The Pitt Plus 3 trip to Germany was a unique experience that taught me a lot about myself and about the automotive industry. Looking back on the last two weeks it dawned on me the sheer amount of “stuff” we did in such a short time frame. From touring forging factories, to eating traditional Bavarian foods, to visiting the Alps, each experience shaped my view of the world and growth as an individual in the global community. It would be amiss to say the trip was perfect, but I think many of the shortcomings of the journey reinforced certain aspects of my personality I thought to be true.

Perhaps my favorite and the most beneficial part of the trip were the company tours and information sessions. Learning about the different companies and technologies was exciting to me and I became more certain that engineering was the right choice for me. I have always been interested by cars, so perhaps the automotive industry would be a good place for me to seek a career post graduation. My two favorite company visits were Faurecia and BMW, because they were the two companies most closely related to the production of the final product of the car. The sound engineering involved with the creation of the exhaust system was fascinating and I would love to listen and tweak  the roar of an engine as part of my job. Learning about the business aspects of the companies was also quite interesting, because I had little exposure to business models or strategies prior to this trip. As a future entrepreneur it is valuable to gain insight into industry tactics as early as possible. Finally, working with the German students was useful to learning about what it takes to succeed in a global environment. Communicating was sometimes a challenge and coming up with a solution took cooperation and compromise.

The second phase of this trip was the cultural excursions. During these trips we traveled to churches, cathedrals, traditional Bavarian restaurants, the Alps, a concentration camp, and even a castle. We learned about the history of Augsburg, Bavaria, and Germany as a whole and how the events of the past shaped the Germany we see today. As I observed the environment and scenery I realized some things about myself. Traveling to Munich versus traveling to Fussen I found I much preferred visiting the peaceful countryside than bustling cities. Dining at various restaurants taught me that although I am a picky eater, trying new foods can sometimes be surprisingly delicious. And after visiting the 956th gift shop I decided memories were the only souvenirs I needed. All in all, it was a wonderful trip. I made new friends and learned a lot about the automotive industry, Germany, and myself. Pitt Plus 3 was a great experience and every student should have the opportunity to study abroad at some point during their academic journey.

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