Germany Global Project

With help from STEP, this May I traveled to Ingolstadt, Germany where I worked on a project for MediaSaturn, Europe’s leading consumer electronics retailer. Travel in Europe is relatively cheap, allowing my group travel to different cities on the weekends.

Personally, Germany had always seemed similar to America. Aside from the language barrier and cuisine changes, I was not too nervous to travel abroad; nonetheless, I found the reactions of my peers peculiar after I told them my summer plans. In most American history books, we briefly discuss Germany. Typically, they are only discussed in the harsh light of World War II. Our news outlets allow us to gain some information about their current political climate, but we mostly focus on our own. I came into this project with an open mind and I was surprised when I started talking to the German people and hearing about their experiences. After this trip, my view on country’s identities has become even clearer.

A few coworkers traveled to America during our stay in Ingolstadt. When they returned, I asked their opinion on cultural differences. I was stunned to hear that they were jealous of our American pride. I had always assumed that everyone loved their home country. Everywhere they traveled they would see the American flag draped in lawns or talk to waitresses gushing about our country. Even though our political landscape is divided, it seems that most people still hold pride in being American. They told me that the German people typically never act in this way. One employee told me, “You will never hear a German speak highly of their heritage.” Although there were truly terrible acts committed years ago, it is important to realize the separation of individual people versus their country’s entire history. America’s history is not clean, nor the rest of the world’s. I do not believe that people should continue to feel ashamed for a wrong that they have tried for decades to right. By this time, they have paid their dues and our textbooks should show how they have transformed to aid in less ignorance.

At lunch one day, a fellow colleague struck conversation about the social differences between our cultures. He was worried that my fellow coworkers were being distant and antisocial. This tends to be the stereotype of German business. People have friends at work and separate friends for after work, compared to American culture where it is common for work friends to bleed into friends after work. He mentioned that even American strangers were friendlier than most Germans. For example, if you are lost in the U.S. nearly any stranger will give you detailed instructions to your destination while most Germans will give you enough instructions to make you leave them alone and nothing more. He mentioned that German people can be overly direct compared to Americans where we give a positive twist to any negative feedback. This can sometimes be construed as curt and rude. MediaSaturn is the anomaly to these stereotypes. Everyone I met was incredibly cheery and helpful. This showed me once again that it is impossible to categorize a large mass of people into a simple sentence or phrase.

On our last weekend, we decided to stay in home city and attend an event hosted by the local university. We knew a few of the students already. They are also participating in the program and will be coming to OSU in the fall. Every German student could speak English relatively well, making it easy to strike up conversations. This is where I met my friend, Alex. She was telling me of her time spent at an American high school. One of the teachers had asked her if she would come in to their class and discuss what it was like to live in Germany. After a brief speech, she opened the floor to questions. This is where, adolescent unawareness becomes harmful and hurtful. One student asked if her dad was a Nazi and if he had ever killed anyone. I understand that this was only one student who was ignorant of the disrespect they were showing toward my friend, but this student was not the only one who asked a question of this nature. A few questions were less accusatory, but still oblivious. There were limited inquiries about any topic that did not follow a stereotype. This not only repulsed me when I heard, but then I heard that these were high school students in a wealthy neighborhood and I became confused. Shouldn’t these people have more knowledge on this topic than those with limited access to information? This discussion put back into perspective, that not every person around my age gives much thought to other cultures. I do not resent those who do not understand, but I wish that we would focus on our current society as well as their histories, otherwise people believe topics blend over decades when they do not.

What I have drawn from these experiences is that every country has a predetermined identity. There will always be stereotypes and after talking to people from those areas, you may even see similarities. Before this trip, I had one goal that trumped the rest: Beat my personal ignorance. This will be a lifelong battle, because there will always be topics that I do not understand; nonetheless, it is important to be able to look at everything and everyone with an open mind and ask thought provoking questions. You cannot assume to understand a culture based on one person or one historic event. This trip has helped me better understand the global landscape which is a helpful skill for my future career.

 

STEP Signature Project Reflection

 

  1. 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 participated in an internship as STEP Signature Project. I worked in a Financial Company, assisting the company with some projects, such as the portfolio research, database management and worksheet development.

  1. 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.

I think my STEP Signature Project is meaningful and interesting. As my expectation, I had a better understanding about my major. I knew more about how Finance major functions in the market and how the knowledge of Finance applies to actual life. My view of the Financial world was shaped. I understand that there are tons of things that I need to learn. This project influenced me a lot. It is a transition to me from learning in class to practical application and from a student to an employee.

