Leading up to Takeoff!

Hi! My name is Jenna Hafner and I’m a rising senior in the College of Business Administration, where I’m double majoring in Accounting and Business Information Systems. I’m from Buffalo, NY and the this will be my first time in Europe. In high school, I was supposed to go to Spain (Madrid and Gijon) as part of an exchange program. I had an exchange student living with me in the Fall of my senior year, and I was supposed to live with her in Spain in the spring, but unfortunately it was cancelled due to Covid. At Pitt, I’m a member of LEAP club (League of Analytics Professionals) and Sigma Sigma Sigma

Outside of school, I love exploring all of the neighborhoods in Pittsburgh, especially Shadyside and Lawrenceville. One of the reasons why I chose to go to Pitt is because I love to be in a city and Pitt is the perfect mix of both a city and campus. One of my favorite things to do is try new restaurants and see new things, so I’m really excited to have so many cool places to see within walking distance of where we will be living in Berlin.

This summer, I’ll be participating in the International Internship Program in Berlin, Germany. I’ll be interning at Vencon Research International, which is a business research firm that focuses on compensation metrics for clients all around the world. The company is headquartered in Berlin, but has locations in Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and Canada. This will be my first real internship experience because in past years, I’ve worked as a server and an office assistant.

I chose the International Internship Program because I think gaining international work experience at such a young age is a once in a lifetime opportunity. There a very few people that have the chance to intern in a different country, and I’m so excited to have the opportunity. Having the experience of living in a completely foreign environment for 2 months with teach me things that will be useful in all aspects of my life. Professionally, I’m not entirely sure what field I want to go into, so I’m hoping my internship allows me to gain some insight on what it is I want to pursue as a career. Participating in this program will also allow me to expand my professional network internationally and build relationships with people that I would not be exposed to without the program. This summer, I knew I wanted to do one of the international internship programs, but I was debating between IIP Berlin and IIP Dublin. I ultimately chose Berlin, because I feel that it is a better fit for the type of career I want to pursue. Berlin is an economic powerhouse and a hub for international business and I’m so excited that I will be living in the middle of the city.

While I’m really excited about going to Berlin for the summer, I’m also very nervous. I think the unknown aspect of the trip is what is making me the most anxious, because there are so many things that I’m unsure about. I don’t know what exactly to expect from my internship and what the day to day life will be like in Berlin. However, everyone I interviewed with and talked to from Vencon was extremely nice and welcoming, so that eases my anxiety a little bit. I’m also anxious about my traveling experience to Europe. I’ve flown by myself many times in the United States, but I’ve never flown internationally. I know the public transportation infrastructure in Berlin is really complex, so I’m hoping I am able to navigate it to get to the hotel and to my internship. I’m really close to my family as well, so leaving them for 2 months will be difficult, but I’m sure by the end of the program, I won’t be ready for it to end.

Personally, I think the International Internship Program will allow me to develop immensely. Being immersed in a new culture for an extended period of time will prepare me to be adaptable and flexible in any situation I face in the future. As I have never been to Europe before, this experience will allow me to gain a new appreciation of another culture and its customs. International business is something I am interested in but I’m not sure yet if I want to pursue it, so I’m sure the internship program will help me decide on that. I can’t wait to be able to explore and learn about the city, and I think the Internship program is the perfect opportunity to learn about Berlin both professionally and culturally.