Home

 

Getting Experience

- # of # Filtered -

Skill-Building In Bonn

Q&A with Erika: Worked in Germany
Share this
Print this
Erika
Worked in Germany
McGill University
Her thoughts on Adaptation
I was surprised how integrated I became within my adopted community. I ended up getting to know a lot of locals. I was invited to a wedding and even joined a marching band!
Her thoughts on Language Learning
For me it was really a matter of building my confidence in the language, because simple things such as making a phone call felt like big obstacles initially.

When and where did you work abroad?

I worked abroad at the Gustav Stresemann Institute, a conference center in Bonn, Germany, in the summer of 2011.

What made you want to work abroad?

I have a minor in the German language, so I’d say the main reason was that I was looking for an opportunity to practice my German and earn money at the same time!

How long did it take you to find a job and what job-search strategies did you use? Did you work in your field of interest?

Through a friend I heard about a work-study program that matches Canadian students who are studying German to jobs in Germany. Of course I could have tried to get a job on my own by contacting employers directly, but this program streamlined the process and made it a lot less daunting. They also provided lots of support, including an orientation session and reimbursement of my flight costs. In addition, I was able to meet many other Canadians who were also learning German. The whole application process took about five months and was entirely worth the effort.

I did get to work in my field of interest, as I’m studying international development (and, of course, German). Some of the things I did at my job included making arrangements for a human rights workshop for a group from Turkmenistan, and for a summer academy for students and professionals on the institutions of the European Union and the current Euro crisis.

Describe the interview and selection process.

The process was very straightforward. I had to submit letters of reference, answer a series of questions on my previous work experience and my goals within the framework of the program. I also had to write a German-language essay introducing myself. At the time I didn’t know what specific job I was applying for, but I knew that the WSP would try to make the best match possible from their database of German employers. After I submitted my application, it was just a waiting game. A few months later I received an email from my boss-to-be, expressing an interest in hiring me. We spoke over the phone and then it was a done deal! All I had to do next was book my flight, and with the help of the WSP and my employer, make arrangements for my accommodation and for obtaining the proper documentation. I ended up living just a block away from work, in a very affordable student dormitory.

What was the biggest surprise about your work experience abroad?

Firstly, despite working full-time, I still managed to fit in quite a bit of traveling. Through my work I got paid to go to Belgium and Luxembourg, and on weekends I made trips to Berlin and other places. Also, when my work period ended, I was able to travel to England before heading home. Secondly, I was surprised how integrated I became within my adopted community. I ended up getting to know a lot of locals. I was invited to a wedding and even joined a marching band!

What made your work experience abroad a success?

I think it had a lot to do with the fact that I was able to be matched with an employer who understood from the very beginning that I wasn’t perfectly fluent in German, and therefore held me to a different set of expectations. Expectations, I think, that I was able to exceed as my skills developed – both in the language, and in other areas, since it was my first office job!

What was the biggest challenge in adapting to your international work environment?

For me it was really a matter of building my confidence in the language, because simple things such as making a phone call felt like big obstacles initially. But everyone I met was very supportive and that helped me progress quite quickly.

What did you miss most about home?

I’m from Montreal, so naturally, poutine. Oh, and my boyfriend!

What is your number one tip for anyone hoping to follow in your footsteps by working abroad?

Just do it! Keep an open mind, have patience and a sense of humor, and remember that even if everything falls apart, it’ll still make a good story!

What are your future plans for going abroad and for your career?

All I can say for certain is that both personally and professionally, going abroad will stay a priority for me in the future. With any luck I will have a career that I can go places with –literally and figuratively!

Advice from MyWorldAbroad
Jean-Marc Hachey, Publisher

Erika had a high-impact international experience by participating in a work-study program that challenged her to build German language skills in a professional environment in a short period of time. Erika’s professionalism and interest in cross-cultural learning, planning and management make her a good candidate for pursuing a master’s abroad, and perhaps even an international MBA. We recommend that she starts researching potential programs, as well as international internship possibilities after graduation. The earlier you start to build a international resume and network with international professionals in your field, the more likely you are to find the perfect opportunity abroad after graduation.

