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b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_1538.jpgMeet Jerry Lawman, a junior international business major at Waynesburg University. This semester, he will be interning at Bosch in Germany and will share his experiences right here on the Waynesburg blog. 

I am a junior International Business major here at Waynesburg and I am currently interning in the Controlling Department for Bosch in Ludwigsburg, Germany. I knew from the beginning that this international internship was going to be a huge step out of my comfort zone, especially because I’ve never traveled outside of the U.S. 

It was my first flight overseas and I arrived in Stuttgart, Germany on January 28 with no plans on where to stay until I moved into my apartment February 1. I figured it would be a fun experience to figure everything out when I got there, and it was! I met so many helpful people. 

My first step was to get a German SIM card for my phone. From there, two men helped me book a hostel and helped me carry my luggage all the way there. I was shocked by how helpful they were. They said they have a saying in China, “If you are going to help someone, you help them all the way through.” 

After my jet lag wore off the next day, I started to explore the city of Stuttgart. It is one of the biggest cities I have ever been to. This is also the first time I have ever used public transportation, so the trains and buses took me a couple days to figure how everything worked. My stay at the hostel was a great experience, however. I met people from all over the world like Argentina, Jordan, Australia, India, Turkey and Germany as well. Many of them are now my friends on Facebook and we will probably stay in touch. 

I met many other people on the streets while exploring; because I was lost, people would help me get to where I needed to go and some of these people I am now friends with. It is just crazy how many people you meet when you go to a different country like this.  

I finally moved in to my apartment the day before I started work and my landlord was very helpful to me and helped me find out how to register at the town hall and even let me use some extra bedding because I could not pack my own bedding. It is a furnished six person shared apartment, however, and there will be all interns living here who will work for Porsche and Komet. 

They helped me find out my route for my first day of work and other things that would have been hard to do by myself. It takes me about 40 minutes to get to work and I arrive about 20 to 30 minutes early every day. I made sure to make a good first impression by wearing a suit my first day and wearing a nice shirt and tie every day after. 

I was introduced to everyone in the controlling department where I will work, and everyone speaks at least a little English so I can communicate with everyone. The first few days I started to learn some of my tasks and what I will be doing. A lot of my work will involve Excel, but the first few days I had to learn Excel in German so it was very difficult at first. 

I am trying to learn as much as I can from the two other interns, as they will be done with their internships in a couple weeks - then I will be the only intern in this department. Our main tasks include resources controlling, business planning, monthly business reporting and other controlling related activities. 

In my first week of work, I tried to show my willingness to learn and perform, as well as show them how I can be proactive and a strong team player. Being the only American in my department at Bosch is definitely a great experience to learn about cultures different from my own. 

About Bosch: Bosch home appliances is part of BSH, BSH Home Appliances Group, based in Munich, Germany. As part of the third largest appliance manufacturer in the world, Bosch has been selling high performance German-engineered major home appliances and cooking appliances in the United States since 1991. Known nationwide for raising the standards in appliance quietness, efficiency and integrated design, Bosch frequently receives top ratings in leading consumer publications and is the winner of the 2011, 2012 and 2013 Energy Star® Sustained Excellence Award. With U.S. headquarters in Irvine, CA, the company operates an appliance park in New Bern, North Carolina, comprised of state-of-the-art factories for dishwashers, ranges, ovens and cooktops.

 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_P10405671.jpgThis week I did something I've never done before, something that I, and I'm sure many people out there, have wanted to do, even if just to cross it off their bucket list: I climbed a mountain. Not just any mountain, either, but Slieve Donard, the highest mountain not only in Northern Ireland's Mourne Mountain range, but in the country all together. I wasn't originally going to; my friends and I just wanted to go into the Mournes, because they're pretty and I know songs about them. The woman at the visitor center pointed it out, though, and informed us of its status, and we thought, "why not?" 

