The last week was really great. I got to finish off a lot of the projects I’ve been working on from the beginning of this program. Unfortunately, the two interviews that I had planned to finish up in this last week of work were both canceled. It was an important reality check and helped me understand that some times, the worst that can happen… does happen. Most of the other stuff I was doing was handing off my roles and responsibilities to the other members of Brili so they can maintain the social media and marketing while I take the rest of the month off.
The third to last day, the whole group got together for a great send-off dinner with Intrax at a beer garden in the middle of Tempelhoff. Afterward, we went out to celebrate a friend from the programs birthday. The very next day I had another send-off dinner with my program manager, she and her family treated me to an amazing meal at Fes a Turkish barbecue restaurant in Berlin. The food was fantastic and the company even better. Needless to say, I was well fed those last two nights. Early the next morning I left Berlin for the US.
I am happy to be back in the states, it was sad to leave, but it’s good being able to spend a little time with my family and friends here before I head off back to school. I adjusted incredibly quickly to the time difference by baring through one extremely long day and now I am back on track. I am still discovering all the ways this trip abroad has changed me and made me better. Each and every time I meet up with a friend or family member and they ask me how the trip went, I end up talking about a different aspect from a different angle. I was over there for two months and I am only now getting a grip on how long that is and how much can change in that time. With each conversation, I gain a new perspective. It’s really amazing.
I don’t think my answer has changed in the way of defining success in Germany verses the US at all. It still is very much based on the journey you take to receive the success, not just the end result. Entrepreneurship is a very new idea across the world but more so in Germany than the US. While in Munich, I lived at a house owned by a friend of my supervisor. The man was incredibly gracious and kind. He showed me around the city of Munich and what it really means to live there. He works at a large corporation and has had a rather consistent role throughout his professional career. He asked me a lot about what I wanted to do professionally, and where I wanted to live after college. He was surprised when I said, “I’m not totally sure”. His family has lived in the same city his whole life, he studied and got a job in a specific field, and now he works in it. It was hard for him to get his head around the fact that I’m just kind of feeling out my options and seeing what works best for me. My career as I see it, is going to be quite fluid. I think his reactions to my answers kind of shows that difference between success in Germany and the US. In the US, you can become successful doing pretty much anything. In Germany, there has been a system for success put in place for some time now and it is only now starting to change.
Feedback at Brili has been delivered face to face over lunch or quick chats. My supervisors would just ask me how I felt the experience was going so far and open it up for discussion. It has really been incredible to receive genuine feedback from my supervisors. I know that German people can be really direct, don’t tend to hold things back, and will let you know if you aren’t doing a good job. That’s why it was a relief to hear how positive they feel about my work at Brili and that they want to continue working with me. I think these one on one meetings and performance reviews were incredibly affective in letting me know I was staying on track and my work was actually making a difference. It kept me motivated and I felt involved the whole time. I’m incredibly greatful for this opportunity and the people that I have met and worked with at Brili. I am even more excited to see where it leads in the future.