Another week has flown by and I can’t believe we’re already almost halfway through the program. This week, aside from my internship, I went to a lot of new places and explored more of Germany. On Tuesday, our program manager in Berlin, Britta, and the rest of the group got together at a really cool place not far from our hotel. It was an outdoor restaurant called Cafe am Neuen See, and it was right by the water in the middle of a park. There are a few students from other colleges that are also doing the same program, so it was nice to get to know them better too.
My internship has gotten much better this week. I’ve had more tasks to do and I now have more of a plan for what I’ll be doing for the rest of my time there. Most of the work I’ve been doing has been surrounding the impact that artificial intelligence will have on consulting companies, particularly compensation benchmarking firms like Vencon. I’ve also still been spending time in other departments and learning more about what they do, which has been interesting. There hasn’t been much in my internship or in general that has been too hard to adapt to. The only thing that has been an adjustment is how long it takes to get places. The trains and buses are so easy to use, but Berlin is so wide spread that most places we go require a pretty long commute compared to what I’m used to at home. My commute to work is about an hour each way, which is a lot more than most places I would go to at home. However, it makes it a lot easier that I don’t have to be at the office until 10 each day. I was most concerned about the language barrier, but there have been few situations where it has been a problem. Berlin is such an international city that there hasn’t been anything that has been an overwhelming culture shock. I expected that the language barrier would be more of an obstacle in other parts of the country, but even in Hamburg, everyone we encountered spoke English.
Over the weekend, I took a trip to Hamburg, which was about a 2 hour train ride from Berlin. Our train ride was quite an experience because we weren’t aware of how the seat reservations worked. We didn’t reserve specific seats with our tickets because it was more expensive and we didn’t think we had to. However, the train was extremely crowded and almost all of the seats were reserved. Above each seat, there’s a small screen that says from which stations the seat is reserved for, but we didn’t even notice the screens. We sat in whatever empty seats we could find and quickly got kicked out by the people who had them reserved, so I’m glad we know how the seating works for future trips. We got there Saturday morning and left Sunday night, so we had two full days to explore Hamburg, but I wish we could have stayed longer because I absolutely loved it. When we got there, we got breakfast and then visited Saint Michael’s Church, the most famous church in Hamburg. We were able to go all the way to the top to see a panoramic view of the city, and also in the crypt in the basement of the church. Behind the church, we walked through Krameramtsstuben, which are some of the oldest surviving residential buildings in Hamburg that survived bomb raids in World War II. There is a restaurant and a few small shops, which are in this cover picture. After that, we walked around the harbor and saw the Elbphilharmonie concert hall that was recently built right on the water. The building was beautiful and so much bigger than I expected. We then walked through Speicherstadt, the world’s largest warehouse district and looked around the city center. We got dinner at a cute restaurant and then got ice cream and sat by the water for the rest of the night. On Sunday, we spent most of the day walking along the lake and hanging out by the water, and then got dinner at a different restaurant on the water. Hamburg was a completely different vibe from Berlin. Hamburg’s architecture and location on the water as a port city gave it a completely different feeling from Berlin. Berlin also seems much more laid back and alternative than Hamburg, which was interesting to experience. Next weekend, we are going to Munich, so I’m really excited to see how it compares to Berlin and Hamburg.