Opportunity Over the Horizon

Here we are 12.5% through the program. We haven’t started our internships yet and are 1/8th the way through this opportunity. It simply astounds me how fast even a week went by here. Yet that isn’t to say that’s due to a lack of activities. It’s quite the opposite. It feels as though I can independently remember each day. No days blur together like a seamless slush of time and walking. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about Pittsburgh. Maybe it’s due to the regimented schedule or constant busyness with almost zero times to pump the breaks in Pittsburgh. Alternatively, I’ve had a theory as to why this happens. Maybe all the constantly new stimuli’ like language, environment, etc., cause our brain to focus more, making more of the day recollectable and giving us the impression of the day packed with memories. Regardless it’s a very much-needed change of pace from the monotonous and grey-filled days of Pittsburgh.


Pivoting from time in Germany to events that have happened in that time, there have been many informative events. First, one of the most intellectually exciting and thrilling opportunities I’ve had to see in German was the Berlin Global exhibit in the Humboldt Form museum. At the beginning of the exhibition, workers of the presentation handed us “wrist watches” that were synced with a specific sound per person. Throughout the exhibit, we were brought through centuries of German history and events, specifically Berlin, while making decisions utilizing our “wristwatches.” Some of the question examples were, “Would you like to change your community or change the world?” By walking through the door with your chosen answer, your “wristwatch” would play your specific sound confirming your choice of response. The exhibit expanded upon prevalent historical topics like racism in and outside WWII, xenophobia, collectivism vs. individualism, and more. It was the most informative, refreshing, and beautiful exhibit in a museum I’ve ever had. At the end of the display, based on your answers chosen, you got an analysis of your personality. My analysis was that I preferred Tradition > Freedom > Security > Equality. Last, there was a sculpture filled with phrases written on duct tape by people worldwide. I saw Mandarin, Arabic, Greek, German, English, French, and more plastered all over this sculpture. I got the opportunity to leave a piece I wrote on and permanently leave my mark on the exhibit.

Another education and perspective-altering situation I had was going to the police station in Berlin. They talked about a multitude of programs they focus on, but there were a few that caught my attention. First, they spoke about the situation of guns in Germany vs. America. They asked about our opinions on gun control. Growing up with guns used for sport my whole life, I’ve had a generally lenient view of guns. However, the police explained that due to Americans’ opportunity to obtain a gun, many police officers assume, mostly wrong, that people have firearms on them, which makes the American police much more trigger happy than opposed to the German police.

Furthermore, they explained that the German police don’t have to assume that people have firearms on them due to not being legally allowed to obtain them except for sport. Even if citizens utilize firearms for sport, they have to keep the guns at that club, which is why police are doubtful to assume a person has a rifle and therefore make the police force much less trigger. If the German police shoot at anyone rightfully or not, they become suspended until they are proven to have shot in an appropriate opportunity. Last, German police train for at least 2.5 years vs. America’s six months. This almost chicken or the egg conversation about gun control and the police force was perspective-altering for me.

Last, another interesting program the German police force has implemented is a deradicalization program. They explained that if parents reported their kids radicalized by some group, the police force would take them in and try to “deradicalize” them. They have programs to explain and debunk the concepts and not just arrest them. Being an Egyptian, having seen radicalism and terrorism firsthand, I think this program is brilliant. Most people have this misconception that to fight radicalism; you have to fight the people, which is true in a defensive sense. However, radicalism is a concept built from desperation and social affinity. So to fight an idea, you need words, not rifles and bombs.

Moving to the assessment of the business environment of the health field, I believe it’s a tricky industry. There are many different sectors and professions that the health industry encompasses. Of course, there are the health care workers like doctors, PAs, nurses, paramedics, PCTs, and more. However, there are other sectors like the business of the hospital or insurance. There is also the research sector of the health field, which I will be working on this summer. Traits required to succeed in research include being meticulous, curious, and personally motivated. Moreso, skills needed to excel in the research sector involve being able to dissect and digest long, complicated scientific texts, write scientific texts, interdisciplinary communication skills, and thorough organization. Last, the most vital competency needed to excel in the German research sector is confidence. Research is a process that is complicated, drawn-out, and not linear. As a student, you have to trust the learning process, not get imposter syndrome, and not allow criticism to allow you to abort or completely change your perspective/thought process on your research. Modification is always necessary, but do not give up your ideas at the first site of criticism.

Transitioning, I hope to complete an analysis of my journey through spirituality in every last paragraph of my weekly blog. In my first week, I haven’t changed my definition or how its obtained. However, I can definitively say I’ve had more spiritual moments this past week than in my junior year. Just these breathtaking, hair-standing, goosebump-inducing moments with mind and body entirely focused. It’s so unique and never artificially reproducible. I’m glad I’ve had these moments and am ready for many more.