also think that there is much more of an emphasis with regards to having a strong work-life balance in Germany which is shown through the extensive labor protection laws the country currently has in place. All in all, I think that German work culture is efficient, effective, and to the point but I think that I much prefer working in a American workplace. I think, however, this is just a product of German culture in general which (yes, I am super oversimplifying) I have often to be found to be independent, serious, and filled with people who tend to keep to themselves.
Outside of the office I was able to do some really fun things as well. As the trip has progressed I have really been starting to feel and realize just how expensive living in Berlin really is from the food to any other experience you are looking to do. I could not imagine also dealing with the astronomical rent prices that current residents are fighting with the housing crisis across the city. Thus, over the past two weeks I have really done my best to try to eat in as much as possible and pack my lunch as much as possible by making a 1 or 2 trips to the local ReWe for ham. Apples. Eggs. and salads. During the week I was able to explore some of the similar local locations around the hotel after my workouts at night which as always is really fun whether I am alone or with a few friends. The weekend was also filled with some fun times since Friday night started off by heading to a club in an area of Berlin that used to be a fully munitioning train station. It was super cool since it was 80’s night and the club had an outdoor area with a fire, Foosball tables, and even 2 Nintendo 64’s to play Mario Kart with friends. Saturday I had the opportunity to once again get some Döner, visit a never ending and huge art/food festival in Kreuzberg, and visit the Viktoria Park waterfall again. Finally, the night ended with a long night out with friends where we did not return home until 5:00 am which believe it or not is completely normal for Berlin since most of the nightlife does not even open until midnight and remains open until long into the following afternoon. Nevertheless, coming home with the sun already up is always a unique experience since the sun does not fully set until 10:30 pm and then rises again at 4:00 am. I finished off my Sunday by exploring the MauerPark flea market and making a day long trip to a lake in Grunewald with friends to escape the 102 degree heat that although was brutal all weekend long, was much more bearable than the heat at home. Finally, we topped the day off by having some killer burgers at a Route 66 50’s Diner that is located right by the hotel. This week I will be off to Venice for a nice 3.5 day weekend in what looks like one of the most beautiful places in the world despite the massive crowds. I can not wait to share my experiences next week! (Also, I do have to just say I am pretty happy that I am slowly learning to speak in German on the most basic level possible which I have become proud of)