By Nicole Cortese
Berlin, the capital of Germany, is home to festivals, art, lederhosen and recently to Jill Templeton, a senior secondary education and German double major at Rider who spent her summer internship in this vivacious city.
Students typically begin signing up for summer abroad programs late fall semester or early spring semester. Templeton recommends interning abroad to anyone, particularly students who are studying a foreign language. Her experience demonstrates how lucrative such an opportunity can be.
With the help of Intrax Global Internships, Templeton landed a marketing internship in her dream city after finding out about the opportunity the previous fall.
“I contacted Intrax and said I was really interested in working in Berlin,” Templeton said. “We worked together, and they placed me with a company. I did an interview over Skype, and they told me I had the job.”
While working at Mi Escuela Berlin, a language school, she was able to meet many new people and make what she expects will be lifelong friendships. Her success overseas demonstrates just how memorable such an experience can be.
“I worked with some really great people,” Templeton said. “Everyone I worked with was from South America and they were all learning German. It was a really nice dynamic we had in the office.”
According to Templeton, Intrax placed all of the students on the same hotel floor, which made it easier to bond with everyone involved in the program.
“It was really nice that they brought all of us together so we had friends to go out and do things with,” she said.
Templeton visited Berlin for the first time during the summer before her junior year, and her love and passion for the city became apparent immediately. That eased any major culture shock once she arrived the second time.
Dr. Margaret Schleissner, a professor of German at Rider, has taught Templeton for the past three and a half years. Describing her as a consistently excellent student, Schleissner was excited that Templeton landed an internship abroad.
“She had already studied abroad at the Freie Universität Berlin the previous summer, but the experience of living and working there is quite different than taking classes and living with other foreign students,” she said.
A big difference between her two summers in Berlin was the environment in which she learned. This summer, Templeton was able to learn the ways of the workforce in Germany and instill those traits into her own work ethic.
“They’re really big on punctuality,” Templeton said. “Also, getting to use my German skills every day and being forced to communicate instead of choosing which language to speak was really good for me because there was no other way to get my point across.”
Schleissner offered some advice for students who are interested in pursuing an internship abroad.
“Internships offer valuable pre-professional training,” she said. “Adding an international dimension really broadens your horizons. Jill got to know the culture well from the inside, so to speak, by interacting with her colleagues and living there day-to-day.”
While living in Berlin, Templeton was able to experience other once-in-a-lifetime opportunities such as visiting nearby cities like Prague and Hamburg and attending Euro Cup-viewing festivities. She described the atmosphere of a soccer-viewing party as full of spirit and enthusiasm.
“Every time there was a Germany game, the Brandenburg Gate would host a viewing party,” Templeton said. “They’d have these giant screens up and it’s along the Tiergarten, which is the Central Park of Germany. Everybody gets decked out in their gear; they have vendors lined up selling T-shirts, and you just stand there and watch the game for three to four hours.”
Considering it one of the best experiences of her life, Templeton urges fellow students to take the opportunity to intern abroad.
“I would recommend the program to anybody,” she said. “They really work with you to place you. It’s more business-oriented, but it was great.”
Reflecting on her time and experiences there, she is grateful to have had the chance to visit Berlin more than once.
“It really is the best city in the world,” Templeton said. “It’s got everything. It’s really multicultural. You’ve got so much to do, so much to see and so much history. It’s really interesting.”
Printed in the 11/30/12 edition