Honey, I’m Home!
This summer I work as an intern at BASF in Limburgerhof, Germany. There I worked with a variety of pollinators and various arthropods. I mainly worked in the Eco-toxicology department and worked in the fields helping with semi-field test studies with bees! The main thing I loved about this internship was the location. I loved being able to experience the German culture! I was born in Germany and speak fluent German, but most of my family lives in northern Germany so I had never been to the southern part before and was so excited about participating in all the southern German cultural activities.
Before doing this internship, I knew I had an interest in Entomology and bees but never really had any first hand experience working with them. In the spring, I took my first Entomology class at NC State and fell in love. I knew that I wanted to work with some sort of insects so I applied and got the internship at BASF. This was the first time I was going to Germany completely by myself and it was very daunting. I only had a few days after finals ended and then I was on my way to a 4-month journey of navigating Germany by myself. The first month was a very big adjustment phase with public transportation difficulties and language dialect barriers but after a while, I couldn’t get enough! I realized that I had a much bigger support system in Germany than I could have ever imagined. I became very close with all my colleagues within my department and got to participate in a variety of experiments. They had great internship programs within the company where I could meet other interns within other departments. Through these programs I met one of my best friends.
Throughout the summer a majority of my work focused on learning how industry entomology works. I learned a lot about the protocols and different procedures and steps that my department had to take to do research. It really opened my eyes that there were so many individuals parts to studies that were being conducted and that there is much more group collaboration and effort taking place than one may realize before they graduate. I also realized that no matter how strenuous and exhausting the work that I was doing was, that I still was loving the overall experience I was doing.
My passion for pollinators and agriculture continued to grow and it was through this experience as a whole, that I knew I had made the right decision pursuing a degree in Environmental Sciences and Entomology. Without my participation in this internship this summer, I would have not gotten the reaffirmation that I was loving what I was studying and was on the right path. Overall, I would definitely recommend that if one cannot study abroad, to at least be open minded to the idea of doing an internship in another country or an area away from their home. Doing this helped me learn so many valuable skills and life lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life!