I’ve learned a lot my first week in Germany.
I’ve settled down in Berlin for a month-long internship through CityTravelReview. Not only is the course unpaid, but the interns pay to participate- and do all of the work. Though it’s advertised as an internship, what it really is is work experience – training for a career in the world of travel writing.
I’ve always known travel writing is not glamorous, but it’s also more restricting than I previously assumed. There are sights and activities I’ve had to miss in lieu of needing to review somewhere else. I’ve had to venture to sights I didn’t want to see, but needed to. I’ve missed days out lazing around in the sun to spend cramped in a damp cafe, desperately trying to connect to wifi to meet approaching deadlines.
While some of the teachers at CTR and I employ creative differences when it comes to travel writing, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the course so far. My 25 companions and I were thrown into the thick of it, churning out 3 reviews in the first week – with the added challenge of the worst wifi in the world to upload them with. Our German language classes are intense, yet impressively helpful.
To be honest, we all had the sneaking suspicion that it was a scam at first. I probably wouldn’t have gone at all if it wasn’t for the insurance company that reimburses my school fees. When I arrived in Berlin, I was met at the airport by the main coordinator and eyed him the whole train ride, wondering if I was being whisked off to the sex trade. Or worse.
Instead, I arrived at a large grey apartment complex sporting a rainbow-skittles streak. I paid an extra £100/month for the guarantee of a single room and a little precious privacy. My room is huge, with high ceilings and orange curtains that refuse to block out the sun. The kitchen is the smallest room, which makes cooking together mandatory – and rather improbable. Our 8th floor balcony opens onto a lovely expanse of greenery and stunning sunsets. Though I still think the course is overpriced, it’s comparable to other similar projects. I miss the freedom that comes with backpacking solo, but it feels incredible to unpack my bags semi-permanently and do something productive.
Although the group has formed a cohesive bond, we are rarely allowed time to deepen our friendships. When we’re not stuck in the (rather dreary) classroom all afternoon, we are out researching various sights, monuments, and cultural entertainment around Berlin. While we would all like to explore together, it would be impossible to compile a full travel guide in a month. This means that I probably won’t see everything I want to, and that I’ll probably end up writing about things I didn’t really enjoy.
I will, of course, only submit my most professional work. However, I’m also here to have a good time. CTR might be more work then play, but our guidebook still needs to include restaurants, coffee shops, and nightclubs – which I get to experience all in the name of research 😉