What an eventful nine weeks. This marks the end of our weekly blog posts and the program as a whole, leaving me very bittersweet. I am very sad to be leaving Berlin, the friends, places, and things about the city I have come to love. However I am also excited to see my family and friends back at home, as this is the longest I’ve ever been away from my family. It has been a great week to cap off the trip, as I spent a lot of time with my friends who are visiting along with those from the program. It was a bit of a relaxing week at work, as we had a company-wide breakfast one morning and my department all met for lunch to celebrate my time at plista. I also took a lot of time to sort out any loose ends from my tasks over the eight weeks I was with plista, making sure I completed everything before leaving.
Personally I feel I have grown in a few ways. The biggest being independence, as I gained a ton of experience living life on my own. I’ve always been a person who has highly valued time alone, but now I feel confident in living alone all together, and navigating through new places. Being content and capable of functioning entirely on your own is an important skill to develop heading into life past college, which this program has helped me develop tremendously. Through this program I have also been able to develop my social skills. Navigating a city can be challenging, more often than not forcing you to communicate with locals despite a language barrier. Numerous times I experienced this exact scenario and have gained a better understanding of how to communicate with people without the use of many words.
Academically I also feel like I have grown, learning different things about the city of Berlin and the other places I was able to visit as well. Learning about new cultures and people isn’t purely educational, but definitely increases your overall understanding about different places, people, cultures, and more across the world. The history of the cities I visited was certainly an interest of mine. One interesting to note is when a city’s most historic moments happened in time, such as Germany/Berlin during WW2 and the Holocaust, or Greece/Athens with the acropolis and the stories behind Greeks gods/goddesses.
Professionally, without a doubt, is where I have grown the most. Heading into this program my biggest professional goal was to at the very least narrow down what part of marketing I wish to pursue as a career. I am happy knowing that I not only narrowed down those choices, but have learned that I love working in social media, and hope to make that my career following college. At plista I was able to gain insight on different marketing and sales positions, learning about their purpose for plista and typical tasks. Learning about the advertising industry was also very interesting, as I now can identify a lot of different ads which I didn’t formally know beforehand. Analyzing parts of the industry such as competitors and what they’re doing was a good learning experience as well, since I now have a better feel of more general parts of working for a company such as how we work to gain competitive advantage in whichever industry I will be a part of in the future.
As my work revolved around social media, I gained a great deal of knowledge about social media and how companies can use platforms differently from one another. Today and moving forward, social media will be a major marketing component for many companies, and can also be used in so many ways depending on your company’s goals. Social media can serve as a tool which drives brand awareness, generates leads, sells products, and more. My time at plista allowed me to learn a lot about how to use social media to promote brand awareness, but also gave me an idea of how it is used for the other objectives mentioned above.
I also learned a lot about work environments, but not exactly how I expected to. Another big thing I was excited for when coming to Berlin was my chance to finally experience a professional workplace through plista. Initially I was expecting to face some discomfort from the introduction to a workplace, as this is something I have never been a part of before. However, during my time at plista I have come to learn that what many of us envision when thinking of a workplace, is changing dramatically due to covid. I only worked two to three days per week in the office, and I even worked from home for more than that during many weeks of the program. I enjoy working from the comfort of my home, as in the right environment I can be more productive than working in an office, so I did not mind staying home often. It did teach me that the idea of a workplace is changing, as it has mainly been people working in offices until recently. This is a change I feel will suit some and bother others, but having the hybrid option I feel will benefit the workforce through things like productivity and employee retention for example.
All in all it has been an incredible experience for me, learning about Berlin through its people and culture, while gaining a lot of work experience, and discovering what I wish to pursue as a career following college.