  1. 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.

Taking with colleague and manager contributes to deeper understandings of Finance world. My manager and colleagues are experienced. They told me about the company, the field and their experiences. They taught me how to get through stuffs when I was confused. I learned that there are various paths to work in Finance field that I can choose. Talking to other interns also helps me to learn.

The projects I did helps me know about how Finance functions in the market. I worked for a Financial Advisor Company, thus I had the opportunities to learn about working as a financial advisor, which is one of the pathway to work in Finance area. I knew about what each project did and how to smoothly walk through those projects. Even though they are basic, I can still learned.

The whole Signature project made me understand that there were many things that I was supposed to know but did not know. In the past, I only knew that I should learn more but did not have the actual direction, which I have after the Signature project.

  1. 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.

After the Signature project, I have a better understanding about applying the knowledge to actual life, which is a big progress to me. In addition, I have a clearer direction in studying as well as working in Finance field. Having a clear goal is important all the time.

At the meantime, I got the chance to learn more about American cultures, because I work for the company in Chicago. I got the chance to experience interesting things in Chicago and meet lovely people. This is what I am always trying to do. It is significant to me.

What my internship has taught me–Xinyi Wang

I was doing a summer internship in Chicago through the Summer Global Internship Program offered by Fisher. During the internship, I mainly worked as an Executive Assistant to the Chief Operating Officer of the company. Some of the activities I have done during my two-month here included: building the Partner Compensation Model and the Pricing Template for Portfolio Managers, creating deals for specific Portfolio Managers, preparing research reports and participating in prospecting and marketing activities

 

I always wanted to experience how it was like to work in the United States, a place full of opportunities and possibilities, and this internship helped me to get the entrepreneurial experience by working closely with my experienced supervisor. Here’s what he has taught me to become successful in my future career path:

 

The first key to success is to have flexibility dealing with the changing environment. In the book “Who moved my cheese?” the author uses a simple parable to reveal profound truths about dealing with change so that you can enjoy less stress and more success in your work and in your life. He addressed how important it is for you to change when things get change, and adapt yourself accordingly.

 

The second key to success is to have the interest. As he mentioned, there are three questions you need to think before accepting a job offer: “Where do you want to work?” “Who do you want to work with?” and “Where can you find your success?” “Don’t just work for money,” he said, “you can’t be successful if you don’t have interest in your job.” He left the company where he had worked for more than ten years when the company’s culture which he liked was changed. Now he is still working in the same area which he is passionate about, but what’s more, he is working with the right people and building the right company culture.

 

The third key to success is always showing your opinion. This is also part of the constructive suggestion he gave me. I was involved in many useful and meaningful meetings, but I hardly joined the discussion or asked questions. “Don’t fear to add your value to the meeting,” he said, “you could always provide us with a different perspective.”

 

People asked about the plans you have for the future all the time. My supervisor told me that he believed “Where do you see yourself in five/ten years?” was the silliest interview question. Just as my first point, everything keeps changing every moment. You’ll have to make decisions that might have big influence on you at any point. If you were to ask me one thing I’ve learned from this internship, I understood that the opportunities need to be seized and decisions need to be made throughout my life. I understood that there was no point to be afraid and myself needed to be trained to adjust to this changing world.

STEP – Clinical diabetes internship

For my STEP Signature Project, I worked as a research intern at Endocrinology Associates, Inc. in Columbus during the summer of 2017. The research we conducted focused on clinical diabetes, but also included studies for individuals with recent cardiac events. During this internship, I learned how to prepare blood samples, take vitals, and most importantly, how to appropriately interact with our many patients.

 

Before interning at this facility, I was extremely interested in the medical arena and was planning on pursuing a medical degree. Although I really enjoyed working with the patients and seeing how they progressed throughout the summer, my experiences doing lab work felt like a better fit for me. I am now exploring the possibility of attending graduate school and earning a PhD, or possibly a dual MD and PhD. The opportunity to conduct research this summer definitely shaped how I am going to move forward academically and professionally.

 

My interest in research definitely grew when I was working in the lab, preparing blood samples and the other labs. The attention to detail and independent work in the lab felt like a perfect fit for me. I was able to focus on the tasks at hand, and I felt quite comfortable being able to keep track of the different samples for multiple patients at once. All of the lab work was time sensitive, and although there were so many things happening at once, I truly thrived in that environment.

