Reading a room or understanding context of what is going on is an extremely important skill to develop in a professional environment as I’ve found out in my time abroad. For the first few weeks of my internship, I found that this skill was crucial as I wasn’t completely sure of what was going on at all times, especially because much of what was going on around me was in a completely different language. I could usually pick up on the tone that my coworkers would talk to each other in or a keyword out of their conversation that would clue me into at least a subject or the level of seriousness of what was going on which was helpful. As time went on I started to pick up on some of the actions of the coworkers I was around the most and what that meant in terms of what they were talking about or if they were enthusiastic or frustrated about a particular thing. I think picking up on these things helped me to understand in what way to approach a subject with my coworkers and especially my supervisor. If I sensed something was important I would try to ask right away when the conversation was over, or on the other hand, if I could pick up that a conversation was a bit tense I would usually wait until the topic was brought up to me to say anything about it or ask about it. I think this also helped me to solve problems especially when I thought something was more serious because I would start working on a solution to whatever I thought was being talked about by my coworkers so when they turned to me I had something prepared to offer them, even if it wasn’t completely what they needed it was usually appreciated and on the right track.
In terms of feedback provided to me while at work I had a little difficulty. I told my supervisor early on about having a midpoint evaluation and a final evaluation that I needed to be completed at certain times for the class that goes along with IIP. She seemed to understand this when we talked about it and I also sent her an email after my first week giving her both of the forms as well as reiterating again the dates that I would need each of those evaluations. In addition to these evaluations, I was hoping my supervisor would offer me feedback as time went along and I completed more tasks but that never really happened. When I would finish something my supervisor would usually check it over quick and if things looked alright she would just thank me and move on, if something was wrong she would usually say to me that one specific part was wrong and fix it herself. Toward the middle of the program when the midpoint evaluation was due I reminded her about it and was hoping that would spark a conversation with feedback but again nothing much happened. It wasn’t until my last week with my supervisor at work until I really got feedback from her and she gave me both my midterm and final evaluation. We had a pretty long conversation about my responsibilities over the summer and how she felt I had been performing which I greatly appreciated, but I wished we had gotten to talk about sooner so I could’ve improved areas of my work earlier on. In hindsight, I should’ve been more direct in asking for more feedback as I don’t think it its really in the style of my supervisor to offer up that kind of specific feedback often.
I spent my last week in Prague working on some odd-jobs around my office as most of the company was on the first week of their two-week shutdown, then spending the afternoons and evenings with my friends that had visited from home. It was so great to have them here right at the end of the program because I really felt like I knew my way around the city and could steer them in the right direction of what tourist attractions were really worth seeing and going in to and what ones you could just walk by and that would be enough. Another fun part of having my friends here for the last week was that it really made me get out and do a lot in my little amount of time left and made sure I got everything checked off my list that I wanted to. On Thursday my friends left and I was really starting to get the itch to go home as everyone else on our program had finished up the week before and there were only three of us left in our dorm. Luckily I changed my flight from Sunday up to Saturday and was able to come home a day early. Now that I’m home though I am already missing Prague and all of the amazing memories I made in my two months there.