The trip in Berlin is finally complete and I have arrived home after a long and stressful journey back. My final week in Berlin was absolutely amazing, yet exhausting. I was working every moment to explore the amazing city that I called home for the past 2 months in as much detail and time as possible before I departed back for Pittsburgh. I finished up my final assignments at Sirius which was very relieving. The week ended by my boss and three coworkers taking me out to drinks and an extremely nice seafood dinner which was truly amazing. I really can’t thank everyone at Sirius enough for one of the best experiences of my life and for being so understanding throughout my whole entire internship, especially my amazingly cool manager Diarmuid. It was also really nice to have a final dinner in order to discuss cultural differences both inside and outside the workplace between Europe and Germany and the United States. I thought it was really interesting having two Germans, one Polish, one Irish, and two Americans discuss these issues, and I think that the whole entire conversation embodied my time in Berlin: diverse. Aside from the great conversation with some amazing friends I was also amazed by the food. The restaurant that we were at is supposedly a very famous seafood restaurant in Berlin because the chef at the restaurant is adored by Berliners for his wide variety of cuisine offerings from steakhouses to asian restaurants. I was able to eat tuna, shrimp, squid tentacles, mahi mahi, scallops, and much more. After saying my final goodbyes to Diarmuid, Anne, Jacob, and Lars I enjoyed one last night out in Berlin’s amazing nightlife with all the students on the trip who truly became some of the best friends in the past 9 weeks. However, Saturday morning is when all of the fun started. My flight home to Pittsburgh consisted of three separate flights, Berlin to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Toronto, and Toronto to Pittsburgh. However, my first flight from Frankfurt was delayed an hour, the crew had a problem getting the baggage onto our flight, and then the Frankfurt airport was too busy to land so we flew in circles for about an hour. Thus, once I arrived my flight was long gone and after waiting 3 hours in the customer support line I was finally rebooked to leave the following evening to land in Newark before arriving in Pittsburgh, and to top it all off United lost my luggage between Newark and Pittsburgh. Nevertheless, both my luggage and myself are home safely and I can truly say the whole entire summer was one of the most transformative and special experiences I have ever had both professionally and personally.
Next I wanted to talk a little bit about how I have used contextual clues to help myself communicate and solve problems while in-country, been provided feedback, and the effectiveness of the overall strategy. I think that contextual clues played a vital role in me surviving and getting around not only in Berlin, but some of the other places I visited throughout Europe and Germany as well. Due to the fact that I was unable to speak the language, I often had to use context clues to get around and figure out what the appropriate behavior was in each situation that I encountered. Whether this was how people behaved on the Ubahn or how I should be behaving as a pedestrian since Jaywalking was fairly frowned upon in the city. One of the times in which I used context clues fairly heavily was in the grocery store to see how people shopped, checked out, and interacted with cashier. Although it sounds funny and small, I actually found the grocery stores to be fairly different since people bought things in much more modest amounts, bring their own grocery bags, and check out very quickly to the point where if you are being to slow people will even say something to you. Another time in which I found using context clues to be very necessary was whenever we would be going out at night whether it be on the public transportation, on the street, or in the venue we were at. I feel as if I am at home I am very aware of what is going on around me and thus whenever I was unable to understand the language I found it absolutely imperative to be able to read situations around me in order to ensure that I was safe.