 

Working with the patients provided a completely different set of challenges and required a completely different sent of skills. Toward the end of the summer, I became more comfortable explaining details of the protocols to the patients, but overall, the interactions with those individuals was out of my comfort zone. Being able to articulate important medical information is a very special skill, and it is one that I have not fully developed yet.

 

I am not totally ruling out the desire to go to medical school, but through this position, I have come to love the more individual work that is done in the lab. I am still very passionate about both medicine and research and the overlapping of the two. However, I feel like I would be more comfortable and a lot happier in a more independent capacity, which is also possible in certain medical doctor positions.

 

This change is extremely significant in my life because I always thought I knew what I wanted to do: go to college, go to medical school, and become a family doctor. Now, I have no desire in the slightest to pursue family medicine, and have instead been exploring the route through medical school it would take to become a pathologist or radiologist, which require very limited patient interactions and more independent work. I have been speaking with some pathologists at the Medical Center at OSU, and all of them have advised me to get my MD and if I still feel the drive for research, then I will be able to do that as a medical doctor. However, if I am interested in a more involved research position, getting my PhD along with my MD is also a practical route.

Many important decisions are ahead of me, but my experience as a clinical research intern gave me a better idea of what I am interested in spending my life doing. I am so grateful for the opportunity to explore a different side of medicine and learn a lot about myself along the way. I am so excited to continue to learn what direction is the best for my career. I have recently joined a research lab at the Medical Center that will hopefully make my path a little more clear.

I wrote a weekly blog during my time as a research intern. You can see some of the pictures and read in a little more detail what I worked on at this website: https://lizzie4197.wixsite.com/website

STEP Project Reflection

  1. 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 was a Global Markets Intern at the National Bank of Abu Dhabi in Mumbai. I worked primarily with the Head of Strategy and the Executive Director of Global Markets to help craft existing client profiles and target new clients operating within India and the GCC region. An NDA prohibits me from disclosing any particulars.
  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.

Before this trip, I had never been outside of the United States. I knew that going to India would have to consist of an open mind and an appreciation to Southern Asian culture and all that entails. Getting off the plane in Mumbai I saw just how largely understated my assumptions of poverty were. Seeing the drastic change of these living conditions of extreme poverty next to extreme wealth made me empathize for how these people were living. After being there however, I realized that the people who live like this have no other option, some living with only a pair of shoes and a make-shift shanty. I grew to appreciate what America, as a culture, endures and has, as well as, grew to appreciate and accept the conditions I saw while away.

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.

As I mentioned previously, I am now acutely aware of the conditions and differences in income that exist between class groups in Mumbai. I acquired this knowledge through firsthand exposure to the described areas including most notable, the Dharavi slums. These slums are one of the largest in Asia and the largest in India (this is where Slumdog Millionare was filmed). As I landed and made my way to the hotel, I noticed in this early morning hour that there were so many people on the streets working or interacting with friends and that almost every “house” I saw was a shanty. Just hundreds and hundreds of shanty’s lining the streets.

Within my first week in India, we (the group of interns at NBAD), had already traveled most of Mumbai from the most wealthy parts to the poorest. We had been to Colaba and resided in Kurla. The first week we were able to explore Kurla (an impoverished suburb of Mumabi) thoroughly. We walked the main road, which was heavily populated with people and very dirty and rural to find what we needed, as it was the first week there. We came across people that looked at us very oddly as well as people that would get down on their knees and kiss their hands towards us. This was a particularly enriching experience for me because it helped me realize that americans may not be something these people have ever seen or encountered before. There was also a steep learning curve regarding the fact that we wanted to fit in with how the people go about their daily lives (washing clothes in the street, milking goats, baking and preparing their modest corner stores for the day), as well as maintain safety precautions and be respectful as outsiders.

Finally, I just wanted to touch on what many people often underscore in their perceived images of India, as did I, is that it is a country of great wealth and one that has an extremely rich culture. Within Mumbai, I was exposed to some of the largest pockets of extreme wealth I had ever seen. For example, we worked in the area of Mumbai comparable to New York City (BKC), in a bank in a 12 floor building above one of two Ferrari dealerships in India. In areas such as Colaba, Churchgate, Worli, Lower Parel, Bandra, and Malabar Hill I saw everything from Lamborghinis, Ferraris and chauffer driven Rolls Royce’s cruising through towns to malls with more top designer brand name stores than I had ever seen in one location before. Another very fine example of wealth demonstrated in Mumbai is Mukesh Ambani’s home. He is the wealthiest person in India and built a $1 billion dollar home for his family of 5 and staffs over 400 servants. I bring these things up because when the average person pictures India and have not been before, they see the poverty in their minds and nothing else.. well this is completely wrong. Although India is still very much a developing country and many of its residents live in poverty, the entire country cannot and should not be generalized as being poor.

