A Summer Like No Other

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What a summer. I knew it would fly by, but I still can’t believe it’s been over two months since the start of my first ever trip to Europe. It feels like yesterday I was sitting at my gate frantically typing to finish my first blog post while other passengers were actively boarding. This is number 10, my final IIP blog post. I’m now a couple of weeks removed from my program, and I’ve had some time to reflect. One of my main goals was to come back feeling like I didn’t waste my time in Germany. I’m happy to say I made the most of my trip. I experienced new things, got a feel for German culture, and developed valuable skills applicable to my future career and class work. 

I experienced a lot of growth personally, academically, and professionally throughout my time in Berlin in a short period of time. For me, I learn best when I’m put into new situations. Although stressful at times, I almost like that feeling of being “thrown into the fire”. This program was the perfect balance of being thrown into an uncomfortable foreign environment without feeling like I was completely on my own. Sure, I was in Europe the furthest I’ve ever lived from home working my first ever internship, but at the same time, I was with a group of students all in similar situations. There was never a point where I felt like I was completely alone. I always had someone I could contact if I needed help, whether that be a fellow student, our Intrax advisor Britta, or even a coworker.  Since Berlin was such a foreign environment, I developed cross-cultural skills I didn’t possess before. Although I’ve traveled to other countries before, Berlin was a completely different cultural experience. Normally when I travel with my parents, we go for a couple of weeks max, and we typically meet up with English-speaking relatives who show us around. I never have to worry about navigating public transportation, overcoming a language barrier, or finding the best restaurants in town. Berlin was a different experience because I actually lived there, and I didn’t have a local relative with me at all times. I had to make changes to my lifestyle and overcome culture-related challenges. I learned how to successfully adapt to a foreign culture, which is a valuable personal skill moving forward because I plan to travel as much as I can in the future.

I also learned a lot that will help me in the classroom. I’ve always struggled with managing my time and sticking to a daily routine which sometimes hurts my performance in the classroom. One of my goals during this trip was to learn how to use my time more efficiently. Germany was the perfect place for this because most people seem to stick to their schedules and work efficiently. Unlike in the US, working overtime is rare in Germany. There are laws that restrict working hours so everyone does as much as they can during the workday. My coworkers took short breaks and rarely got distracted. I tend to be a procrastinator, so when at home, I often push schoolwork late into the night. The German work culture rubbed off on me, and I’m now much better at being productive within set hours. When I get back to campus, I’m going to stick to a schedule that will help eliminate my procrastination habits. Knowing how to stick to a schedule is especially important in college because there are always a ton of distractions. I expect these new habits will allow me to produce higher quality work and not have to stress about deadlines. 

Regarding career skills, I learned more about the field of marketing. Specifically, I learned more about communicating with an extremely diverse group of clients and potential clients, and how to cater to their needs. Throughout my time at Gramercy, I was often tasked with email marketing, something I’ve learned about but never experienced firsthand. In the future, I’m thinking about starting my own small business or working in consulting. Knowing how to effectively communicate through email and cater to their needs is incredibly important regardless of which path I pursue. 

This truly was a one-of-a-kind summer, and I’m extremely grateful I got to go on this kind of trip. Last spring, I knew I wanted to do an international internship, but I wasn’t sure what city would be best. I’m so glad I chose Berlin as I absolutely loved the city and the great people I met.