Adapting to Berlin

Benji Gluzman

Professor Koller

International Internship Summer 2022

June 13th, 2022

Adapting to Berlin:

How can we be nearly halfway done already?? I find it so hard to believe how fast each week continues to go by, and I am coming to learn they only go faster and faster.  Despite time seemingly flying, I have had a great time exploring Berlin, trying to make as many memories and experience as many things as I hoped to.  This was a great week as I feel I hit a lot of different sides of the city.  I was able to enjoy some of the nightlife, visiting a new club over the weekend with friends, visiting museum island (specifically the Pergamon museum), and dining in at a nice traditional German restaurant with friends as well.  Speaking more about Pergamon, I honestly did not appreciation what the museum was about before going, as I some some interesting pictures online and wanted to see it for myself.  What I came to learn was that the museum was all about Babylonians and ancient human history, dating back to an extremely old town called Uruk.  There were many artifacts I found to be fascinating, with the focal artifact from the museum being an entire entrance to a marketplace as pictured somewhere in this blog.  Along with this entrance were things such as the beautifully decorated walls to the city, gates of past cities, and other amazing artifacts such as one of the oldest documented set of laws (I believe) in human history.  In closing about recent happenings, it would be wrong if I didn’t mention the restaurant I visited.  Everyone of course got traditional dishes such as bratwurst, wienerschnitzel, and more.  It was a great place to eat with family and friends, as the restaurant was rather nice and you would not leave disappointed with your experience, especially if you save some room for dessert.

Generally speaking, the cultural differences so far have not been too difficult to assimilate with, at least to the point where I have had major struggles in doing so.  However, that does not take away from the fact that there have been multiple cultural differences worth mentioning.  A rather simple difference is the use of cash in Berlin.  Since I have been here I have primarily used cash when paying for almost anything, and I find there to be pros and cons to it.  Using euros has been fun just because its slightly different from usd, but a small inconvenience would be my wallet constantly feeling clunky in my pocket for instance.  Other small differences can be seen in public transportation or simply getting around the city in general.  As Germany is a very eco-friendly culture they have worked to embody such beliefs with things like a well-organized train system plus bike lanes all over the city.  As a result I along with others have had to adjust to traveling via train, and with most if not all transportation information being in Deutsche it can sometimes be a little tricky confirming whether you are going to the right place or not.

In the workplace things have been rather similar to what I have experienced in terms of interactions with my colleagues.  From what I have seen, if you are willing to start a conversation most if not all people I have spoken to at my workplace have been super receptive and happy to have a quick conversation.  Another cultural difference would be in the feedback of my work.  Before arriving in Berlin I saw and heard that there is not much positive feedback to be had in German culture, but more so focusing on things to improve in future work.  Although this is a difference I don’t mind, as someone who highly values making growth and progress I would much rather receive constructive criticism than only praise or positive feedback in whatever I do.  Another difference although potentially more arguable would be the ambiguity noted in my work which could be somewhat dependent on the company one works for.  As mentioned last week, I find my work to be very open-ended, leaving me with lots of room to be creative in the method I choose to complete my tasks.  This could be a cultural difference, but also something that happens everywhere.  I guess this will have to be something I can conclude after more work experience in the future.  Ultimately, I have enjoyed experiencing the different cultural differences in the workplace, as I know it is something I can carry with me in my career over the following years, and is also making me a more well-rounded employee experiencing new cultures such as this.