Only three weeks left in Berlin! This past week was a great week – I went to Amsterdam!
I went with six of my friends who are also doing internships in Berlin this summer. We flew using EasyJet and arrived Friday afternoon. Something that surprised us was that they didn’t check our passports and we didn’t have to go through customs when leaving and entering Berlin and Amsterdam. When we were going from the US to Berlin, there were many security checkpoints. We were confused as to why there was such a big difference, but we learned that there are no border checks when traveling between countries in the EU.
The first thing we did was a boat tour through the canals. The entire city looks like it is right out of a fairytale. There are flowers everywhere and people biking.
On Saturday, some of us went to the Anne Frank House. I read Anne Frank’s diary to prepare for my visit. In the house, you can see the rooms where Anne Frank and seven others hid during World War II, including the Secret Annex. You can see the original diary that Anne wrote in. The eight people hiding were discovered and sent to concentration camps. Otto Frank, Anne’s father, was the only survivor. Anne died from typhus fever and exhaustion at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, just a couple of months short of her 16th birthday. Miep Gies was a Dutch citizen who helped hide Anne Frank and the others. She lived to be 100 years old and just passed away in 2010.
We also went to Westerkerk, which is a church in Amsterdam whose bells ring every 15 minutes. Anne Frank wrote in her diary that she could always hear the bells chiming (the church was very close to her house). She said she always found comfort in the bells ringing, even though others found them annoying. The bells were melted during the War and shipped to Germany to be used for tanks and weapons, but they have now been replaced.
We also went to the Rijksmuseum, which was a little boring, but there was a self-portrait of Van Gogh inside that he painted. Overall, Amsterdam was really beautiful, but it was also very overpriced and tourist-focused. My favorite part was the tall, crooked houses. I think they are beautiful and have a lot of character.
Throughout my internship in Berlin, I am developing both soft and hard skills. The soft skills I am developing the most throughout my time in Berlin are independence, confidence, the ability to advocate for myself, and flexibility in trying new things.
The hard skills I have gained at my internship are PowerPoint, reconciliations, SAP, Excel, and reviewing credit card statements. I have done many PowerPoint presentations for my supervisor about Sirius Facilities’ finances. I have also finished the reconciliation I was working on last week, and my supervisor was very happy with it. Additionally, I have been learning how to use SAP, but I do not like it that much because SAP is very outdated and confusing. Also, I am learning how to use Excel. Although I have used Excel before, I have learned a lot of new tricks and practical tips that have made it much easier to use.
My global competencies have also allowed me to navigate cross-cultural situations. For example, I am able to recognize my own and other perspectives. I understand that I come from America, so many of my values and beliefs are the same as other Americans. On the other hand, other people living in different countries have different beliefs and values. These differences make living in a new country so exciting and surprising. Also, recognizing these differences helps me to understand why other people may think and act the way they do.
Additionally, I am able to translate my ideas into appropriate actions to improve cross-cultural situations. Even when situations may be unfamiliar, I have been learning how to act fast to make sure we are safe, going where we need to go, etc. Lastly, I am able to communicate my ideas effectively with people who are different from me. The language barrier is sometimes tricky to navigate, but I am learning how to communicate despite it. I have learned a few German words, and I ask my coworkers for clarification when I do not understand what they are saying. We have gotten good at using Google Translate!
This weekend, my parents are visiting me, and we are going to Hamburg! I am very excited to see them. I can’t believe there are only three weeks left.