I can honestly say that my time in Berlin was the best 2 months of my life thus far. Living outside of the US for an extended period of time not only opened my eyes to the world around me, but also made me think critically about how I live at home and at school. Berlin is such a great city to live in because it is so diverse and so large. The cost of living is also very reasonable for it being such a large city. The public transportation is amazing compared to everything thing I’ve ever dealt with. I would move back tomorrow if I could.
While it seems that Study Abroad can be overly romanticized and there are challenges, overwhelmingly I believe that it’s a great experience. Living with other Pitt students makes the challenge of living abroad easier because you always know that you have people that you can lean on that are going through the exact same thing as you. That being said, it can also cause you to stay within your comfort zone and not branch out in order to more fully connect with the community. It can also be more difficult to learn the language since you just communicate with your peers in English. Despite all of these factors, I enjoyed living with my fellow Pitt students because I made friends that I can keep in touch with once I return to Pitt and it provided a good support system.
Working in Berlin made me feel very connected to the city. I would wake up everyday and do my 30 minute commute to work with everyone else that worked. The commute gave me a chance to see another side of the city. My internship was in Potsdamer Platz which is one of the two city centers in Berlin. It was completely destroyed after WW2 and now is one of the newest areas of the city. I worked in a coworking space which was a great experience because I was able to meet people from many other startup companies and connect with them. The space held various social events as well as professional development.
I worked for a Japanese startup called Wantedly where I was a marketing intern. My duties included developing Paid Search campaigns using Google Ads and Facebook Ads. I also helped onboard clients. I also proofread and edited various articles and posts for the platform that were written in English. This was a great experience because I gained more technical skills that I can apply down the road. After my internship I have even been rethinking my career path. I had not initially planned on going into Marketing, but after my internship with the skills I have acquired, I have been thinking more about looking into careers in Marketing.
My favorite experience was working on an Employer Branding project. I went with a coworker to a client company and we talked about the company’s values and also took shots to make a video to put on the platform. After we met with them we transferred information to our platform as well wrote articles explaining the company and their values.
I feel that I have grown in many ways throughout this trip. I feel that I am able to better appreciate the world around me as well as other cultures. Because I had to learn how to adapt to a different work environment I learned more about myself and how I work with a team but also how I work individually. This experience gave me a lot of time to think about how I interact with people in my day-to-day life in the US. Even though I know German to a degree, getting over the language barrier helped me learn how to improve my communication skills in various ways. First of all I learned how to improve my nonverbal communication skills. I also worked on better articulating myself in order better communicate with my coworkers. On top of all of this I improved my German. My speaking skills are better, but what really improved were my listening skills and reading skills. My coworkers communicated with each other mainly in German, which gave me a great chance to listen and comprehend what they were saying.
These lessons and skills are all things that I can bring back to school and apply to life as well. Going abroad is an experience that I recommend to anyone at the university. Whether it’s a semester or summer, any amount of time living abroad is worth it.