Finally, it is my last week of internship in Berlin, Germany! I felt so contented for both my personal life and professional life. For my last weekend in Berlin, I went on a hunt for “German cheesecake”. Many people who had “German cheesecake” said that it tasted very different from American/New York cheesecake; it is much fluffier, softer and lighter. Hence, I decided to dedicate my last Saturday in Berlin to look for a seriously good “German cheesecake”.
For me, cheesecake shall be a dessert. Therefore, I only started my “cheesecake hunt” after lunch. Before that, it was a different “hunt”; I was searching for a signature German food called “roulade”. So, I went to a nice restaurant famous for its roulade. It was a long commute from my hostel, approximately 1 hour. Unfortunately, they only serve roulade for dinner. Since I was so hungry, I decided to give another food a try. I had a fancy cold dish, pickled pork brawn with gribiche sauce. It was pork, carrot and pickles cooked and pressed in a pot with jelly. It was cut into rectangular shapes and served cold with gribiche sauce. I was surprised by this dish because it was actually “DELICIOUS”! The pork was tender while the carrot and pickles were soft; they formed a very good mix with the soft jelly. I served it “carefully” like how I would if I were eating quality steak: slice by slice and bite by bite, making sure I was indulging and enjoying every mouthful of the tasty brawn. I dipped every small bite of brawn into the gribiche sauce. The taste was unbelievable; the slightly sour sauce complemented the brawn well. It made every mouthful flavorful!
Then, I went for my “German cheesecake hunt”. My first stop was Five Elephant Café. I immediately looked for the so called “German cheesecake” in this café; according to TripAdvisor, this café has one of the best “German cheesecake” in Berlin. However, all I saw was just cylindrical cheesecake, and it was expensive. I was disappointed with TripAdvisor’s recommendation, but since I was already there, I decided to give this “5-star rated German cheesecake” a try. It did not disappoint me! It has similar texture to a New York cheesecake, but the “cheese” portion was much softer. Although I still prefer a firmer New York cheesecake, but this cylindrical cheesecake was also very tasty; All I could say is it comes to personal preference if you like softer or firmer cheesecake.
After my first unsuccessful attempt of getting a “German cheesecake”, I went to the second stop. A nice café hiding in a beautiful and peaceful quadrangle surrounded by apartments. I could not wait to finally try a “German cheesecake” there, but all the available cheesecakes were obviously various flavors of New York cheesecakes by appearance. Thus, I skipped this stop. On my way to the third cheesecake place, I came across a famous bakery well-known for its Berliner Pfannkuchen and poppy seed cheesecake. Because I have had Berliner Pfannkuchen here, I decided to give the poppy seed cheesecake a try (even though it was not a German cheesecake). The poppy seed cheesecake has thick poppy seed cream cheese layer top with almond flakes. The poppy seed layer has a unique texture when combined with milk-flavored cream cheese; it was like eating crushed cereal with milk. The almonds flake top was a perfect supplement to the slightly bland poppy seed layer as it added just enough flavor to the overall poppy seed cheesecake and compensated for the bland taste. I strongly recommend trying a poppy seed cheesecake!
Finally, I found “traditional German cheesecake” at a bakery called Princess Cheesecake. The cheesecake was huge; it was 4.5 inches tall. From outside, it resembled a sponge cake; however, its actual texture was in between a sponge cake and New York cheesecake. Perhaps a mix of both of them. When I served a mouthful of it, the feeling was like finely shaved ice melting in my mouth; it was very pleasant. However, the cheese flavor was too thin and light for me. I prefer stronger cheese taste from a cheesecake. In short, I am not a fan of German cheesecake because it tasted like a cheese flavor sponge cake and there was not enough flavor in it. I felt that I wasted so much time searching for a cake which I dislike.
Switching to my internship, I had an interesting final week. My supervisor “finally” gave me an interesting assignment on the “very last week” of my internship. He just got an email from a German multinational company looking for legal service to finance its subsidiary in China. My task was to help the German conglomerate identify the optimal way to deliver funds to its subsidiary in China and eventually repatriate the profit out of the subsidiary when it starts generating positive net income. The tricky part of this task is China welcomes foreign investments so financing this subsidiary is easy; but, China is very strict about profit repatriation out of the country. This made the financing decision complicated. I had to study more about possible methods to repatriate profit out of China as well as the benefits and drawbacks of each method. Then, I had to weigh the cost-benefit of each method to obtain an optimal balance between them. I suggested an optimum capital structure to my supervisor for consideration to be applied in the real case. To summarize, I felt accomplished after doing all the research to understand how financing works and come up with my reasoning to justify my proposal. I might want to pursue a career in this field. I find it challenging yet interesting to help corporations determine optimal financing option!
In term of feedback, I did not ask for it too frequently as my supervisor was always busy. He did not actively give me feedback either. His signature comment was “Good! Good! Very good!”; however, this did not tell me anything useful nor specific about my performance other than me finished my work in acceptable way. I did recall one time when he actually spent time commenting on my work. It was when I showed him my draft version of an advertising email to be sent to out potential clients promoting our services. After reviewing my draft email, he taught me a lot about how to write a better and more effective email. First, he wanted me to keep every sentence below 12 words; this is because not every client is as literate as us, and complicated sentences will immediately turn them down. Then, he wanted me to come up with an attention catcher to replace my first sentence of the email; this is because our clients would not even read the rest of the email if the first sentence does not interest them. Thirdly, he told me to shorten my middle part/content paragraphs for my email readers not to feel overwhelmed by tons of text. Lastly, I should have a firm ending sentence which call for our clients’ affirmative action. This would encourage our potential clients to check out our services. In conclusion, aside from this exception, my supervisor did not offer me much helpful advice, nor I actively asked for his.
Here is the end of my international internship program: Berlin, Germany. Tschüss!