Berlin: Learning, On and Off the Job

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CIEE Berlin

CIEE Berlin

Hallo! My name is Julius Co and I am a fourth-year from UC San Diego studying computer science. In Summer 2022 I studied abroad as part of the CIEE Global Internship program. As part of my program, I worked at Senvo, which is a small tech startup focused on inefficiencies in shipping logistics. Our product is a web app designed to comb through customers’ shipments and discover any discrepancies in billing. For example, some shipments may be billed incorrectly for their weight class, while others spend weeks in transit only to arrive at the incorrect destination. At Senvo I’ve worked on data analysis and authentication in Java, as well as data storage design. I learned how version control is utilized in larger team projects, how to effectively communicate issues, and how feedback, both positive and negative, can be valuable to me and the team.

I’ve had a great time working at Senvo. The team in Berlin is composed of three CIEE interns and our supervisor. The work culture is very relaxed so we often chat with each other; we also have a team lunch every Wednesday. We talk about culture, infrastructure, driving, food, the drinking cultures in our respective countries, etc. It’s a fantastic way to understand Germany past the idealized version we often picture when we think of it as Americans.

Berlin is an incredible city and has such a different atmosphere compared to SoCal. Kreuzberg, where CIEE is located, is very urban. Most people take public transportation so there’s far less traffic, sidewalks are wide and have accompanying bike lanes, and the streets are lined with small, densely packed stores. Not too far is Schöneberg, where my office is located. The streets are cleaner, there’s a mall nearby with large chains like dm or Edeka. After work it’s not uncommon to see people having a beverage outside, people playing with their dogs, and a farmer’s market every Thursday. Further out is Potsdam, which is completely different from Berlin. Buildings aren’t as tall and the streets are very historic and well-maintained. 

As great as Berlin and the surrounding areas are, I highly recommend venturing beyond that. Unfortunately I never traveled outside of Germany, but I did get a chance to go to Hamburg. Hamburg is also fairly distinct from Berlin. The city is a mix of older architecture combined with modern, sleek buildings. There are beautiful parks, churches (Church of St. Michael), and luxury shopping districts (Jungfernstieg). I only took a day trip there, but there was so much to see.

I highly recommend studying abroad as the experience is really something special. In addition to the internship experience, Berlin is also just a g great place to be. Here are some quick recommendations: Reichstag/Bundestag (reserve the free tour ahead of time and make sure to confirm it), Tempelhofer feld, Spy Museum, Stasi Museum, Museum Island, and Charlottenburg palace. In Hamburg I recommend Planten un Blomen, Church of St. Michael (climb the tower), Hamburg Rathaus, and St. Pauli.

If you have any more questions about my experience with CIEE, my email is jco@ucsd.edu

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