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.

My time in Mumbai, India was transformative because I was able to see poverty and extremely poor living conditions that do not exist on a large scale in the United States. This alone, helped me put my life into perspective and be truly grateful for how I am able to go about living. It motivates me to want to do more to better communities around the world and make that accessible and desirable for americans to want to help other communities so we can all coexist happily and peacefully on this planet.

This experience was also extremely helpful with guiding my on a career path but I believe the experience of India will be remembered for most things outside of work. The hospitality demonstrated of people, the common stereotypes being broken and me witnessing that with my own eyes, and interacting with every day people whether that be on the streets, or getting to know our uber drivers on the way to and from work. It also made me appreciate greatly how blessed I am to live with simple things like clean running tap water and stable electricity. This was my first time traveling outside the United States and I am so exited to explore more of this amazing world we live in. This trip was just the beginning of my travels!

Audi Internship

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.

STEP Reflection- My internship in Germany

  1. Please provide a brief description of your STEP Signature Project. Write two or three sentences describing the main activities your STEP Signature Project entailed.

 

My team and I did a five-week long consulting project in Ingolstadt, Germany for Media-Saturn, a major European consumer electronics retailer. We worked on helping them develop a model for shop-in-shop that they could use to rapidly expand in areas where they didn’t currently exist.

 

  1. 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.

 

I learned a lot about myself while on this trip. I thought that I would struggle a lot more to adapt to a different culture and work environment than I actually did. From a work perspective, all of my coworkers were really nice to me and I found that if I took an interest in their lives and work, that I could make a connection with them the same as if I was in the US. The language barrier was a little difficult to overcome, but I found that if I tried to speak a little German, everyone I interacted with was super understanding. That made the transition easier too. I gained a lot of confidence in my ability to adapt and take care of myself in different situations.

 

I was really surprised by how much everyone I met in Germany knew about U.S. culture and current events. Growing up in America, I found that I kind of grew up in my own cultural bubble, and assumed that was the case for everyone else around the world, but I realized that Germans tended to know a lot about what is going on not only in Germany, but in the rest of Europe, the U.S. and even Asia.

 

  1. 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.

 

Before I did this STEP project I had never had to work with people for whom English wasn’t their first language. I was really nervous about starting work and transitioning into a new culture, but the first meeting I had with the members of the department I worked for pretty much dissipated all of my anxiety. The more I got to know my coworkers, the more I realized that work isn’t really all that different between home and Germany. The people I worked with at Media-Saturn were really interested to hear about our experiences in Europe and our lives in America. These relationships I built helped me succeed in working there.

 

The other experience I had in Germany was having to cook for myself for the first time. I never had to shop for groceries and plan/make my meals before. The first time I went to the grocery store, I accidentally bought whole coffee beans instead of ground coffee, and I almost cried about it because I’m addicted to coffee and it would be another day before I could get some. But after that, I slowly learned how to buy and order food in German and by the end of my time there, it felt completely natural.

 

Many of my experiences regarding German life and culture came from spending time with students that we were paired with from the Ingolstadt School of Management. They all knew so much about American culture, listened to the same songs and watched the same movies as we did. It also kind of blew my mind that they grew up learning and speaking English, as well as German and one other language (usually French or Spanish). They also knew a lot more about American politics and current events than I did about Germany. People in Europe have a much more global view of the world than Americans do, which I think is a good thing.

 

  1. 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.

 

Having worked in a different country where I was unfamiliar with the culture and the language gave me all kinds of confidence going forward in my professional career. If I can adapt and thrive in that environment, then I can make it anywhere in the US for sure. This experience improved my communication skills, teamwork, and adaptability. From a personal standpoint, I feel like there is a greater need to develop and maintain a global perspective than I previously thought. Traveling made me not take everyday aspects of my daily life for granted, and made me realize that there is another way of doing things. For instance, I’m used to driving everywhere to do things and get around, but in Ingolstadt, you didn’t really need a car for anything and could easily get by with a bike or walking. In the future, as I go into a world that needs good problem solvers, I think that keeping an open mind and remembering that there are many ways to go solutions to everyday tasks and situations will serve me well.

STEP Reflection

Please provide a brief description of your STEP Signature Project.

