“Take a step and the road will appear by itself”

“Take a step and the road will appear by itself”

“Take a step and the road will appear by itself”

A friend of a friend, a former scholarship holder, once told me about some programme that enables you to do an internship in Germany. In a desire to gain any kind of working experience, I applied to the Internship Programme of German Business without thinking too much. I was pretty pessimistic about getting all the way through the selection process but in a blink of an eye, it was the middle of June and I was packing my suitcase for Germany. It was the perfect opportunity to gain some working experience, but I’ve gotten so much more than that.  

I did my internship at Bosch Research Campus in Renningen, near Stuttgart. The subject of my internship was something I always had a lot of interest in and I was eager to learn more about it every day for the whole six months. My mentor was great, and he was really supportive through the whole process. I learned a lot from him, we had great communication and regular meetings in the company or virtual when we both worked remotely. He helped me solve problems, if I couldn’t do them on my own. I don’t know what your professors are like at universities, but this was my first experience where I didn’t hesitate to ask questions and I didn’t have to stress out about not knowing something and asking for additional explanation. Interesting subject and kind, the professional mentor made this experience great and without stress and I enjoyed contributing to the project I worked on. 

As I said, this brilliant working experience was just one part of the story that was written during my stay in Germany. So much has happened, which built me as a person and helped me grow a lot. All the exams that I had left for the next year due to being absent from the faculty could not be compared to the value of what I got. 

The people I met amazed me already at the introductory week. I have never found myself surrounded by more people who are so positive and enthusiastic and with whom it is so easy to talk about everything. Of course, I spent most of the time with the other scholarship holders who were with me in Stuttgart and Baden-Württemberg. Thanks to them, every day was an adventure. We visited almost the entire Bundesland, traveled to Frankfurt, went on mini hikes in places near Stuttgart, enjoyed the adorable Heidelberg several times, visited all Biergartens and discovered so many beautiful places. Some of us almost got matching tattoos but unfortunately, we didn’t have time for that back then, maybe we’ll do it at some reunion. 😊 

We used all possible Deutsche Bahn’s promotions for tickets and went on a day trip to Strasbourg for 2€. One of my favorite trips was the one to Amsterdam. Around 15 of us from the Internship Programme of German Business booked the same hostel, toured museums and the city together, and dressed up and went out for Halloween. DB, the German railway company, is fantastic, make sure you take advantage of all the opportunities it offers to you. It is true, trains are often late, but what is a story about a trip through Germany if it doesn’t include a part about running to catch a connecting train. 

The beauty of it all was in meeting different people from different parts of the world: Germans, Italians, Dutch, Indians, Vietnamese and many others. I was also lucky enough to live in a dormitory with roommates from Syria, Brazil, Costa Rica and Spain. It was interesting to compare the differences and similarities of the cultures we come from, climates and time zones, and the best part, try the local dishes of all those countries. Also, getting to know people from all over our region is an amazing part of it. We were all very different, which is the beauty because I learned so much from them and about them in conversations that lasted days and nights, but we were like-minded, eager for new experiences and travels, open to change and learning, open-minded and open-hearted. 

I went to Germany alone, overwhelmed with the fear of the unknown but I came back bolder than ever and with so many new friends who I miss very much and I can’t wait to see them again at regional meetings of the alumni network of the Internship Programme or any other occasion. We had an immense amount of laughter, socializing and celebrating. The holidays that we normally celebrated with our families, we celebrated there together as a big new family, Eid, Slava, Christmas, birthdays and all the successes and important events that happened to us. People who were strangers until a few months ago, have now become my greatest support and rejoice in all my successes and helped in all situations where help was needed. 

My advice for you who are thinking about applying is, do it, take that step and send the application. An experience awaits you; it will help you grow in so many ways that you can’t even imagine. For all questions, feel free to contact me or someone from the best project team ever or someone else from a huge alumni network that can’t wait to welcome you to this big family. 

Lidija Đikić  

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