This past week in Berlin has been nothing but awesome. I feel as though I have really become part of the city. I know where most things are, and I have completely mastered the public transportation system. I really used this past week to relax a little bit as I have been doing some traveling around different cities. As COVID-19 has been running through my office these past two weeks they advised myself and the other interns to work from home most of the days. This has been a nice break from the busy office setting. The hotel we stay at has a nice back patio that I like to utilize when I am working from home. It allows me to get out of the room and enjoy some sunshine while at work.
I have also been working on some travel plans for after the program ends. Before leaving I booked my flight home to leave from Rome. The other day spent quite a while organizing my trains and flights to get to Rome. I ended up booking a train to Munich a got myself a bed in a hostel for a couple nights. I am really excited because before I left, I really wanted the chance to visit this city but it just didn’t work out with the work schedule we have. I am also excited to have the opportunity to stay in a hostel because I think it is going to give me the chance to meet a lot of cool people from all over the world. I have been talking with my boss about what I should do while in Munich because he grew up in that city. He told me he was going to give me a list of different places to visit that are going to give me the feel of the city. I am also excited to visit Rome. Growing I took a Latin for 7 years, so I have always read about the different historical Roman sites throughout the city. I am most excited to visit the Colosseum. I feel as though there is so much different history in that city compared to the history in the city of Berlin.
Regarding differences in communication styles between the US and Germany, I feel as though they are both low context cultures. Although my office setting is fairly laid back my co-workers tend to speak in a way that gets right to the facts. I found this to be like the culture in the United States as well. If there was one major difference it would be that in Germany no one likes to give praise for your work. People tend to just give constructive criticism and move on to the next task. I feel as though my company understands this and we try to appreciate people’s work in different ways. Every Monday we have a company wide meeting. At the end of the meeting, we give time for “props” during this time people go around show appreciation for the work someone else did. It could be something small like “Nick submitted something for me while I was away on Holiday” or something really big like “the sales team closed a deal on a new client for our Green Tech Ecosystem”.
While everything in the office is typically done in English, I have had some small communication errors. An example of this happened when I was doing my research about our ecosystem method. I was tasked to watch a sales pitch meeting with a client and the video was all in German. I tired my best to get some English subtitles for the video so that I did not have to go back to boss and ask for a different video, but I was unsuccessful. We ended up having to schedule an additional meeting with my co-workers so that could explain what was going on in the video. I felt bad that I couldn’t fix this problem on my own, but everyone was happy to help. Often when I am working hybrid I run into situations where communication is a problem as well. Typically, it is in the form of emails being written in German. This is a pretty easy fix though; I can just copy and paste the message into an online translator and respond in English. Although it takes a bit more time it really isn’t too big of deal. Other than those things listed above communication has not been a major problem and when it has my co-work’s have been happy and willing to help.