Finding Our Way

After arriving in Berlin, we had a very eventful week. Many students had their flights delayed leaving the US due to inclement weather in the northeast. Luckily, I was able to get to Berlin on time. Upon arriving myself and the two other students who made it on time went on a walking tour of the city where we were able to see some of the most historic sites of the city including the Brandenburg Gate, and Check Point Charlie. This was a great way to start our journey because it allowed us to understand the lay out of the city and learn about the public transportation systems.

              The three following days we started each morning off with a two-hour German class. I thought these classes were very helpful as I came here with no experience speaking the German language. The classes helped us understand some SOS German phrases and form basic sentences which have been helpful ordering food and navigating the U-Bahn. Each afternoon after class we went to different place in the city. On Wednesday we visited the Taz die Tageszeitung newspaper. We meet the director, and he gave us a run down about what their goals are and how they run their business. At the end of the presentation, we were able to give them suggestions about how to attract more younger readers because as they stated in the presentation the average age of their reader was 58. The next day we visited the workers unions of Berlin. This was interesting because we were able to see how unions work in Germany compared to those in the US. Lastly, we visited the police station and more specifically the hate crime prevention unit. I really enjoyed our time speaking with the officers because they showed us the different systems, they have in place to prevent a reduce hate crimes within the city of Berlin. We also were able to compare and contrast policing techniques used in the US and Germany in regard to hate crime prevention.

              As I wind down from this exciting first week, I think it is important to think forward about my up-coming internship that starts on Monday the 23rd. I will be working at Impact Hub Berlin. IHB is a co working consulting firm. This means that within their building small business owners and entrepreneurs can all come work on their projects and collaborate within the same walls. I am going to be working with the sales team at IHB. My main job is going to researching and facilitating leads to sell the space within our building to new small businesses as well as find larger companies to buy our consulting packages.

              To be successful in my positions I am going to need to have strong communication. One of the main ideas that IHB pushes is the idea of not being a unicorn. What this means is they want to create a community of people that all have unique talents and can come together to create something bigger than themselves. I think this is an interesting contrast to what we often see within American business. I am also going to need to have strong organizational skills. With so many different people and businesses working and communicating on the same platforms it is important to make sure I have all the information relevant to me in the correct place. Lastly a strong work ethic is going to be really important to my success. I am going to be tasked with a lot of work and being driven is going to keep me moving in the right direction on this journey.

              There are some stark differences between the business cultures in Germany and in the US. First, Germans are very direct. In my short time here, I have already noticed this difference. In the US we often use filler words to try and soften harsh statements but that does not happen. I need to understand that my co-workers and bosses are not trying to be rude to me and that it is just how people communicate here. Also, having an open mind and being creative is going to be really important for me. I have never worked in a office filled with people working together from different companies. There is going to be a lot of sharing of ideas. This type of business is something that we do not see very often in the US and going in with an open mind is going to allow me to take this most out of my experience.

Nick