I interned with elected Member of Parliament Charlie Angus. I studied his position, assisted in office management, wrote policy memos, conducted research, and attended meetings for and with MP Angus.

What about your understanding of yourself, your assumptions, or your
view of the world changed/transformed while completing your STEP
Signature Project?

I personally went through a transformation in the sense that I realized what my true passion lay in. I was a World Politics/Anthropology major before my project, and by the end I was fully committed to the idea of transferring to the Glenn college of Public Affairs and becoming a Public Management, Policy, and Leadership major. The work involved in public policy seemed to come almost naturally to me, as my first assignment went overwhelmingly well. I received praise from MP Angus’s Members Assistant who oversees all drafts of policy memos, which cemented my decision to make this major change.

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?

This transformation was brought about through my close proximity to public policy work in the office of Charlie Angus. Much of what I was instructed to do while working for MP Angus focused on researching certain bills, proposals, and policy theories. This constant proximity to public policy work caught my attention immediately, and prompted me to question whether or not I was going into the correct field. In part I lay the sole reason for this life change on the work proximity, however several people assisted in pushing me towards making this decision.

First of all my boss, MP Angus, was instrumental in this change. He went out of his way to mentor me and provide me with time to discuss my goals and future plans with him. I cannot express how grateful I was to be able to pass my plans and goals by an elected official of Canada, as his perspective was utterly priceless. He suggested I make short term achievable goals to help me get the ball rolling, and from there I can set my sights on larger more complex goals. I made my short term goals graduating with a degree in Public Policy, and working on the campaign of a gubernatorial candidate for the Ohio 2018 Gubernatorial Race. I have since achieved one of the two goals, as I now work as an intern for Betty Sutton, soon-to-be the new Governor of Ohio (or so I hope). These goals would not have been made if it were not for Charlie.

Additionally, Charlies Members Assistant (MA for short) was an incredible mentor. At 26 he wasn’t much older than myself, however he possessed a job that I wanted more than anything else in the world. He taught me the intricacies of the public policy world and provided me with the educational tools I needed to work on Charlies public policy memos. His direct mentorship was crucial to my decision to change majors.

Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your
life?

This transformation has severely effected my life, in that I have an entirely different career path to consider now. I originally intended to go to Law School, potentially traveling to the Netherlands and finding work with the international courts of the Hague. I now find myself intrigued by the thought of staying in Columbus after graduation and working on local public policy through working with the Governor of Ohio, the Statehouse, or City Council. This post-graduation work would provide me with excellent experience in the field of local politics and local policy work. After this I could go back to school for a Graduate Degree in Public Affairs/Public Policy and work State level public policy.

STEP Signature Project

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1. Please provide a brief description of your STEP Signature Project.

My team and I spent 5 weeks in Ingolstadt, Germany, immersed in the culture, while working alongside a team of Audi employees at their headquarters. We were given a project surrounded by the future of autonomous driving.

 

2. What about your understanding of yourself, your assumptions, or your view of the world changed/transformed while completing your STEP Signature Project?

I always hoped that one day, my college experience would take me across the world. The idea of traveling abroad was a dream, and this summer that dream came true and exceeded my expectations. I exceeded my expectations. Prior to leaving the US I knew I was taking a risk. My dream was always to travel, therefore, I never imagined myself abroad for “work” purposes. When I applied to the Global Projects Program I did so knowing I was going out on a limb. I knew I was capable of being successful in a global work environment, but I wasn’t sure if this was exactly what I wanted from my abroad adventures. The change that took place was simple. My desire to travel grew during my STEP Signature Project and my 46 days abroad.

 

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?

We traveled independently on the weekends during our 5 weeks in Germany, and afterwards, I traveled with friends through Amsterdam and London. In total we visited locations around Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Amsterdam, and London that had such an impact on my experience, and during my travel in London I did so all by myself- something I never thought I’d have the courage to do.

Experiencing the history of the places we visited was something I never imagined to have fallen in love with. I am no history buff, and I never have been. In fact, I always hated history class growing up. I found it old and boring. Thankfully, as I get older I have found a deeper appreciation for our world and what society in the past went through to get us where we are today. Not only was the world around me so intriguing, but listening to the German students and their friends tell stories about their travels and the ease of travel in Europe made me want more. I want to see more and experience more.

Most people we came in contact with have visited 5-10+ countries throughout their lives and will continue to do so. I quickly learned their desire to see the rest of the world around them. That desire is contagious. I always knew I was one who wanted to live a life of travel, but I’m more eager to do so after being abroad. This trip taught me how much life there is to live, so I hope to start my journey by seeing my own country. Which, unfortunately, is something I have yet to fully take advantage of.

