My first thought when I landed back in the United States just over a week ago was, “Wow. Did all of that really just happen?” This summer was the best of my life, and I am so thankful that I got to experience so many amazing things. Looking back, it almost does not feel real. Although, everything was taken out of my bank account, so it better have happened.
My last few days in Europe after the program ended went well. I had a great time in London, and it made leaving Berlin a bit more bearable. I had not realized when it happened, but at some point, I became very attached to the German capital and was very sad to leave. With all of the traveling around the continent, Berlin really started to feel like a second home. I am sure that I will back one day, but until then, I really am going to miss it! It is kind of funny actually; when I got to London, I was not used to being able to read everything and understand what everyone is saying. It was a nice change, but I actually really missed the German even though I never really learned how to speak it.
I may not have learned the language (not that I expected to in only two months), but I can genuinely say that I learned a lot this summer. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to travel and experience the world while learning about other people and other cultures. In my heart, I always believed it would happen, I just never imaged that when it finally did, it would be a better experience than I ever dreamed of.
I had never really left North America before, and now I can truthfully say that I have been all over Europe. Since May I have been to Germany, Italy, Vatican City, the Czech Republic, Poland, Switzerland, France, and England. This has tripled the number of countries that I have visited in my life, but more importantly, I had the chance to experience these different cultures and see firsthand how people live in different parts of the world.
As much as I enjoyed exploring the rest of Europe, I did obviously spend the majority of my time in Berlin. As difficult as it was to leave the city, I had an even tougher goodbye on my last day at JUNIQE. I knew I would rather intern during my study abroad experience as opposed to taking classes for credit, but I never could have imagined how this experience would turn out.
I loved working at JUNIQE. I had a great time and learned more than I had ever hoped I would. This was my first internship experience, and it gave me the opportunity to apply what I have learned in the classroom at Pitt while simultaneously teaching me many new things about running a business that I had never considered before. My full job title was “B2B Intern – Business Account Manager.” As a native English speaker, I was put in charge of business sales for clients in the United Kingdom. It was much more responsibility than I was originally anticipating, but I enjoyed the experience and am very grateful for the chance.
Overall, this program has given me a major confidence boost as I have learned many things both during and outside of my internship that I truly believe I can use to my advantage as I prepare for my final year at Pitt. I cannot wait to apply what I learned during my internship to my lessons in the classroom as well as to my future career upon graduation. This program has helped me prepare for a full-time job and helps set me apart in order to obtain said future full-time job.
Although I was very sad to leave Europe behind, I am very excited to begin the fall term. I can already see the changes in myself, and I cannot wait to apply everything I have gained from this summer to my life at the University of Pittsburgh. Between the classroom, my various clubs and activities, and hopefully finding a fall internship here in Pittsburgh, I have already thought of the ways I can use everything I have learned to my advantage.
I will always be beyond grateful for everything that happened to me during the summer of 2019. I already had high hoped for this program, and somehow it still ended up being better than I ever could have expected. I still wish I could have found the time during my undergraduate career to travel abroad for a full semester, but IIP Berlin was just about perfect. I learned as much as I could and had the time of my life.