I believe I said it back in May, and I was correct: this has been the fastest two months of my life. As of this moment, I have one week left of my internship – less than that actually. With only four days left at JUNIQE, I can say that I have learned a lot about running a business as well as many things I had not even considered before coming abroad. I can also say that I do not feel ready to leave. Eight weeks truly not a lot of time. It feels like I am just now hitting my stride at my internship and am able to perform my job in a way that truly helps the company.
I may not feel ready to leave Berlin, but I was right about time flying, so I like to think I was right about my other prediction about coming to Europe as well. I did not feel ready to leave the United State back in May, and everything turned out just fine. So, I am sure that, although I may not believe I am ready to return home just yet, everything will turn out just fine.
In the meantime, I am really trying to make the most of my last week in Europe. This past weekend I traveled to Paris to spend my last weekend exploring yet another European capital. Over the course of this summer, I have seen some truly incredible places during these small trips outside of Berlin. Rome, Prague, and Zurich to name a few. However, Paris is definitely a contender for one of the most amazing places I have ever been to.
I was lucky enough to take my second vacation day on Friday so I could spend almost three full days here. After a quick trip to the Arc de Triumph after arriving, we headed to the Eiffel Tower and ended up spending the rest of the day there. We took the time to climb it, and I really do mean “climb” as we opted for the stairs. I would not have minded waiting for the elevator, but after my unpleasant experience last week in the sun, I was not very keen on standing in the sun for that long. I guess deciding to climb over six hundred steps instead was not the best solution, but we made it there eventually.
Saturday, we rushed to check off the rest of our tourist attractions list. This included Le Louvre, finding some amazing French food, and, my personal favorite, a tour of the catacombs! This entire summer has been a whirlwind of absolutely incredible moments that I was never fully sure I would ever get to experience and every week it just seems to get better.
As much as I have loved exploring the rest of the continent, I have not forgotten about my host country and city. I almost regret taking things slow since arriving in Berlin and allowing myself to relax. As I said, I am realizing that eight weeks is really not a lot of time. There is still so much I want to do in Berlin before I leave, and now I am trying to fit it all into the last week. I will be sure to let everyone know how that goes in my last in country blog post next week.
Success at JUNIQE is honestly not really what I thought it would be. Granted, with this being both my first internship and first time in Germany, I really was not sure what to think to begin with. At least in the customer-facing division where I have been this summer, it was made very clear to me that “success” or a “good employee” is not defined by the amount one accomplished is one day or week, but rather with how well it is done.
I believe my supervisor’s words were along the lines of, “There is no email quota you need to meet each day or anything. Just make sure you give your best for everything you do each day.” Again, and I have said this countless times at this point in the summer, I do not know if this is only JUNIQE or the philosophy across Germany, but, either way, I believe it is a great system.
My internship has taught me to value quality over quantity in the workplace, something that is not always followed in the United States. While there are only so many hours in a day, and sometimes I do feel as if I am rushing to attend to all my responsibilities at my internship, I have learned to still take things slow and make sure everything I do is up to the German standard.