Life Update: How I Got an Internship at Adidas

expat, life update, mental health

You might think that spending months without having to go to work everyday sounds like heaven. Well, I’m here to tell you firsthand that it’s not- especially when you’re living as an expat in a new country. My journey so far here in Germany has been a rollercoaster of emotions, a never-ending search for jobs, and- to top it all off- a heaping dose of homesickness. Though I enjoyed having the liberty to work freelance for several months, I learned the hard way that staying at home most of the week was not good for my mental health.

Since I live in the heart of Franconia- just around the corner from Nuremberg- I am also situated next to some of the biggest companies in Germany (Adidas, Siemens, Puma, GfK, and more). So when I first arrived in Germany, I thought: “Lucky me! It’s going to be super easy to get a job at one of these English-speaking German companies.” Little did I know that the competition to work for a renowned company like Adidas was fiercer than I anticipated. Not only are people applying from within Germany and Europe- but from all around the world!

Photo from the day of shooting the Adidas application video

My first attempt at applying was for a traineeship in corporate communications. I put all of my effort into the required video application- creating my own script and even trying some new video editing techniques to make it vintage/80s style. Unfortunately, I eventually received an email that I didn’t get the job. Not only was I rejected, but I felt incredibly disheartened that I didn’t get any feedback on a video that I had put so much work into.

At first, I wanted to bury my old application video and prevent it from ever seeing the light of day. But now I’ve realized that it was good practice for me to begin aligning myself with the Adidas brand and it might actually help others who are thinking of applying or who need to make an application video! Check it out below.

After I swallowed my shame, I decided that no matter what I would keep trying until I got a position at Adidas- even if it took me a year (which it almost did). I constantly re-made my resume, researched what others did to get a job at Adidas, and looked for any constructive feedback I could find to improve my chances of getting hired.

Once we hit the middle of summer, my heart began to sink and I really lost hope in any possibility of working at Adidas. But then, completely out of the blue, I got an email about scheduling an interview! I felt overjoyed but once again didn’t get my hopes up because I had no idea if I’d get a call back after the interview. Turns out, I got along so well with the woman from HR on the phone that I was immediately asked about the second interview.

Originally, I wasn’t sure about what to wear to the interview- so I asked my neighbors and friends that work at Adidas. I settled on a sporty dress with my favorite bright pink Adidas sneakers (see photo below)- though I was pretty tempted to go all-out Adidas and wear my belt bag and a more formal black dress. Settling on the striped dress was a great choice because of the sweltering summer heat that day. Comfortable shoes were also smart, as I would be walking A LOT since we’re still saving up to get a car.

With Herzogenaurach (the city of the German Adidas headquarters) roughly a 30 minute drive away, I decided to do my second interview in person. As I pulled up to the campus, I got chills on my arms and felt incredibly excited about the prospect of working there. The Adidas outlet store and the giant Arena building just blew my mind. I had no idea the size of the campus was so huge! I saw people walking by wearing Adidas sweatpants, loose shirts, and even Adidas slides on their feet- and I couldn’t wipe the grin off of my face. Not having to wear tight business clothes or worry about planning outfits every day? This was my kind of workplace.

Side view of the outlet store from the bus stop where I was waiting

The interview was unlike any other interview I’ve done- we walked around the campus, grabbed something to drink at the cafeteria, and went outside to talk. I absolutely loved how there were power outlets everywhere- even on the tables outside. Working is not limited to the four walls of an office, and the beautiful architecture of the campus offers inspiration everywhere you look.

I was really excited to tell them about my career experience and get to know what they liked about working at Adidas. Interestingly enough, they wanted to know more about my personality and personal life than anything else. I couldn’t be happier to share my story, and it started to feel like a conversation with friends- making me feel even more comfortable. We got along really well, and I was so excited to find out whether or not I got the internship.

One of the things I tend to do (as someone with anxiety) is tell myself I am not worthy of certain things- especially big things like working at a company so amazing as Adidas. These toxic thoughts are something everyone goes through- so just know that if you’ve also had them, you’re not alone. I worked hard for almost a year trying to get this position, and did it all on my own. I told myself that regardless of whether I got the job or not, I would continue trying and take this as just another step closer to where I wanted to work.

Once I found out that I was hired, it took a lot for me to really congratulate myself and believe that it was real. Even now, I am sitting here in awe that my efforts finally paid off. It’s important to appreciate yourself and every little effort you put into life because there is no point in always doubting your potential.

The other day, I read a post on Instagram that my friend shared saying “We are so used to just being thankful for the chance to succeed that we have not learned to acknowledge and celebrate that we DESERVE success.” This is especially relevant to me, as an American Latina and daughter of immigrants, to embrace my success and know that I, too belong at the table.

I am so excited to start this new journey of my life, and really grateful I can use this platform to share my stories with you. What are some things you’re excited about in life right now? Comment below and stay tuned for the next blog!

Eating Giant Pretzels at the Erlangen Bergkirchweih

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Recently I had the pleasure of attending the Bergkirchweih in Erlangen. This is a festival similar to Oktoberfest, where beer is sold everywhere in large tents and people gather for music, traditional food, and fun carnival rides. People often dress in the classic lederhosen or dirndl clothing and participate in several beer-drinking traditions. One of these traditions is called the Kastenlauf, or crate walk, where festival attendees buy a crate of beer (around 20 bottles, 1/2 liter each) on their walk to the festival. Much like American “pre-gaming,” this tradition typically requires that participants finish the entire crate of beers before arriving to the festival.

While the Kastenlauf was one tradition I did not participate in, I was fascinated to see several people lugging a case of beers and chugging their beers as fast as possible. Perplexed but not at all surprised by this behavior, I jokingly told my boyfriend, “They’ll probably have to finish all of those before they can get into the festival, right?” As per usual German rules, you are normally not allowed to bring any sort of drinks with you into restaurants or fairs (though I’ve gotten away with the occasional water bottle). So when my boyfriend outlined the rules of the Kastenlauf, I was rather astonished that the rules of this tradition also require that only 2 people carry and must finish the case of beers prior to entering the festival.

In any case, I was happy to walk around these brave souls and make my way into the excitement and beauty of the festival. With beautifully decorated Lebkuchen hearts, the smell of sausages cooking, and people hauling their giant mugs of beer everywhere, I couldn’t wait to join the party.

As the afternoon went on and my giant pretzel and Obatzda arrived, I was pleased to have something in my stomach to accompany the giant Radler (beer mixed with lemonade) sitting in front of me. But the later it got, the more crowded our giant tent became… and the festival attendees grew even more rowdy with the help of endless alcohol and Schlager music. For a person who hasn’t had enough to drink and doesn’t feel particularly comfortable in a crowd, this became a little too much and made me increasingly uncomfortable with this new cultural experience.

Finally, my boyfriend and I decided to get away from the noise and check out the rides and activities sprinkled across the “Berg” (which means “mountain or hill” in German). According to a classmate at my university here in Erlangen, of the most iconic and well-known aspects of the Bergkirchweih is the giant ferris wheel. Naturally, we had to take a look and after short deliberation we decided to bite the bullet, pay for two 7 euro tickets, and jump on.

It was the perfect way to end the evening and left us with a stunning view of the entire festival. Overall, the experience was not at all something I would have expected- and it is certainly something I’d try again (on a less crowded day). Now, I’m looking forward to attending Oktoberfest this fall and experiencing what is basically the Coachella of Germany.