Erika's Next Steps
Advice from MyWorldAbroad
by the founder of MyWorldAbroad
Jean-Marc Hachey
Want to Have the Same Experience?
Sample Application Documents: See How Others Did It!
Get inspired by actual documents that real students used to apply for internships, volunteer positions and other go abroad experiences.
In a Rush? Read These Articles First
These carefully chosen articles will lead you to our most important go abroad strategies!
Discover the Career Value of Going Abroad
Get the facts! See surveys and stats linking your experiences abroad to future career success.
Quick Guides! Our Most Popular Go Abroad Topics
View, print or share our easy-to-use guides available in English, French and Spanish.
The World Online
Want to stay in touch with the world? Check out these top (and sometime quirky) links!
Are You Prepared for the International Job Search?
How much do you know about international jobs in your field? Get ready for a targeted job search!
Do You Have Enough International Experience?
Have you maximized your international experience? Are you ready for the international job search? Find out!
What's Your International IQ?
How much do you really know about living and working abroad? Take this quiz to find out!
Quizzes: Your Master Scorecard
Check your scores for all quiz categories: international skills, experience & the job search.
Earn $25 Gift Card & Submit Your Story From Abroad
Been abroad? Want to share your story? Submit your Q&A today to see your experience online!
Self-Evaluations: Think Analytically About Going Abroad
Keep track of your evolving international skill set before, during and after your international experience. Be ready to apply for jobs in the global economy.
Career-Boosting Strategies for International Students Studying in North America
What does it take for an international student to succeed in North America? We’ve got tips to help you thrive!
Frequently Asked Questions
Find answers to all your questions about MyWorldAbroad by diving into our Frequently Asked Questions section.
Top Tips on Going Abroad & Your Career
Scan our top tips in 40 go abroad subject areas: international skills, getting experience, finding work, and the professions.
Your International Resume & LinkedIn
Write your international resume first, and then create that all-important LinkedIn profile.
International Skills: Be More Than Just a Tourist!
International people have a unique skill set. Learn the terminology and get professional about describing your time abroad.
100+ Career-boosting Strategies While Abroad
Discover enterprising, innovative ideas for how to demonstrate your international skills to future employers.
9784
- # of # Filtered -
  • 82
82
14088
An Eye-Opening Experience Teaching in South Korea
1
9758
Learning The Local Ways Of Addis Ababa
2
9751
A Canadian Globe-Trotter Visits The US
3
9769
Getting Sporty In Switzerland!
4
9790
Design And Dining In Korea
5
10851
Tips From Tasmania
6
9807
Fast Friendship In Korea
7
11904
Enthusiasm, Education and Experience in Greece
8
10188
Now Or Never In Colombia
9
9792
Rolling With The Punches In Seoul
10
9745
An Unforgettable Adventure In Nanjing
11
9774
Gaga For Ghana!
12
9784
Skill-Building In Bonn
13
9760
Getting In Sync In Nairobi
14
9762
American Freshman In London
15
9789
Loving Life In Lyon
16
9770
Contributing To Change In Ghana
17
9746
A Cross-Cultural Co-Op In West Africa
18
9741
Adapting To Work In Peru
19
9773
Independent In India
20
12058
Architectural Adventures in Australia
21
11996
Daring to Go Solo in Ireland
22
9757
Teaching And Learning In Tanzania
23
9781
A Hospital Helper In Costa Rica
24
9783
Off The Beaten Path In Africa
25
11850
The Warmest Welcome in Guatemala
26
11845
Hospitality and Hosting in the DCR
27
9738
Living For The Moment In Valencia
28
9755
People, Places And Passionate Volunteering In Peru
29
11645
A Love Affair with Shanghai
30
10153
China, South Africa And Beyond!
