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Reflection Essay: Entrepreneur Experience 2023, Stuttgart, Germany



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Reflectio

 

So what exactly happened in Germany and why should you apply to go there next semester?

 

Although a common phrase used between us akatemialaiset during this trip was “what happens in Germany stays in Germany,” I can confirm that in this essay I will mention only what concerns future applicants. 😉 

 

First things first, the reason I went to Germany with my fellow akatemialaiset Veikko and Julia in May, is because we got a lovely opportunity from the collaboration between TAMK and the University of Stuttgart to spend a week in Germany with students from all around Europe to work together on a project. There were engineering students from the Netherlands, media students from Germany, exchange students from Canada, etc. During the first day we traveled to a countryside town just out of Stuttgart, where we got divided into teams through pitching our problems and gathering a team dedicated to spend the week working on potential solutions. This part of the German countryside  was literally in the middle of nowhere and we did not even have cell service available there, which I believe led to part of the week´s overall success. 

 

The team I was working in was creating potential solutions in the sustainable fashion industry, specifically focusing on a service related solution based on the concept of upcycling. The idea of our service was that it took old, used garments and clothing pieces and turned it into some street fashion, which would lengthen the use of already existing textiles. We spent a total of three days focusing fully on the project and the different teams pitched their different ideas to each other on the third. Although our team didn’t win, it was a really great experience to work with people from all around the world and to see students in action so quickly. We got really close to each other in such a short time and I believe that part of the reason for this is because we didn’t have any constant distractions from our phones and it made it much easier to be fully in the moment with each other and form deeper connections. 

 

On day four, we took a bus back to Stuttgart center, where we spent the remaining 2 nights in the international student hotel. This in itself was quite an experience, as there were plenty of students from all over the world staying there. We spent some time with the group exploring parts of Stuttgart city, which was a gorgeous mix of old and new infrastructures. Stuttgart´s main economy revolves around the automobile industry and both Porsche and Mercedes have their headquarters in the city. We got the amazing opportunity to visit the Mercedes museum, which was (even for someone who isn’t that into cars) quite an experience. 

 

The group of students that joined together from TAMK had really good dynamics between each other and it was quite interesting to see how everybody performed in different teams during the week we spent working on our projects. I learned about myself that I am quite scared to pitch ideas or in general to speak in front of a group of people, and therefore would want to challenge myself this semester to put myself out of my comfort zone and try to pitch at least one or two times to a group of people I have never met before. I also learned about myself as a team player that I tend to naturally take a leading role especially when it comes to innovation and the more creative oriented things in projects. 

 

The experience really inspired me to make more use of international collaborations and connect with the students I met from other countries on this trip. It was 10/10. 

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