Berlin Beginnings

Hallo, my name is Kira Ota. I’m a 5th year senior at Pitt majoring in business information systems with a minor in German and I will graduate at the end of the fall semester. I grew up in New Jersey, only about 30 minutes outside of Philly, with my parents and two brothers. My family members and I have always loved traveling and while we may not have achieved all our travel goals, each new adventure brings us closer. In high school, where I took four years of German classes which combined language and culture. I almost got that opportunity, however, at the time that students needed to hand in the deposits for the trip, bombings in France created worry for parents of the students which forced the trip to be canceled. Ever since, it has been my goal to be able to travel to Germany.

One of my main interests especially regarding traveling is finding the local “spots”. While seeing the main tourist attractions is a good experience and highly desirable to some, I like to find the things that locals would say are the best things about their home. I previously took a trip to England, Scotland, and Ukraine. On this trip, I was able to visit some tourist attractions, but I also have friends and family in those countries that were able to give me insight on restaurants and places to go. Sometimes the best way to find these spots is by talking to locals, reading online blogs, or by exploring myself.

Since I had this summer free, I was interested in finding an internship. The international internship program in Berlin was a perfect fit for me because I have always wanted to study abroad but didn’t think I would have time to do so. I changed majors two times so my schedule has been a bit crunched limiting my time for other experiences. Being able to combine two academic goals that I had for myself will create lasting memories in Pitt Business and the University of Pittsburgh. Additionally, I was thrilled that they had a program running in Berlin since it would allow me to fulfill my dream of going to Germany. Of all the places I could have studied abroad, Germany would probably hold the most meaning for me since it would allow me the most time in a country that I know a lot about. While I do have the interest to visit several other countries, I would most enjoy spending two months in Berlin, Germany.

I will be working at a company called Vencon Research International. It is a compensation benchmarking data provider company. I chose business information systems because I was really interested in the overlap between technology and the business world, unsure if information technology or something like research would be the best fit for me. My project will allow me to do some research and test my skills in Excel which lends itself well with potential jobs in business information systems. My internship placement will help me decide exactly what I want to do post-graduation in the fall. I aim to create a lasting network with my coworkers and other program participants to expand my network beyond the people I typically speak with. Since I will be working on a project that could be similar to a career in the future, this could help me realize that this is a job that I’d like to do in the future or maybe tell me that I need to find something else to do. Overall, this experience will be highly beneficial in helping me to determine the first step in my career which I will be looking for when I return home.

I’d like to learn how to apply the skills I learned in school to differing environments since business in the United States will vary from Germany. Since it is likely that I will have some success and some failure, I want to use this experience to gain the most out of both that I can by using both as motivation to do better the next time. I realize there are so many challenges that I have yet to foresee so I’m really interested to see how I will handle them.

I’m overjoyed to be starting this experience and I can’t wait to see all of what it has to offer. There will be so much to take in, but I will be sure to stop and breathe and enjoy the moment. So, for now, tschüss!