Exploring the East Side Gallery

Week three of my internship is over! This week at Sirius Facilities, I have been continuing to update the information for suppliers on SAP. I have also been reviewing the company’s financial statements, such as their balance sheet. Using these financial statements, I am working with my coworker on a presentation about Sirius Facilities’ Financial Performance. My supervisor will then give this presentation to the Board of Directors in July. It is exciting to work on such an important presentation.

In the workplace, some parts of Germany’s culture have been difficult to assimilate with. For example, I am not used to eating lunch so late. I am not sure if this is German culture or just what my coworkers do, but most days we eat lunch at 2:30 pm. I am also not used to everyone being very dressed up for work. In the US, I have noticed that the dress code is very relaxed, even for business environments and offices, but I regularly see people wearing suits at Sirius Facilities. 

In general, Germany is not all that difficult to assimilate to. I am surprised by how well everyone speaks English. It is incredible that almost everyone I talk to can speak English. In the US, there is no second language that everyone knows. We take language classes in school, but they are more about learning the cultures of different countries. Some Americans are unable to hold a conversation in a different language. It is very interesting to see how well Germans can speak two languages. I am also surprised by the fact that I can go somewhere and hear multiple languages being spoken at once. For example, by the Brandenburg Gate or other tourist spots, I can hear German, English, Spanish, and sometimes Italian or Mandarin. 

There are, however, some prevalent differences I have noticed between Germany and English. First, the transportation in Germany does not compare to Pittsburgh. The buses and trains are so much cleaner, and they are on time. There are also no school buses, so young kids take public transportation to school. Also, you can not jaywalk here because there are so many buses, pedestrians, and bikes coming from all directions. 

Overall, I have found Germany to be somewhat similar to America. In both countries, there is a “work hard, play hard” mindset because citizens of both countries value their work and their lives. The only major differences are the language barriers and the prevalence of street art. In the US, graffiti is very frowned upon, but in Berlin, street art is common, and I think it ia beautiful. I think the street art is one of my favorite parts of Berlin. 

This week, I went to the East Side Gallery with my roommate, which is an open-air gallery featuring the longest surviving section of the Berlin Wall. We looked at the paintings on the Wall, including the famous painting: “My God, Help Me to Survive This Deadly Love.” My favorite painting was at the beginning of the gallery, which had a beautiful quote in Italian with an English translation painted below – “I painted over the wall of shame so freedom is ashamed no more. Inferno ruled too many years until the people chose the light. I put my faith in you, Berlin, and give to you my colours bright.”

After we saw the Gallery, we sat along the Spree River and watched the sunset. It was beautiful because there were many other people sitting around us who were also just relaxing and enjoying the evening. There was also a street band playing songs and listeners dancing and singing along. It seems like Germans are more comfortable with taking time to relax, recharge, and have moments for quiet and gratitude. In the US, there is a large culture of being on the go and appearing busy all the time. I like how we were able to just enjoy the evening passing. 

We also went to Sanssoucci Palace in Potsdam, which was where Frederick the Great, who was King of Prussia, spent his summers. The palace was very beautiful, and I enjoyed learning about the history. King Frederick seems like he was a funny and interesting person. On the tour, we learned that he loved cherries so much that he would buy a single cherry for 100 euros. We also learned that there are potatoes on his grave because he helped introduce potatoes to Prussia, which he knew would help his people survive the famine.

I am excited for next week, and I can’t believe how fast the program is going by. We are about halfway done!

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