Living, Learning, Working in Germany and Abroad – Get to know our International Administrative Team in Cologne

Diego Ureta, 32, TAVEC Project Assistant

Born in Chile, childhood in Mexico and USA, now living, studying and working in Germany!

What motivated you to move to Germany? And how has your experience been so far, working in an educational institution in Germany? How different is it from your motherland?

Born in Chile, but spent an important part of my childhood in Mexico City and Miami, USA – two beautiful places and cultures which I am grateful for building my personality and giving me the constant enthusiasm of learning about different cultures. 

After a childhood filled with moving from town to town, I was ready to settle back in my homeland and spend my adolescence there. I studied my Bachelor‘s in Music Production and was part of some band project records. I also completed courses of business administration and financial accounting, and had the rewarding experience of working in a financial accounting firm for 5 years.

But after a while, I realised I was ready to leave my comforting commodities and start a new challenge abroad.

Why Germany? My honest answer would be that it was fate and a mixture of reasons: momentary circumstances, the willingness to know the German culture and language, and, that I knew that studying International Business Management in Germany was going to be a huge step in my professional development.

Looking back, I can say these have probably been the best years of my life, it is never easy to leave your comfort zone, but the experience of living in this incredible city, meeting new people from Germany and all over the world, and facing new challenges in university and in everyday life, has been just too highly stimulating.

What only could make this experience still greater is having joined this incredible TAVEC project team. Contrasting working in an educational institution in Germany to my working experience in my homeland, I can say there are big differences, mainly in hierarchy structures; here, I have found a more flat and direct communication relationship with superiors, which makes it more encouraging, trust-building and dynamic. Also, working in a team of such different backgrounds with Lena and Pirneeta (each one of us from a different continent), and meeting students from New York and Germany, has been an unique experience for which I am more than grateful, and it only affirms that working in a multicultural environment like this has been eye-opening, with so much to learn from my peers !

Pirneeta Bhambhani, 23, TAVEC Project Assistant

Adventurous and curious!

What are the things that continue to surprise you while working under an international setting? Why would you recommend people to immerse themselves in a completely new setting?

Coming to Germany all the way from Jakarta, Indonesia, has been one of the most exciting, yet nail-biting, decisions that I’ve ever made. Experiencing major differences right from the unavoidable weather and temperature, to a complete foreign-language and way of life, my arrival in Germany has been fruitful and mind-boggling. 

The best way to describe my journey would be to define a very local Indonesian dish, known as  ‘Gado-Gado’; a mixture of the sweetest, sourest and also the spiciest flavors and fruits put in together. Working with Hochschule Fresenius has allowed me to bear my ground while absorbing a new way of working, which has been nothing less than pleasant!

Having completed my Bachelor‘s in International Business Management in University of Nottingham in Malaysia, I have been blessed to experience and explore the Malaysian work culture during my internship in a private real-estate firm. Moreover, I further had the opportunity to explore the work environment and morals in an international firm, founded in Indonesia. The work environment in Germany has been very different from anything else that I’ve experienced in so many ways! 

The staff dynamic and modes of communication are extremely interactive, creatively constructed to ensure efficiency, while also committing to diversity. I am extremely lucky to find myself in a cross-cultural work-environment, as it adds-on opportunities to gain insight into not just one, but several, backgrounds, stories, lifestyles and ways of thinking. Moreover, I am thrilled that I have the opportunity to learn and expand my digital know-how by working hands-on with the TAVEC Project team, further creating relations across the world! 

It’s admirable how easy our lives and communication have gotten through technology and the great innovations of the world (a.k.a. Industry 4.0). I truly believe that there’s never enough than one could know. Challenging oneself to explore a new setting, issue, or even a job, could lead to snowballing unimaginable inspiration. Furthermore, with the ability to learn from the comfort of our homes, I would love to take this opportunity to encourage anyone to immerse themselves in a setting, or task, that promotes learning and enlightens their individual passion.

Lena Mewes, 32, TAVEC Project Research Coordinator

Born and raised in Germany, but always been a globetrotter!

What motivated you to work with TAVEC, and what have you specifically learned under this cross-cultural setting?

I did my Master’s in International Management and worked in international sectors before. Since September 2020, I’ve been the TAVEC Project Research Coordinator in Cologne.

I was always interested in international and intercultural topics as I spent some time abroad. I did a high school term in Australia, studied abroad in Spain and in Puerto Rico and always loved to travel around the world. However, I never really worked abroad in a real international team. I’m therefore more than happy to have an international team right around me in Cologne but also in a virtual way at the other side of the Atlantic, working together with great and inspiring people from New York.

This trans-atlantic collaborative project inspired me right away when I first heard of it. It caught my attention related to my own studies and my passion for intercultural relations and understanding. In times of a global pandemic, such a virtual program is very future oriented and efficient. I love to work closely with faculty in Germany and NY and to support and assist students at both sides of the globe. Being in touch with the students, guiding them during intercultural challenges and accompanying them in their progress is just a valuable experience. Working with two project assistants from Chile and Indonesia makes this position even more exciting and is now a real intercultural working experience for me. Cross-cultural situations in daily and work life always broadened my horizon, shaped my personality and taught me to be open-minded, flexible and curious.

I love to be part of this project from scratch, which is challenging, diverse and satisfying at the same time and holds many possibilities for us.

And most importantly: We have a lot of fun!

LudwigLiving, Learning, Working in Germany and Abroad – Get to know our International Administrative Team in Cologne