Lessons from the First Few Months of an Internship in Germany

  1. Working with people from all over the world is truly very interesting. Especially finding out interesting and not so mainstream things about each country or culture, where people spend their holidays, some stereotypes are confirmed, and in general are hilarious.
  2. It is solitary, lonely if you will. Most trainees from other countries also feel it. Coming from Brazil, a quite gregarious culture, it’s hard cooking dinner for one. Both because of the amount of ingredients (it takes weeks for you to stop cooking for 4 people) and because you end up eating while watching series or, if you’re lucky, talking on Skype with family or friends, which is better, but still not the same thing. An interesting way to solve the food issue are the “kochboxes” (food boxes doesn’t sound so cool :P) that you can hire to be delivered every week in your apartment. They have an option with 3 meals for 2 people, which for me turned out to be food for a whole week at a time. All ingredients come in the right quantities, which helps you to avoid wasting food.
  1. You’ll learn to walk a lot. A comprehensive transportation system is a delight, trains here, buses there, Ubahn, Sbahn, Regio, Uber, Taxi, Car2go (get your international driver’s license before you travel!) … However, in the end you end up walking a ton everywhere. Shopping means carrying everything you got on your arms all the way and the fridges are generally the size of a minibar. No wonder, after all, prices will continue the same always and there are markets everywhere, except on Sundays.
  2. People and the town transform when it’s sunny. In March and April everyone was buzzing with expectation, you could feel in the air “summer is cominnnnggg”. When, in mid-June it started getting warm and sun started coming out (yessss) the frowns turned to smiles, people can be seen lying on the grass in the parks all day, everyone eating lunch on the lawns. The traditional Saturday or Sunday lizarding (yes, it’s a thing, thing of a happy iguana in the sun) in the sun on the grass in any from dozens of parks and eating barbecue is delicious!
  3. Eighteen to twenty something degrees is hot weather, as in wear-shorts-and-tank-tops-fan-yourself-hot. Only when it is sunny though, if it is cloudy it means cold enough to wear hoodies. When the heat comes, you discover that almost nowhere has air conditioning, in Hamburg, just one kind of subway train has it, and the others become saunas.
  4. At the internship itself, the thing is to fall in line. You have a month or so to adapt and start producing the expected level and delivering the goals. Of course, it all depends on the company, but, if you are lucky, you will work with people who also want to help each other, see the country and enjoy the “Feierabends” with you.
  5. A lot of people here have a Brazilian friends, have already been to Rio or somewhere in the Amazon. Despite this, few news about politics and economics filter into the media here. It’s frighteningly easy to disconnect from what happens in Brazil, if you’re not interested and go after it, you won’t know about anything less important than the impeachment in terms of media coverage.
  6. Summer is time for internships in Europe, bab.la for instance will host 8 new interns in July (may not seem like much, but when you take into account that the whole team here has around 10 people, is a crowd!) and all students who can afford it seek to do internships in July, August and September.

It’s an adventure, truly, and worth every second of it!

 

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