I have now been home in the United States for nearly two weeks and it feels like I have woken up from a dream I was having. Living in Berlin was a dream come true for me and was something that I was dreaming of ever since I started learning German years ago. I always liked the challenge of learning a new language and German culture fascinated me ever since my first exposure to it in German class. I always knew that I liked German but I didn’t really love it until I partook in an exchange program in high school. I was able to live in Germany for a month and live with a German family with a son my age. I went to school with him and I was fully exposed to the culture of Germany. After this experience, I made it a mission of mine to continue working on my German with the hopes of being able to return to the country for a longer period of time one day. Fast forward a couple of years, Pitt Study Abroad gave me the opportunity to fulfill that dream of mine. Just like my first long stay in Germany, this trip has reinforced my love for the country of Germany and has opened my eyes to the opportunities that the country offers.
This program has pushed me to grow more than any other experience I have had thus far in my life. I have grown in many different ways and facets of my life. Firstly, I have personally greatly benefitted from my time in Berlin. I have never lived all on my own before and this was a great opportunity to put myself to the test. I was forced to either become more independent or most likely not have a very good time there. I learned a lot about what it means to live on your own and how to prioritize things better. Because I was working fulltime, which was also a first for me, I had to learn how to make better use of my free time. To be able to do everything that I wanted to do in Berlin, I had to prioritize the things that I wanted to do. A large goal of mine coming into this program was to continue to improve my German abilities. I consider myself fluent in the language but that doesn’t mean I can’t improve on things. For example, it used to be quite difficult for me to understand someone who spoke really fast to me in German. However, because I was using the language every day and constantly listening to it, I became much better at being able to understand the language even when it was being spoken quickly. After being in Berlin for two months, I felt like my German is the best it has even been and I hope to keep it at this level and improve it moving on in the future. Academically, I have also grown during my time in Berlin. At my internship, I was constantly learning something new so I had to pay very close attention. I had to take very detailed notes so that I could retain all the information I was being given. At times it would feel a little bit overwhelming but I learned how to stay calm and focused on accomplishing the task given to me. I have also grown leaps and bounds professionally while at my internship. I have never had a job in a professional setting before this experience, so this kind of work environment was new to me. I learned so much about what it means to be a professional and about work cultures and environments. I now feel much more comfortable in professional settings and I will now know what to expect in the future work environments that I will come across.
All the countless things that I learned in Berlin has caused me to grow as a person and has taught me many valuable things. Because of this program, I have matured and I am much more determined than ever before. I now have seen what it takes to be successful in the business world and I know what I need to improve on to help me be successful in the future. This program has caused me to become much more motivated and I want to leverage all the things that I learned throughout my stay in Berlin in Pitt Business. I would be doing myself and my supervisors an injustice if I didn’t use all the unique things that I learned at my internship moving forward.