My two months in Berlin was a period in which I experienced a lot of individual growth. To start, I learned a lot from my internship. I have built upon my technical skills, especially in excel, and have gained a greater confidence in contributing within a work environment. Often times my tasks required a lot of precision and I would have to use my own judgement to come to a solution. I felt that I have developed more independence in completing projects which has greatly increased my confidence. I know that whatever situation I am put in, whether it be in the classroom or in a job, I will have the ability to work through the problem and come to good solutions. I have also built upon my ability to effectively communicate with other employees in the work place and more quickly process the information I am given. These are all valuable things I will be able to bring back to Pitt business for group projects as well as individual assignments as I finish my final year.
While I have experienced a lot of growth professionally and academically, I think overall the abroad experienced had a huge impact on my personal growth. Being placed in a brand-new city with a completely different language, and a culture very different from my own really forced me out of my comfort zone. Whether it was using public transportation, or even just getting accustomed to a different type of human interactions, it was all very unfamiliar. Typically, this never made me uncomfortable when traveling in the past, first because I never really had to do it alone, and second because I have never been in a foreign country for as long as I was. Over time it became easier and easier but even after building a routine 3 weeks in, some of these days still posed their challenges. A lot of this circles back to not having a good grasp on the German language and therefore not fully understanding situations in which I was placed. Or even something as simple as buying a transit ticket is not a difficult task but when you are unfamiliar with city zones and cannot fully understand the people who are around to help you, it can be incredibly frustrating. But in the end, growth comes from working through small inconveniences and frustrations like these. I was able to develop a lot more patience and stay calm in situations that I would typically be very overwhelmed in.
A huge part of my internship involved traveling to different cities in Germany almost weekly. These trips required a lot of preparation and typically resulted in the longer work days. The traveling was also very exhausting which sometimes made it difficult to focus during the work days. These trips helped me become more adaptable and flexible which is essential in almost every aspect of life. A lot of our flights were delayed, one actually was canceled, and this definitely tested but also built upon my patience. It reaffirmed the idea that not everything go exactly as planned and when that happens you have to keep a positive mindset and not let it distract you from what needs to get done. For example, when my one flight was canceled, I had planned to travel to Prague that night on a bus but that no longer seemed to be an option. There were no more flights to Berlin for the rest of that weekend, so the company paid for a rental car we could use to get back home. That drive was eight hours and after those eight hours I took a bus for 5 hours to Prague. It was one of the longest periods where I did not get any sleep yet the following day, I made the most of my trip and explored the city like I had planned before. I knew that being tired was only a temporary thing and I was not going to let it dictate the rest of my weekend. In any job, or even life in general you are going to encounter problems and the world cannot come crashing down with it. I noticed throughout the program that even on my weekends traveling with friends that these types of problems affected me a lot less. I know that even with preparation that these types of situations will not be controllable but the way I react and handle the situations is controllable.
I know that this experience is something I will always remember going forwards and the things I learned will follow me back to school and beyond that.