Well, there are a good many reasons "why not." It's exhausting and takes forever, and just when you think you're almost there, you round a bend and see a whole other portion you couldn't before, and you can almost hear the stupid mountain mocking your pain. Then you get to the top and have to hang on tight because you feel like you're going to be blown clear off the other side. I don't know if I'd ever had quite so clear a demonstration of the "fear of God," before, but the peak of that mountain painted a pretty spectacular analogy for me. By the time I was done I was spent. I had blisters, my feet were no longer positive they knew how to function properly, my legs felt like jelly and I was starving. 

And it was incredible. 

I think anyone who has ever done something like this can liken it to a life lesson or something philosophical. There are certainly enough songs out there to prove it (ex. "Climb Every Mountain," "The Climb," etc.). Most people have "mountains" in their lives and it's nice to hear songs that encourage you through them.  However, actually pounding the pavement, so to speak, definitely gives you a fresh perspective, (as well as a good deal more respect for the characters in Lord of the Rings). 

Standing on the top of Slieve Donard, I felt a lot of things. I wasn't kidding when I said I was afraid I was going to be blown away, because I was legitimately terrified; the wind was quite literally pushing me around. At one point it actually knocked me over. I wasn't kidding about the "fear of God" comment either. As petrified as I was of it, I was in complete awe of the gusts' power, and really, genuinely grateful for it the last few feet up the slope, because I wasn't positive I'd make it if not for that push.

 I also felt wonder; I don't think you can look down at the world from that high and not experience a sense of wonder. This earth is truly a beautiful creation, and this island is a chilly little paradise as far as I'm concerned. One of the biggest things I felt, though, was a crazy sense of “Wow." Wow, look at this; wow, I'm on top of a mountain; wow, wow, wow, I did it, I made it. On top of all of that, too, I knew I couldn't have done it without a little help; I kept sending silent wee prayers up periodically, and I couldn't help but send up one of thanks when that strong wind forced me up that last stretch. I hate to sound cliché, but it felt like one of those life lessons to me. I didn't think I could make it, and with His help, I did. I think that says a lot. 

So yes, it was hard; yes, it was grueling; yes, I was genuinely afraid I was going to die. There were points I wanted to stop and go no further, but I am forever going to be grateful that I kept going. Because, at the end of it all, it was amazing, and so, so worth the trouble. 

 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_resized.jpgThe first week here in Ireland, I and all of the other international students had lots of things to do. We had meetings to go to, classes to schedule, activities planned for us and shopping to complete. Meanwhile, we were all getting settled into our new home and conquering jet lag. 

However, after all of that, we were rewarded with the real reason we all really came to Ireland- a little bit of traveling.  Everywhere we've been has been incredible. There are artifacts in museums from B.C. that are really well preserved because of the boggy landscape of Ireland! There are artifacts from the 1600s and before, and it boggles my brain that the ones from the 1800s aren't as big of a deal here, when that would be the pinnacle of most American museums. 

Derry/Londonderry has a wall running through it that dates back to the sixteenth century! We visited a castle- a castle! And we were allowed to walk around and through it, to touch it and to take pictures. It was absolutely gorgeous and thrilled me through and through.  The history here is so well preserved and tangible and it's really easily accessible to the public, all of which has my little history-major-heart dancing. 

However, as stupendous as the history is, it manages to pale in comparison to the land itself.  One of our most amazing trips was to the Causeway; it's a place that is so strange, unique and beautiful, unlike anything I have ever seen before. The cliffs of the Irish coastline, too, are absolutely breathtaking; they are something that you could just stare at forever and never tire of their allure. 

The inland is full of rolling hills and mountains, and the colors on a sunny day- or, you know, sunny 20 minute spurts- don't really seem real. They seem like something that someone photo shopped to make more vibrant. This country sometimes seems unreal; it takes my breath away.

 That's the point, I guess.  The manmade things are wonderful, and I really can't get enough of the towns and their histories. But the things that aren't man made, the things that God etched onto the world for our pleasure, are infinitely more magnificent. These things that He made are an incredible reminder of how man can do amazing things, but even then God is so much more powerful and awe-inspiring. It's slightly terrifying, actually, but at the same time an amazing comfort. 

