April. Landing in the city that is going to be my home for almost three months, feeling fear and excitement at the same time.
I arrived to this city feeling overwhelmed, always using the “Entschuldigung” (“excuse” in German). I look back now and I remember how shocked I was by things that now I don’t even notice. People in the subway with a beer in their hands – in Spain you would get a fine of 400 euros for that. All the time surrounded of so many foreigners, listening to so many languages on the street. I learnt how to count in German, while I was on the Tram and a little girl was showing her dad how she learnt how to count until hundred: “eins, zwei, drei…”.
First day in Berlink, so scared again. The receiving in the office was warm, “Hey Cristina, coffee time.” and straight away they started to catch up about so many things related to the company (accommodation, work placement, welcome meeting…) that I could barely follow back then and now it became part of my daily life. Even though I have been
warned about the group incomings, I didn’t imagine the chaos, that arrives with each group
with project participants. “Cristina, today you’re going to do the city tour with Marta
Buffon and whenever you feel comfortable, you’ll do it on your own”. The second week of my internship I was already doing it alone, signing all the explanations to be even more clearer for the students.
The weeks went by and I was doing the cultural visits with the groups already on my own, scared of getting lost in the metro, trying to look like I am going to the German museums or the Bundestag daily. “Guys, we have to get off at the next stop”.
However, I will never forget the first cultural visit, that I had to do on my own: the Reichstag dome. I said to myself, what is the worst thing that can happen, broken audio guides? NO, an inappropriate T-shirt came into the scene of what-could-possibly-go-wrong, but finally we managed it.
I learnt a lot during this experience – from the city tours, during which the students would come next to me and would start telling me about their villages, how are they feeling about coming into this big city. Sometimes they would tell me really good stories about their great grandfathers in the Second World War, which contributed to the big amount of research that I did about Berlin and made me want to study more and more about it.
Photos, photos, photos! I am going back to Madrid with the memory of my phone full of pictures of students, which I tried to take while they were smiling and posing in front of my phone. I’m sure that once I will delete the 100 photos from my SD Card the advise of ‘low on space’ on the screen of my phone will disappear.
One of the things I will miss the most is hearing “Cristinaaaa, look what I have for you”, and then a mountain of papers would be waiting for me to get stamped.
Absolutely the internship in Berlink made my stay in the capital city of Germany way better. I learnt how to say “Good morning” in every language, spoken in the Agency (my polish vocabulary increased significantly because of the circumstances). I met amazing people, a well oil team, which every time a company would say “YES!” and accepts students for work placement or for professional visit, all of them would celebrate it, as sometimes it’s quite the achievement. And if a problem appears, they would coordinate themselves to solve it, again like a well oiled machine.
Absolutely a trip and experience to remember.
Article by Cristina – trainee in Berlink from Madrid, Spain.