Beginning in the Middle | #1

Wow. It’s hard to believe that a little over a year ago, I was starting this same series of blog posts for my internship at the National Coastal Authority in Albania. So much has happened between then and now – self-discovery, love, heartbreak, triumphs, hardships – but without a doubt, I can be confident in saying that I am so happy to be back doing another internship with the help of LSA. This time around, however, I’m not Tirana, Albania – I’m in Berlin, Germany!

During my conversations with international stakeholders when I interned with the NCA last summer, I found out that I really enjoy international negotiations and conversing with others in general from around the world. This led me to apply for this internship with the U.S. Department of State to see if I might want to pursue a career in diplomacy, and I was lucky enough to be selected as an intern with the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy here in Berlin! I’m hoping to really get a good feel for what officers in the Foreign Service do day-to-day, not just in my section but also others, to help inform my decisions about if I would like to pursue a career with the State Department. I also look forward to meeting so many cool people working here with the Mission, and hopefully I can make some great contacts for the future as well.

Brandenburg Gate outside the U.S. Embassy in Berlin

Over the past month leading up to my arrival here, I have gone from traveling around Europe after my semester in the Netherlands; to resuming my favorite role as a dirty backpacker traveling through Egypt, Jordan, and Israel with two other travelers I met in Greece a month and a half ago; to living in one of the coolest capitals in the world, wearing dress pants every day whilst rubbing shoulders with some of the highest-ranking officials in the U.S. Mission to Germany. To say I’m feeling a little out of my element at the moment would be an understatement.

Although I’m beginning this internship in the middle of my year-long adventure abroad (I’ll be studying in Copenhagen in the fall), I still never cease to be surprised by my reaction every time I move somewhere new. I’ve been doing a lot of moving around lately, and while I love doing so, I still always feel a little paralyzed every now and then within the first week. Whether it’s the gray, rainy weather here in Berlin, catching a nasty cold during my first week, or having to start over yet again in finding new friends in my new city, there is always at least one day where I have to take it a step at a time and get myself going, reminding myself it won’t always be lonely or dull or monotonous. I struggled so much more a year ago when I was traveling and living alone for the first time in Albania, and I still managed to find the best friends and have the time of my life there. This summer in Berlin should be no different!

So at least from my extensive previous travel experience, the adjustment to Berlin in all other respects is a pretty easy one. I absolutely adore Germany and have wanted to call it my (at least temporary) home for awhile now, so I am so happy to be here. Once the rain lets up, I’m sure I’ll love it even more. I can only hope I’ll have the opportunity to meet people as amazing as those I met a year ago; I just have to remind myself to let life flow, enjoy myself, and not worry too much.

One thought on “Beginning in the Middle | #1

  • July 9, 2017 at 12:05 am
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    Hi Claire! I absolutely loved your positive attitude and I’m glad LSA is continuing to support your internships in different parts of the world. It sounds like you are really immersed in the world of diplomats and with all these great connections, you will network your way to the success in no time. Because I don’t have much experience abroad, I would like to know how different the work environments are in Albania vs. Germany. For instance, was life in Albania more relaxed or was everything more fast-paced?

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