 

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I have always believed that service is an important part of society, but before my time at Waynesburg University, I had never been the type to give it. Not because I ever thought I was too good to serve, but more because I had never felt good enough to serve. Joining the Waynesburg community meant having to serve at some point during my college career, and I was anxious of how I could make a difference.

Little did I know, enrolling in service learning would change my life forever.

Having always loved animals, I chose to conduct my service work at the Humane Society of Greene County. Walking in on my first day, I had no idea what to expect.

When the director began discussing what I could do to help, I began praying they would involve no animal interaction whatsoever. In fact, on my first two days I kept busy scrubbing the inside and outside of every door in the building, setting packages of food on the shelves and working the front desk, answering phones and interacting with customers. I wanted to help the cause, but at a distance. Still, I felt my heart yearning for more.

That's when I was approached with a new request.

The director began talking with me about some of my passions and when I mentioned photography and writing, her face lit up. With a new website and an overload of incoming animals, I was asked if I could help. I could see where the conversation was going, but I wasn't sure I could do what she wanted me to.

Taking photographs of and writing articles about these animals meant getting up close and personal with every single one of them. It broke my heart to think I would have to see their suffering firsthand and tell them they wouldn't find what they were looking for from me; I couldn't give them the love and stability they were desperately searching to find.

But seeing the hope the director had, I accepted her proposition.

As I began working, I realized I had a lot to offer. I was nervous about using my gifts to serve, but God gave me the opportunity to shine and what began as a course requirement quickly developed into a passion for the greater good—helping animals find their “forever homes.”

In the words of Frederick Buechner, "The place God calls you to is where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet."

To me, volunteering at the Human Society has not been fulfilling community service hours. It is a commitment fueled by a passion to make a difference in the lives of the animals, who can't do it for themselves. I know I made the right decision when I walked through those doors on the first day.

I know I was led there to make a difference the best way I can—through the gifts God has provided me. I thank Him, and the staff at the shelter, for encouraging me and allowing me to find my passion for serving.

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This past week marked the halfway point of my internship with Mary Kay. Five weeks finished; five more to go. In between my 40-hours of work per week, I have either been eating, sleeping ... or playing softball with the Cross Timbers Community Church members.

No, playing softball is not included in my internship for credit, but I consider it a part of my summer internship experience. If not for my internship opportunity bringing me to this neck of the country, I would not be in Texas for the summer, able to play softball with Cross Timbers.

As I have already disclosed in previous posts, I am not an athlete. Sometimes I like to dress the part and pretend to be one, but my lack of knowledge about the finer points of the game in combination with my inability to run fast or jump high will always speak the truth.

I am not an athlete.

During one particular softball game, my athleticism and know-how of the game was put to the test. It was one of those times when the bases were loaded, my team had 2 outs and I was next to bat.

Terrific.

As I approached the plate, I made it my goal to hit the ball as hard as I could and run.

Just hit the ball. Just hit the ball. Just hit the ball and then run fast! I thought.

First pitch was a strike. I told myself I had two more pitches to swing at, but when the umpire judged the second pitch a strike and an out, I was confused. I thought I had another chance. Three strikes and then you're out, right?

Well, it was that moment when I learned a new rule in slow pitch softball: you approach the plate with 1 strike and 1 ball already under your belt. I felt like an idiot for playing more than half of our games completely ignorant to that rule.

As easy as it was to beat myself up about it, I decided to make a positive experience out of it. The silver lining to being the third out with the bases loaded was that I would be sure to never make the same mistake in future softball games.

It turned out to be a great learning experience because I played my best in our last softball games, and my team (appropriately called the Blue Team because, you guessed it, we wore blue jerseys) went undefeated in the tournament to end our season! Blue Team even received t-shirts that name us as the 2013 Tournament Champs.

While rookie mistakes can lead to disappointment, they can also lead to far more improvement with a slight adjustment of perspective. After all, even champions have made rookie mistakes before.


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