 

4. Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your life?

Success can be defined in many different terms. To me, success is a measure of my happiness in life. If I have the opportunity to live a happy, healthy, empowered life full of friends and family, I will experience success. This trip has opened my eyes to the life I truly want to live, and since coming home I have added to my list of ways to experience success. Along with health, career, friends, and family, I have added travel. I desire to see the world and experience it with those I love and care about. In combination these things will allow me to further my successful career as a Buckeye and seek more success in life. With this, I have the STEP Signature project and Global Projects Program through Ohio State University and the Fisher College of Business to thank for my unforgettable experience abroad.

 

Germany Internship Reflection

  1. Please provide a brief description of your STEP Signature Project.

I traveled to Ingolstadt, Germany for 5 weeks to work for Media-Saturn for my STEP Signature Project. My team and I were tasked with developing a blueprint for a shop-in-shop model for MediaMarkt stores that would be placed in Tesco grocery stores.

  1. What about your understanding of yourself, your assumptions, or your view of the world changed/transformed while completing your STEP Signature Project?

I learned that I am much more adaptable than I thought before I went on this trip. There were a lot of obstacles that we encountered when we were working on our project for Media-Saturn, when we were trying to adapt to the German culture and language, and when we were traveling to different cities around Europe. I generally like to have a set plan and stick to it but that wasn’t always possible on this trip. I feel like I am now more flexible when plans change and am able to adapt more quickly which will definitely be helpful in the future.

My view of the world changed when I realized how globally aware people in Germany and across Germany are. I think that people in the United States are in their own little bubble and many don’t pay attention to what is going on in the rest of the world. In the US, a lot of people only speak one language and some haven’t even traveled out of the country. In Germany, it was completely different. Almost every student has to learn at least one language, mainly English, and most of the students I met knew at 3 or 4. They are also very well-traveled because Europe isn’t that big and it’s easy to travel from one country to another. I think that makes them better-rounded in terms of knowing what different cultures are like and understanding what is going on in the world.

  1. 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?

There were multiple events on the trip that forced me to be more flexible and adaptable. During the internship, my team and I had to be flexible in order to deliver a product that would be valuable to the company. There were some instances where the company would change its mind and want us to change course or want us to dive deeper into an area that we thought we had already finished. For example, the company wanted to incorporate a treasure hunt concept into the shop-in-shop model but told us when we only had a short time left to work on the project. We had to think fast and be efficient in coming up with our ideas and rationale in order to give them what they asked for. Also, the group had to be very flexible when we were traveling. We would have to be very flexible when were deciding how to get to different cities, whether that meant sleeping on a bus through the night to get to Berlin or waking up at 5am to take a train to Salzburg. While we were site seeing, some places were closed or we were unable to visit them so we had to be flexible and adaptable and find other things to do while we were in different cities. For example, many places in the state of Bavaria are closed on Sundays so while we still wanted to get that cultural experience, we had to adapt and figure out the places that would still be open on Sunday.

My view of the world changed mainly through the people that my group met on our trip. We were paired with German buddies who were super helpful with showing us around the city we were staying in and helping us with the language. But they also gave us a lot of insight into German culture and introduced us to other people in the city. They taught us about what education was like in Germany and how they have to learn all these different languages. We learned that where you go to college and the level of the college you attend is decided very early on and is based on exams. There are three main education tracks in Germany that were designed for people to either have normal jobs (ex. working as a store clerk), jobs where you got to work in an office, and jobs where you managed other people. When we were traveling we also noticed that almost everyone spoke English no matter where we went and there were people from all over Europe. This really showed us the influence that the United States and other English speaking countries have on non-English speaking countries. It was very difficult for people to get a job with these large companies in Europe if they didn’t speak English and many companies hired English teachers to teach their employees how to speak better English.

  1. Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your life?

Being flexible and adaptable is really important in the business world because things are always changing and you need to be ready for anything. I know that this change will help me throughout my college career and beyond.

Traveling to a new country and getting to explore Europe has been such an amazing experience and it’s made me want to go back and travel more. I developed a more global perspective and now I actually pay a lot of attention to what is going on around the world. Living in a different country for an extended period of time was also a good experience because I had to problem solve a lot just to figure out how to read menus, and I had to learn how to communicate with people who didn’t speak the same language as me. I now feel more comfortable traveling to another country that I have never been to and I know that I will be able to find my way around and have a great experience.