It is the beginning of the end of my trip in Germany and it has been a delightful experience. The company visits were very intriguing and informative and the cultural excursions were fun and enjoyable. Today was the culmination of the academic part of our trip as each group presented on the business and innovation strategies of their assigned company. My group and I did our presentation on Hirschvogel Automotive Group, the second company we visited. Overall the presentation went very well and I enjoyed learning about the other companies as well. One of the prospective challenges of this trip was working with the German students on the presentations. However, they spoke English very well and the language barrier did not pose too large of a problem. There were differences in our presentation strategies, but such variations would be present among different schools in the United States as well. This trip has really stressed to me the importance of being able to communicate in a global environment and I once again realize learning another language would be an invaluable skill.
Aside from working on the presentations we did no other activities as a group, and often found myself alone walking down the street or around campus. I took this time to reflect on the trip and where I was. I listened to people play the public piano at the University or to the birds chirping on the walk to the hotel. I watched the crowds of people scurry onto the tram to go to and from school or work. I noticed the rumble of the tram as line after line whizzed by. And I felt calm. I felt relieved. I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders, partially because our presentation had gone well, but also because I was away from the constant hustle and bustle of daily life. I wasn’t worried about grades or school work or how to get back to the hotel. I had no WiFi, no responsibilities, and no pressing issues. I could completely relax as I walked and listened to the birds chirping, watched the crowds move, and felt the shaking of the earth.