Guten Tag from Berlin! I’ve been here for 6 days so far, and I’ve had an incredible time thus far. In less than a week, I have experienced so many new things I didn’t know I’d ever get the chance to. What amazed me most thus far is how connected to the world we really are as Pitt students. Berlin is a massive city, and the chances of meeting a single Pitt grad seemed slim before arriving here, but I have already met 5. The first one I met was at the airport in Frankfurt. Whenever I travel, I always like to wear my Pitt hat because you never know who you’re going to meet at the airport. My travel day to Berlin got off to a rough start because my flight out of Newark got delayed, and I missed my connection in Frankfurt. I was pretty upset because I knew this meant I would miss the scheduled group walking tour. I tried to keep a positive attitude because I knew I would eventually make it to Berlin, and this extended connection would be a great chance to explore the airport and try some German food. I had to clear customs to get to my gate, so I got in a massive line of people, many of whom also missed their connections. After about 30 minutes of waiting, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around, and an American-sounding woman asked me if I go to Pitt. I said yes, and she told me to wait on the other side of customs so we could chat because her husband went to Pitt. Her name was Annie, and I hung out with her and her husband Kevin for a while on the other side of customs. They were super nice and even offered to take me into the business class lounge. They live in Berlin and just happened to be in the row in front of me on my rescheduled connection. I got their contact info, and they said to message them if I had any questions and offered me a ride in their car if I ever needed it. It’s crazy to think I never would have met them if I didn’t miss my connection. The next four Pitt grads I met were in front of me in line for a random event last night. They just graduated and are currently exploring Europe. I truly had no idea I would meet this many people with Pitt connections, and It’s great to know there’s a network of alums around the world I can connect with when I travel.
Now that I’ve been living here for almost a week, I feel acclimatized enough to start my internship, the reason I’m here. Tomorrow morning, I will hop on a bus and then a train that will take me to Gramercy’s Berlin office. As I mentioned in my previous post, Gramercy is a digital marketing agency focusing on the sports, media, and entertainment industries. This industry requires several key skills, some of which I have and others I’m still working to develop. One of the skills I need to succeed is being detail-oriented. I must make sure everything is absolutely perfect before I submit something. I must proofread multiple times and make sure everything works as it should. Digital marketing has a lot of parts to it that are easy to overlook when working quickly. A strength that will help me during this internship is that I’m self-motivated. A lot of time is spent working alone, especially for a small company like Gramercy. I will communicate with clients frequently, but when I’m not talking to them I expect to be working alone. My coworkers and supervisors will have their own work to do, so they won’t be handholding me through my work and telling me exactly what to do. My self-motivation will help me produce high-quality work and prevent me from falling behind.
One major difference in working in Germany is that I won’t receive much positive feedback. In the US, we typically expect to receive some sort of praise or encouragement from professors or supervisors when we complete high-quality work. In Germany, from what I understand, you only receive feedback when you do something wrong. Feedback is usually blunt and can be discouraging if you’re not used to it. To be successful in this environment, I must be confident in my work. If I’m confident I did a good job, I won’t feel unsure when I don’t receive any positive feedback.