Auf Wiedersehen, Berlin!

My internship abroad experience in Berlin has finally come to a close, and it feels surreal. I cannot believe two months have gone by since I first landed at Tegel airport – it feels like merely a week ago!

My last week of work was so bittersweet. Projects and assignments started to wind down as Friday came closer, and my supervisor gave me the opportunity to explore some other aspects of the company and of the field as a whole. He walked me through the logistics of some of the complicated projects he was working through so that I could have a better understanding of what a long-term career in the field would look like. I really appreciate all of the insight and advice he gave me!

As my projects started to draw to a close, my coworkers decided to plan an excursion for Sam and me before we had to leave Berlin. They surprised us with tickets to the Sanssouci Park in Potsdam! They even gave us a day off work in our last week so that we could have a full day to enjoy the experience – we were so appreciative. It was wonderful to have so much time to explore the palace, which included a very detailed guided tour through each room. Previously, I did not know much about Frederick the Great, but I certainly got a great history lesson that day!

After the Sanssouci Palace tour, Sam and I were able to explore the extensive gardens surrounding the palace, as well as some other palaces in the area. In total, there are 16 palaces on the grounds! We did not have time to see each one, but the several we did get to visit were so grand – they were absolutely breathtaking. The Orangery was my favorite by far. It had a tropical atmosphere that was very different from anything else I saw in Berlin. The gardens were full of hibiscus and palm trees! The palace itself was modeled in the style of Italian architecture, featuring colors and statues native to famous Mediterranean landmarks.  

The gardens surrounding the palaces were very serene. Flower beds and fountains filled the yards in front of the palace entrances. From the center of the grounds, fields of grass or trees extended out in all directions as far as the eye could see. Tall trees lined the walkways up to each palace entrance, creating a tunnel of sorts. Walking through these tree tunnels felt like magical, like an escape from the rush and “hustle and bustle” of city life that I’ve been accustomed to for the last two months. I have loved living in a large, busy city – especially with all of the advantages it provides – but I felt very refreshed after visiting Potsdam. I really appreciated having a day to move at a slower pace and engage with the nature of the Sanssouci Palace gardens.

On my last day of work, I was able to get some very helpful feedback on my performance during my internship. I had meetings with both my direct supervisor and the founder, and I appreciated getting an evaluation from two perspectives. In addition to discussing the projects I had worked on during my internship, my supervisor also gave me advice regarding my future studies and potential directions for my career. The founder had met with the several of my coworkers and shared their feedback with me. I was really grateful to have both positive comments and constructive criticism presented me so clearly and directly. I was even more appreciative that the founder took the time out of his very packed schedule to make sure I could be best prepared for internships and jobs in the years to come. This whole experience in Berlin has allowed me to become even better equipped for future internships in both professional and personal aspects.

The past two months were a whirlwind of amazing opportunities, first as an intern and then as a tourist. I am so sad to be leaving Berlin, a place that now holds such an important place in my heart. Luckily, it doesn’t feel like I have to say “goodbye” quite yet! Over the next few weeks, I will be continuing to travel through Europe with my family. I feel very fortunate that I have the chance to continue exploring this beautiful continent…especially because I do not feel ready to head home! Then again, I doubt that I will ever truly feel ready to leave behind all of the exciting adventures Europe has to offer.

Many thanks to IIP:Berlin for an incredible summer I will never forget!

Bye for now,

Kayla