This article first appeared in BTS Issue 4.

Global Leadership Programme (GLP): SUTD’s premier signature programme offers an at least 8-week, funded, fully immersive summer experience at Stanford University, TU Berlin, University of California, Berkeley, and Zhejiang University.
The 8-week TU Berlin Value-added Innovation and Enterprise Work (VIEW) Programme is an exclusive collaboration between TU Berlin Summer University and SUTD. Learn from industry experts and meet with mentors from Berlin’s entrepreneurial start-up scene as you embark on a human-centered innovation and hands-on start-up learning experience.

By Joanna Saw Khai Sing, Senior (Class of 2021)
Information Systems Technology and Design (ISTD)

How is the entrepreneurship scene in Berlin different from Singapore’s?

While Singapore is striving towards having more start-ups, Berlin is known to be one of the world’s best start-up hubs. The entrepreneurship scene in Berlin is bustling, with multiple co-working spaces found across the city. Berlin is known to be a vibrant city full of different cultures, attracting many talented individuals from around the world. I managed to visit a few co-working spaces and go to various entrepreneurship events where I was able to talk to many interesting entrepreneurs. While Berlin is a small city like Singapore, I found that the number of co-working spaces and accelerators present seemed to be higher in Berlin. These co-working spaces were often more than a place to do work. They often had cafes, sleeping pods and recreational spaces. One of the co-working spaces I visited even had a space theme!

Three memories from your trip?
How many pairs of shoes do 11 people need?!

Staying together with the other SUTD students was definitely a memorable experience for me. I went from living alone to living in a house with 10 others! It was fun bonding over dinner and playing games like Just Dance together. Cooking dinner for 11 people is an unforgettable memory.

Another great memory would be when I visited Copenhagen on my birthday weekend. I took a bus (which went on a ferry!) there and explored the city. I went to Tivoli Gardens, the second-oldest operating amusement park in the world, and experienced the theme park that is said to have inspired Disneyland. I also had the opportunity to ride around the city on a rented bike, visiting both the scenic tourist spots and some hidden gems I found from cycling around.

Bungee jumping at Tiergarten
Exploring Copenhagen beaches on bicycles

My ultimate favourite memory of Berlin would be buying a bicycle and cycling around Berlin. Cycling in Berlin was convenient and safe, as they have a great network of bike paths and considerate motorists. Those of us with bicycles often cycled to school every morning and around the city. It was a fun way to get to places fast, enjoy the scenery and work off those döner kebabs!

Döner kebabs that I miss
Any advice to juniors who are intending to sign up for the programme?

To anyone thinking of going for this programme, just do it! It was undoubtedly one of the best summers I have ever had. Learn a bit of German before going there and definitely try to bike around to feel like a true Berliner. Enjoy the döner kebabs because I’m still missing them one year later. And while it’s tempting to fill your weekends with trips out of the city, don’t neglect exploring Berlin and enjoying a chill day at a park.

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