Reflection Week

I had such a busy weekend last weekend, where I went to three different cities in two days, that I really did not feel like doing anything spectacular like the week before. Instead, I opted to just explore the nearby area of our hotel. I hadn’t been able to do that yet because I spent most of the other weekends going to other neighborhoods of Berlin that I had researched before I even got on the plane six weeks ago. Charlottenburg is actually a very nice quaint neighborhood, and I found a nice park to sit and relax in for a couple of hours. It was a beauftiful, Saturday afternoon, with the sun beating on my face and I was just watching people go back and forth, enjoying the famous summer weather that everyone talks about in Berlin. With all this time on my hands, I wanted to reflect on my time and what I have actually gained from this experience.  

I think my skills gained can be split into transferable or “soft” skills and technical or “hard” skills. As for soft skills gained, I would say that the most prominent is increased independence. I saw a lot of this going on in the discussion board posts today, where people have found that their managers/ companies to be much more relaxed than their presuppositions coming into this experience. With this relaxed style of management, I found that independence to do your tasks and come up with new ideas is an incredibly important skill to have. Independence is an ideal transferable skill. It can be carried from job to job, and it is always valuable because managers definitely don’t want to be micromanaging their employees and exhibiting independence will help them make sure that they won’t have to micromanage.  And independence is a global skill, not just something that is specific to Germany. I have been able to show how I am a competent employee through some of these cross-cultural competencies, like independence.  Another transferable skill that I have gained over this aboard experience kind of goes hand and hand with independence. Time management is a hugely important skill to have because of the ask that modern business requires. Here while working at, time management is key to success. The startup culture of putting out products as quickly as possible to be the first on the market requires exceptional time management skills. Because of this requirement, I have been fine tuning my time management skills for the past six weeks out of pure necessity. My boss doesn’t demand too much out of me, but I want to push myself beyond his expectation and this requires excellent time management skills. Once again, time management is an excellent skill that exhibits my global competency to help me in cross cultural situations, because being able to get stuff in on time or early is something that will always be accepted in American and German business culture. Neither would like to see late projects. It was not only soft, transferable skills that I have reflected on, but also the hard skills that I can tangibly display.

One of the most important hard skills that I have developed over these past six weeks is not something that I can necessarily put on the resume, but it will definitely help me with my immediate future goals. I plan on going to law school once I graduate from the University of Pittsburgh, and obviously there will be a lot of reading in law school and analyzing these readings. For the first couple weeks of the internship here in Berlin, I had to read hundreds (probably close to one thousand) pages worth of European Union medical device regulation law and international standards applied to most medical devices internationally. As I was reading, I got faster and faster to a point where I could not only read what I think is pretty fast, but also comprehend the important parts and extract them to summarize for my manager. This is an extremely technical skill that can be useful because of the ability to get through assignments and readings. I haven’t seen myself utilize this in a cross-cultural situation, but I’m certain that this could be useful in some way, maybe not as much as the soft skills, but still useful. I thought about these skills as I sat on that bench in Charlottenburg, and I decided that I hope that I can continue to develop these skills and create new skills that I can bring back into my future endeavors.

Leave a Reply