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.

Where did you work abroad?

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

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?
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.
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.
The World Online
Want to stay in touch with the world? Check out these top (and sometime quirky) links!
Quick Guides! Our Most Popular Go Abroad Topics
View, print or share our easy-to-use guides available in English, French and Spanish.
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.
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!
Earn $50 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Find answers to all your questions about MyWorldAbroad by diving into our Frequently Asked Questions section.
Your International Resume & LinkedIn
Write your international resume first, and then create that all-important LinkedIn profile.
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.
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 -
  • 90
90
9773
Independent In India
1
9765
Simpatico In Florence
2
9767
Beyond The Call Of Duty In Africa
3
9776
Soaking Up Japanese Culture
4
9742
Take-Charge Travel: Germany And Beyond!
5
10230
Getting Caffeinated In Bolivia
6
11467
Stepping Outside the Box in Sweden!
7
10204
Across Europe In A Caravan!
8
11468
Learning While Teaching in Beijing
9
10145
Real Stories And Real People In Mexico
10
9787
A Spring Semester In London
11
9771
Learning To Love London
12
11645
A Love Affair with Shanghai
13
11845
Hospitality and Hosting in the DCR
14
9781
A Hospital Helper In Costa Rica
15
11996
Daring to Go Solo in Ireland
16
9762
American Freshman In London
17
12058
Architectural Adventures in Australia
18
9766
Short-Term Trips For Long-Term Gain
19
15327
An Open Mind & Open Arms in Spain
20
15387
Bliss on a Budget in Brazil
21
9803
Ten Years Teaching In Seoul
22
9769
Getting Sporty In Switzerland!
23
9791
Making Contacts Count In The UK
24
10851
Tips From Tasmania
25
15405
From Daydream to Reality: Teaching Abroad
26
15401
From Korea to Oman: Teaching English Around the World!
27
15383
Hustle and Bustle in Vietnam
28
15347
12 Months, 12 Countries!
29
15333
A Literary Education in the UK
30
14594
Growing Abroad: Hong Kong & South Korea
31
9770
Contributing To Change In Ghana
32
9760
Getting In Sync In Nairobi
33
9799
Getting Settled In Seoul
34
10258
Encountering Cultures Across Europe
35
9772
Learning To Go With The Flow In France
36
10218
Adaptation And Appreciation In Japan
37
9785
Motivated In Madagascar
38
9786
Kids And Culture In Korea
39
9748
Adventure In The Alps
40
9788
Business And Pleasure In Australia
41
9744
Food, Fun And Festivals In Germany
42
9747
Fun And Friends In The Netherlands
43
9750
Host Hospitality In Morocco
44
9754
Building Memories In India
45
9752
Giving In Guatemala
46
9775
A Year Of Feeling French
47
9777
Into The Wild In Alaska
48
9759
From Cold Feet To Confidence In Germany
49
9779
One Summer, Two Internships!
50
9753
A Season In Sweden
51
10923
Insight And Education In Korea
52
11557
Un stage au Cambodge (Français)
53
9812
Caring And Career Skills In Belize
54
10157
Changing Course In China
55
9740
Sports, Study And Fun In France
56
9778
Study And Adventure In New Zealand
57
9755
People, Places And Passionate Volunteering In Peru
58
9738
Living For The Moment In Valencia
59
11850
The Warmest Welcome in Guatemala
60
9783
Off The Beaten Path In Africa
61
9757
Teaching And Learning In Tanzania
62
9741
Adapting To Work In Peru
63
9746
A Cross-Cultural Co-Op In West Africa
64
9789
Loving Life In Lyon
65
9784
Skill-Building In Bonn
66
9774
Gaga For Ghana!
67
9745
An Unforgettable Adventure In Nanjing
68
9792
Rolling With The Punches In Seoul
69
10188
Now Or Never In Colombia
70
11904
Enthusiasm, Education and Experience in Greece
71
9807
Fast Friendship In Korea
72
9790
Design And Dining In Korea
73
9758
Learning The Local Ways Of Addis Ababa
74
10163
English Teaching In Eastern Europe
75
9768
Going Solo In Spain!
76
14483
Finding Home, By Teaching Abroad
77
9743
Hooked On Volunteering!
78
10153
China, South Africa And Beyond!
79
14088
An Eye-Opening Experience Teaching in South Korea
80
9751
A Canadian Globe-Trotter Visits The US
81
9737
Passionate About Panama
82
10192
Out And About In Paris
83
9780
A Year In Marvelous Mexico!
84
9763
A Professional Visit To Vietnam
85
9764
Do It Yourself! A Proactive Intern In Rome
86
10143
A Warm Welcome In Mexico
87
9756
Springtime In Spain
88
9782
Making The Most Of Milano
89
9761
Communicating Creatively In Spain
90
9784
All Job Boards
461
All NGOs
1433
Au Pair Resources
39
Awards And Grants Resources
54
Business Directories
17
Canadian Federal, Provincial And Territorial Government Profiles
60
Canadian Government Resources
28
Children And Families Abroad
16
Consulting, Economic And Finance Job Boards
63
Country Guides
73
Cross-cultural Skills
79
Engineering Job Boards
59
Engineering Resources
81
Expatriate Networking Sites
32
Foreign Students Working in the US
9
Freelancing Abroad
27
General Job Search Books
15
Global Education And Social Action
44
Health And Medicine Job Boards
48
Health Career Resources
67
International Associations With Clubs on Campus
44
International Development Career Resources
75
International Internship Organizations
272
International Internships And Student Programs With Canadian Governments
31
International Internships With The US Government
37
International Job Hunting Resources
13
International Law Careers Resources
113
International Law Job Boards
26
International Student Exchanges
2
International Studies In The US And Canada
13
International Trade Resources
25
International Volunteer Organizations
490
Internship Directories And Advice
41
Internships With The UN And Other IGOs
156
Language Careers
30
Learn A Language
106
Licensed Teacher Abroad Job Boards
29
Licensed Teacher Abroad Resources
31
Loans for Studying Abroad
18
Low-cost Travel
63
NGO Directories
33
NGO Job Boards
47
Re-entry
12
Regional Job Boards
102
Relocating Abroad
27
Resources For International Students Studying In The US Or Canada
48
Stories From Abroad
90
Study Abroad Resources
184
Teach English Abroad Job Boards
100
Teach English Abroad Resources
64
Tools for Travelers
73
Top International Blogs & Podcasts
84
Travel Health And Safety
39
UN and Other IGOs
266
UN And Other IGOs Job Boards
26
UN And Other IGOs Resources
73
US Government Profiles
76
US Government Resources
36
Visas and Passports
25
Volunteer Directories And Advice
50
Women Living And Working Overseas
18
Working Holiday Resources
74