Settling Into Berlin

Hello all!

As I wrap up my first week here in Berlin, I already have a great amount to reflect on. Right from my arrival in Berlin life became very busy with orientation events. I had a very stressful flight to Berlin with lots of delays and a very late arrival, but I was able to get over my jet lag quite quickly. Orientation began on Wednesday, and some good walking shoes were necessary. Each day began with a two hour language course taught by an Intrax employee, all members of the program have grasped some of the basics of the German language, but hopefully with time we will be able to get a bit more comfortable. Our program advisor at Intrax brought us to many different sites in Berlin, as well as a couple organizations. We were able to sit down with one of the managing directors of Taz, a Green Party newspaper here in Germany, and talk about the organizational structure of their newspaper, their spectacular environmentally friendly headquarters, and how to get newspapers to gen z. We then took the train across the city to a very cool Biergarten in a super hip and interesting part of the city. We were also able to go to the old Berlin castle, the Humboldt Forum, to visit an interactive museum exhibit about the history of the city of Berlin, this was the most interesting and fun museum experience I have ever had. We were also able to visit two other organizations, IG Metall and the crime prevention unit of the Berlin Polizei. Both visits were both super interesting, especially learning the difference between police focuses and crime patterns in Europe and the United States. We wrapped up the week meeting some of the other students from different American universities doing internship programs through Intrax at a cool punk bar in a new area of Berlin.

Now that orientation week has come to an end, it is time to look towards my internship which starts on Monday. As a reminder, I am working at a small start-up called Læmon which is a company that produces a fashionable bracelet with built in safety features. I will be working along with Cate Jarrell in the finance department taking on a general finance role. I expect that from the start I will have to take on a large role, as no one in the company currently has any specific finance experience, my boss has told me that there has been a slight hole in the financial side of the company, so I predict it will be expected of Cate and I to fill that hole. The most necessary skill for a job like this in such a small company is going to be versatility. There will not be any set schedule for our internship, and there will most likely be many unexpected hurdles to jump as there are so many factors affecting the potential success of the company. Cate and I will be taking on roles all over the company, and our ability to adapt will be the key to our success in this company. One of the biggest challenges for Læmon currently is finding funding whether it is through different investors or organizing different types of crowdfunding. I will be trying to do as much as I can to help bring funding in for Læmon, and there is a good chance that a lot of my time will be assigned to this duty. A big competency for an employee at a German start-up looking for funding is definitely the ability to network, and it is much easier to network in Germany when you can speak German. Sadly my three days of German class in the Intrax lounge did not teach me anywhere close to enough of the language to be even close to conversational, so this will certainly be some adversity in the way of me trying to help secure funding. Though this may be a problem, there are many other competencies that will lead to success that I believe are much more in the realm of possibility. Currently, it is hard to know what is coming with this job, so the true key to success is an open mind, a good work ethic, and the willingness to ask questions. I am beyond excited to begin, and I look forward to sharing about my first week in seven days time.