Reflecting on my time in Berlin

I can not believe that my 9 weeks in Berlin has finally ended and that I have already been home for two whole weeks! I can honestly say that my time in Berlin was one of the most rewarding, amazing, influential, and memorable experiences of my entire life, however, there are still some things about being home that I did miss and will continue to enjoy. I believe that my experience aided me extensively not only professionally, but also personally. I truly believe that studying abroad is one of the most important and impactful decisions that I student can make while at school, and my experiences in both China and Germany have made lasting impacts on the person I am today. Both experiences opened my eyes to all the diversity and differences present throughout the world and how sometimes people in the United States can be fairly close minded and unaccepting of others differences. I think that the opportunity to immerse yourself in a foreign culture, interact first hand with other nationalities, and discuss differences between your own country and others was by far one of my favorite things to do while studying abroad and an experience that truly opens your eyes to all the amazing things that the world has to offer. I found that whether I was in Shanghai, Beijing, Berlin, Prague, Venice, or London I was constantly looking to get others opinions about the differences in culture. All in all, I think that everyone should do everything they can to study abroad while at Pitt. From a professional standpoint I think I gained a lot of experience and was able to grow a substantial amount while in Berlin working for Sirius Facilities GmbH. I am really happy that I decided to partake in the IIP program not only because I absolutely fell in love with the unique, diverse, and cultured city of Berlin but also because the opportunity to work a 40 hour a week internship in a foreign country is one that I will truly benefit from going forward professionally. Additionally, my internship experience far exceeded my expectations. Going into the trip I have heard extremely mixed reviews from peoples internship experiences while abroad, however, I am really happy to say that I benefited and lucked out with one of the best experiences. My time at Sirius allowed me to explore a field that I have always been extremely interested in: Commercial Real Estate. Additionally, it was cool being able to work for such a unique company in the sense that the traditional internships with Intrax tend to be with smaller sized startups and Sirius is a dual listed publicly traded company on both the London and Johannesburg stock exchanges with over 200 employees. The company has even grown its portfolio over 50% in the past 3 years with a market capitalization of 800 million euros and assets under management of 1.132 bn Euros. Not only was it cool to work for such a large firm that is growing at such a fast and rapid pace, but it was also cool working in such a unique and culturally diverse work environment. I was able to interact, talk with, and learn from so many nationalities. Just in my office space alone there were  German, South African, Spainish, Irish, and Cuban people. I thought it provided the opportunity to learn more about other cultures, as mentioned above, but also allowed to see the differences in work styles in different cultures. Although some of the work that I did was slightly monotonous, I did find some of the projects that I worked on to be extremely interesting. I was able to help with the year end financial filing process on both the London and Johanesberg stock exchanges by performing financial reconciliation and a German Real Estate Market Research Report, assisted in reporting with the new joint venture for Sirius, performed a market valuation of their 57 owned and managed assets, as well as numerous other projects that I can speak on in future interviews. With all this experience I hope to bring back an open minded, accepting, and passionate mindset to Pitt Business in the fall. Not only do I believe that I will be able to leverage personal experiences, but also professional experiences that I believe will truly transform into the classroom. I am also extremely excited to continue to hopefully be involved with the Pitt Business International Program Office due to the tremendous role everyone has played in providing me with two of the most amazing and memorable experience of my entire life through my involvement with the buddy program I will be partaking in this fall as well as hopefully speaking panels that look to show other students the numerous benefits that can be obtained by traveling outside the country. Berlin I will miss you!