31
9771
Learning To Love London
32
9766
Short-Term Trips For Long-Term Gain
33
9737
Passionate About Panama
34
9778
Study And Adventure In New Zealand
35
10145
Real Stories And Real People In Mexico
36
9787
A Spring Semester In London
37
10204
Across Europe In A Caravan!
38
10192
Out And About In Paris
39
9740
Sports, Study And Fun In France
40
10157
Changing Course In China
41
11468
Learning While Teaching in Beijing
42
9812
Caring And Career Skills In Belize
43
9780
A Year In Marvelous Mexico!
44
11557
Un stage au Cambodge (Français)
45
11467
Stepping Outside the Box in Sweden!
46
10923
Insight And Education In Korea
47
10163
English Teaching In Eastern Europe
48
10230
Getting Caffeinated In Bolivia
49
9753
A Season In Sweden
50
9779
One Summer, Two Internships!
51
9759
From Cold Feet To Confidence In Germany
52
9777
Into The Wild In Alaska
53
9752
Giving In Guatemala
54
9742
Take-Charge Travel: Germany And Beyond!
55
9748
Adventure In The Alps
56
9743
Hooked On Volunteering!
57
9750
Host Hospitality In Morocco
58
9744
Food, Fun And Festivals In Germany
59
9747
Fun And Friends In The Netherlands
60
10218
Adaptation And Appreciation In Japan
61
10258
Encountering Cultures Across Europe
62
10143
A Warm Welcome In Mexico
63
9763
A Professional Visit To Vietnam
64
9782
Making The Most Of Milano
65
9764
Do It Yourself! A Proactive Intern In Rome
66
9765
Simpatico In Florence
67
9776
Soaking Up Japanese Culture
68
9775
A Year Of Feeling French
69
9767
Beyond The Call Of Duty In Africa
70
9772
Learning To Go With The Flow In France
71
9761
Communicating Creatively In Spain
72
9785
Motivated In Madagascar
73
9817
A Bulgarian In England
74
9754
Building Memories In India
75
9803
Ten Years Teaching In Seoul
76
9799
Getting Settled In Seoul
77
9756
Springtime In Spain
78
9791
Making Contacts Count In The UK
79
9788
Business And Pleasure In Australia
80
9786
Kids And Culture In Korea
81
9768
Going Solo In Spain!
82
9784
All Job Boards
429
All NGOs
1566
Au Pair Resources
35
Awards and Grants Resources
30
Business and Finance Job Boards
67
Business Directories
21
Canadian Federal, Provincial and Territorial Government Profiles
64
Canadian Government Resources
26
Children and Families Abroad
21
Country Guides
57
Cross-cultural Skills
101
Engineering Job Boards
58
Engineering Resources
61
Expatriate Networking Sites
31
Foreign Students Working in the US
10
Freelancing Abroad
21
General Job Search
23
Global Education and Social Action
29
Health and Medicine Job Boards
52
Health Career Resources
40
International Associations With Clubs on Campus
32
International Development Career Resources
46
International Internship Job Boards and Advice
51
International Internship Organizations
311
International Internships and Student Programs With Canadian Governments
35
International Internships With the US Government
40
International Job Hunting Resources
14
International Law Careers Resources
96
International Law Job Boards
24
International Studies in the US and Canada
12
International Trade Resources
28
International Volunteer Organizations
494
Internships With the UN and Other IGOs
150
Language Careers
31
Learn a Language
103
Licensed Teacher Abroad Job Boards
27
Licensed Teacher Abroad Resources
13
Loans for Studying Abroad
13
Low-cost Travel
29
NGO Directories
32
NGO Job Boards
41
Re-entry
12
Regional Job Boards
132
Relocating Abroad
23
Resources for International Students Studying in the US or Canada
49
Stories From Abroad
82
Study Abroad Resources
188
Teach English Abroad Job Boards
108
Teach English Abroad Resources
61
Tools for Travelers
41
Top International Blogs
51
Travel Health and Safety
38
UN and Other IGOs
234
UN and Other IGOs Job Boards
18
UN and Other IGOs Resources
17
US Government Profiles
80
US Government Resources
34
Visas and Passports
17
Volunteer Job Boards and Advice
53
Women Living and Working Overseas
17
Working Vacation Resources
58