Please provide a brief description of your STEP Signature Project. Write two or three sentences describing the main activities your STEP Signature Project entailed.
I spent 5 weeks in Ingolstadt, Germany working for Audi during the week and traveling around central Europe on the weekends. We were given a main project which involved heavy market research regarding autonomous vehicles and consumer research regarding what future drivers will want out of cars.
2. What about your understanding of yourself, your assumptions, or your view of the world changed/transformed while completing your STEP Signature Project? Write one or two paragraphs to describe the change or transformation that took place.
One of the things that changed was my understanding of how impatient I am. Being a part of a project for 5 weeks, it was easy to become distracted with other things beside the project and so I really gained a more profound understanding for endurance when it comes to work. I have learned what my weaknesses are and am now working to change them by slowing down a bit, asking for all points of view, and making a plan whenever I get into a long term project for how to tackle the problem.
In addition, I have experienced more of the world such as Austria, the Czech Republic, and Germany. Being a part of those societies has opened my eyes to just how it is to live in Europe. I have gained more of an appreciation for the people and their policies and as a result, now consider living in Europe sometime after I graduate.
3. What events, interactions, relationships, or activities during your STEP Signature Project led to the change/transformation that you discussed in #2, and how did those affect you? Write three or four paragraphs describing the key aspects of your experiences completing your STEP Signature Project that led to this change/transformation.
The group dynamic we had was very interesting. Some of us had very conflicting ways of approaching issues and methods of thinking. We had many arguments because of this and forced me to find creative ways to compromise and include my way of thinking in some way to the end product. Having a volatile relationship with one of our group members was one of the best things to happen to me as it really did increase my ability to put the project above all else and ignore any personal issues we may have had. I can definitely use this experience in any type of project based issue.
As for my experiences traveling, I have decided to further my traveling after I graduate and before I start a full-time job. The main inspiration for this was the couple days I spent alone in hostels before I flew out. While in Munich waiting for time to pass before my flight, I got to talking to my hostel roommates and other people in the hostel. I spoke to a professional Kuwaitan swimmer, an Australian show producer who took 4 months off to backpack, a Quebec woman, and a couple of New Zealanders who took 6 months off to backpack around Europe. Talking to all these different people who temporarily left their lives behind to travel, I gained the inspiration to really gain the courage to go out in the world and travel, even if it might be alone.
While living in Germany for 5 weeks, I really felt like I was a citizen of a new, welcoming country. All of us in Ingolstadt were paired with students from the local university, so that helped assimilate us. They introduced us to fellow students and made us feel like one of them. Towards the end, I could understand a couple signs in German and really felt like I got an invaluable culture lesson that school does not provide. I also learned that the Germans kind of do live up to their stereotype of not being the most comedic, but once they knew me, they were a very warm people.
4. Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your life? Write one or two paragraphs discussing why this change or development matters and/or relates to your academic, personal, and/or professional goals and future plans.
By learning about myself, the experience already paid for itself. I have gotten peoples’ feedback towards my work habits and now am able to improve on them to make myself the best consultant I can be in a professional sense and personal sense. In addition, the work experience will help in my search this summer for an internship next year in a very unique sense. Not many people can say they were independent enough to work in another country for an extended period of time, and even fewer people can say they did that for Audi.