During the internship period, I learned a lot both from my instructors and my life in Europe. The semi-instructor that my professor assigned me was helpful in academic research. She showed me several pathways to work on papers and pointed out several of my research habits that need modification.
For example, I used to change my mind constantly about my research topic once I started to review papers. I would let my thoughts run randomly when I saw something that might relate to my topic and lose track of what I originally wished to do. She also taught me to ask myself questions regularly to reexamine my research topic. I believe I have now learned to look at every source with a screen in mind, and to ask myself, “Does this relate to my topic and to what extent?” to keep myself on track.
Unfortunately, our work relationship ended one month before my internship ended because we had a disagreement about paper writing credits. The hardest part for me during my internship was negotiating with her through emails, since she is constantly away. I believe the ending of our work relationship was something we were all reluctant to see, but as a result, I got the chance to work with my professor in person, and he willingly helped me with my research. It was still kind of a happy ending.
If I had the chance to do it over again, I would still argue with my semi-instructor for my rights, but with a milder communication process. Before I got to Germany, I never expected this kind of disagreement to happen. However, I am so glad that I had this experience, even though it upset me for almost half of my internship. This is because, in my future endeavors, I may run into similar situations. Having this opportunity to learn, I believe I would challenge myself in any other kind of disagreements and maybe able to avoid them intelligently, rather than dragging my feet because of my emotional involvement in the situation.
While I had some homesick moments, I said to myself that I had to get through with this and started to manage to have fun on this historical, culturally abundant continent. I guess because I am an optimistic person, my life out turned to be as interesting as my internship, in a good way. During the two and half a month internship, I traveled to Switzerland, France, and Italy with school tours, and I traveled with my friends to some parts of Germany. Life was so different in Europe. Every city I visited were highly developed and well maintained. Each of them has so much salient personality that enchanted me.
I also learned some important lessons from the city I stayed for internship, Freiburg. It is the sunniest city in Germany and is also known as a green city. In the city central, you only see bicycles and trolleys. The trolleys can take you to almost every corner of the city and are on schedule. The places where trolleys cannot reach, you could easily find buses, which are also super convenient. I believe the super convenient transportation is a nationwide thing, but the bicycle population is definitely out of your imagination in Freiburg. I guess that is part of the reason why Freiburg is a green city and most locals are fit. And because they have sufficient sunlight, local government is promoting solar panels. As far as I have observed, it is definitely a place worthy of the name of a green city. Due to its beautiful surroundings, life style, and friendly people, it is also one of the popular tourism place in Germany.