Leadership Abroad

Hallo! As I am writing this blog post, I am sitting in my apartment recovering from a jam-packed weekend trip to Budapest. This week I mostly focused on keeping up with work and relaxing, because I took Friday off of work for a travel day. For LÆMON, Dylan and I worked a lot on updating the company’s financial plan in order to ensure their material is ready to show investors. We had some difficulty with finding correct pricing information, so researching the parts took a decent amount of time. Luckily, we got enough work done by Thursday at 5 so that we could fully enjoy the weekend in Budapest. After 4 hours of travel, we arrived in the city and immediately visited Hero’s Square, which is a place I have been wanting to see for many years. I then spent the afternoon on a “solo adventure”, which is what we call it when someone goes off exploring on their own. I tried to go to the Citadel, which was unfortunately closed, but I ended up doing a long walk that gave me a lot of great views and picture content.

Hero’s Square

Saturday night was my favorite part of this trip, because we spent a few hours at the largest bath house in Budapest, which the city is known for. We happened to be there when the whole bath house turns into a pool party, which was so unique and would never happen in the USA. It was such a memorable experience, and I love knowing some of the history behind Budapest bath houses while being there. On Sunday, I went on another adventure by myself to the Parliament Building and walked along the Danube. The building is absolutely stunning, and I was so in awe of the architecture. I saw a lot of statues, and was pretty confused when I saw one of Ronald Reagan in the park. I also stopped by St. Stephen’s Basilica, which is a gorgeous sight to see. We then saw a lot of Budapest’s most famous sites such as Parliament, Fisherman’s Bastion, and Buda Castle while on a Danube boat cruise, and the Parliament Building was illuminated. I felt like I got a lot of value out of this trip, especially as someone who loves older cities and architecture, because I took advantage of my free time to see the sights I was excited for.

Hungarian Parliament

This program has definitely impacted my leadership style, which I hope will transfer to my approach back in the US. I have the tendency to feel like I am too bossy when I am in leadership positions, which pushes me to fully step back and almost ask others to take the lead in a lot of scenarios. This has been something I struggle with for a while, especially in high school. I used to be confident in my leadership ability, but after feedback I realized that I was accidentally too focused on whatever our end goal was and not actually leading the team. This happened a lot in sports as an upperclassman, but I think that my time in Berlin has made me more confident in my ability to be a good and collaborative leader. At work, I don’t find myself taking too much control, but I still have a voice in discussions and collaborate with Dylan when delegating work.

This internship abroad has helped me realize that a lot of different leadership styles can be effective. It is really interesting watching my boss be a leader within such a small environment, because she has the ability to lead the conversation and make significant progress on issues while also making everyone else feel comfortable giving their opinion and trying to help. A lot of leaders that I have experienced tend to either pawn off work on everyone else, or they fail to let anyone help and take all the responsibility on themselves. My boss is really good at balancing the two, which I admire and hope to embody when I go back to Pittsburgh. The way that I will implement this into my life at Pitt is in my current organizational leadership positions. I plan to work harder at being collaborative and creating an environment where people feel motivated to work for the end goal. I also hope to apply this to group projects, because almost every business class I have had required a group project where someone ended up needing to step up and lead. Knowing that this program is important for my professional growth, I am learning that I need to stop stepping back and instead step up when an opportunity presents itself, no matter what area of my life that occurs in.


Caitlin Jarrell