Author: Jana Balusikova
Edited by: Ana Alibegova, Stefan Alijevikj
“I regret not the things I’ve done, but those I did not do”, said the American actor Rory Cochrane. Namely, this quote inspired young Jana Balusikova from Slovakia to write down her thoughts and to share her experience with all of you who are doubtful to make a step out of the comfort zone. This is her story about the big step to live abroad and about the amazing time she spent in the German capital:
Few months ago I faced a tough decision about doing an internship in Berlin – on one side it sounded like fulfilling a dream, but I knew that would also mean that I should soon leave the place where I have lived all these years, the place that I know well and I find it convenient. In spite of the mysterious future, my decision was positive and now I know it was the best thing I could have ever done.
The first time I visited Berlin was two years ago, together with my classmates. As students of photography and media we decided to make an excursion, visiting Berlin’s numerous galleries. This city has a multicultural spirit, it is full of different nationalities, ideas and its pure freedom is felt on every corner. Here, whenever you want, you can express yourself freely and it feels absolutely natural. “These vibrations are those I am looking for” – I noted to myself, and felt that one day, I would come back to Berlin again. The truth is: I didn’t expect it would be so soon!
Few days ago I finished my 6-month internship in a company based in Berlin where I got an insight into marketing field and work in an international team. I could cooperate with nice colleagues from more than 40 different nationalities. Surprisingly new for me, culture differences exist not only in gestures, temperament or way of life, but in work strategies, as well. It is fascinating to see how different working styles are present at different markets. None of them is wrong – all of them are unique and adjusted perfectly for the target audience. But still, there is one thing we all have in common: we love cakes! Every person who has a birthday has to prepare a birthday cake for their co-workers. Having 180 employees it means: an amazing and delicious cake every second day of the year.
Nonetheless, Berlin is a dynamic city full of possibilities. At the moment, I cannot imagine a better place for an internship, especially for those who want to learn both German and English and who are eager to experience numerous cultures from many corners of the world. If you want to join the Berlin’s club, here are few tips for you:
1. To Impress = To Stand Out
You are most probably not the only one interested in the internship of that particular company. Therefore, it is vital to make a positive impression and to catch your potential employer’s attention already when sending the cover letter and the CV. Structure, colors, right choice of words – everything matters. I highly recommend available tools that might help you such as prezi, visualize.me or re.vu. My personal example shows that this strategy is successful, namely, I got the possibility to get an internship outside of my study field primarily because I showed interest and enthusiasm in both the CV and the cover letter, as well as during the Skype interview.
2. Accuracy = Half of Your Life
In Berlin, if a meeting is set up for 10 AM, it starts exactly at 10. Not five minutes before or after. The capital of Germany is in love with dates, time schedules, Google calendars and e-mail reminders – the more accurate, the better. All the banks, town halls or even Reichstag building are devoted to reservations and arrangements. Nothing is left on pure coincidence.
3. “Meet-up” is Your Friend
It does not matter if you work for a youth organisation, start-up company or you just want to improve your German language – you will find a group for everything through the Meet-up platform. Visual philosophers, dog lovers and even proud hipsters eager for some Turkish knowledge meet through this site regularly in local bars, coffee houses or other social places, exchange their skills, experiences and share nice moments together.
4. Not a Single Step without a Bicycle
No worries needed for cycling in Berlin! Cycling paths are almost everywhere, patient car drivers and mostly spacious roads give a chance also to the less adventurous ones. If you are a lucky person, you can buy an older but well functional bicycle for 50 euros. For comparison, one-month ticket for public transportation in the Berlin basic zone costs 78 euros, which makes the bicycle to be an obvious and a rational choice for the low budget style of the interns.
5. The First Step: to Try Out
Possibilities are endless. If you are interested in an internship (not only) in Berlin, you can either just keep on thinking and speaking about it, or you can be active and try it out. It is easy to surround yourself with opportunities. Try to subscribe to newsletters of the companies you would like to work for, follow their LinkedIn and Facebook profiles and the most important – contact them directly and show them what kind of talent you have.
To sum up, half a year ago, I made a decision and I do not regret because I decided to step outside my comfort zone and develop both personally and professionally. If you choose to do an internship abroad, I wish you to have a courage and to make the right choice by finding a place that can fulfill you and can provide you with much knowledge and experiences as possible.