This week was extremely busy and filled with experiences that I will never forget! With regard to my internship, I had many tasks that I had to complete throughout the week. Since the internship is coming to a close, there is a bit of a time pressure I need to overtime to make sure I get all of my work done. I had to complete an Instagram spotlight that I have been working on about the impact of plastics on the environment. This task was fun and I had a good time researching and creating the media. I have never created media for a company before so I was a little nervous, but once I got the go-ahead from my manager, it went smoothly. Then, I had to organize and consolidate all of the quiz content on the drive into one master document. It felt like busy work and was extremely time intensive, but it was an important task because streamlining and making sure that information is easy to reach is vital. My boss approved my work and I could check that off of my list. My main task was to create a background paper about PFAS in drinking water in Germany and the EU. This task has been taking a while to work on because I had to get good sources to back up my paper. It has been a little difficult finding all of the laws and proposals that EU and Germany have been working on because of the language gap. Oftentimes, people publish summaries of their interpretations of the law, but it is important to read the original texts to make sure nothing got lost in translation. This is what took up the majority of the time, but I learned a lot through the whole process. It has been really rewarding to learn about how the EU and Germany work together to pass legislation. I completed the rough outline for the background paper just in time for my Thursday train to Prague.
This weekend, I traveled to Prague and had an amazing time. I went on a gorgeous hike on the side of a river in rural Czechia. The landscape there is so beautiful with sharp cliffs and tall trees. There were also small cottages dispersed throughout the trail. Although we did get lost for a bit and had to wait 2 hours for our train ride to the city, it was a great experience. Then, we spent the rest of the days there doing touristy things like eating chimney cakes and walking through Old Town. Although, one thing we did that was a little out of the ordinary was going to Sapa Market, or Little Hanoi, which was about 30 minutes from the city. There is a huge Vietnamese population in Prague due to the communist regime. This resulted in the Sapa Market which is now filled with so much good food and shopping. We ate pho, banh mi, and sugar cane juice while wandering the market.
During my time at this internship, I have found that Berlin has more of a low-context communication style. Everyone is direct in what they want and when they want it done. My manager meets with me every week to talk about my tasks for the week and explains what she wants from me. I feel that this would happen in the US, but it is still rather direct. Another example is when I was at an event at a soccer field with my boss and near the end of the event, he wanted me to go up to random people to ask them what their initiatives were. I was uncomfortable with his ask because a lot of the people at the event did not speak English and I didn’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable. I thought I was expressing my unease with it through my speech and body language and hinting that I didn’t really want to do it. But, he did not pick up on my cues and told me I couldn’t leave the event until I did it. So, I decided to be brave and go do it. I ended up running into an American at a stall and we had a great conversation. Other than small things like this, I feel that there isn’t a huge difference in communication styles between the US and Berlin. I feel that like in both places, you will run into more direct communicators and less direct communicators. It really depends on who you speak to.