This week, we are introducing one of our interns in the protocol department at the German Embassy. Our Q&A with Victoria sheds light on her experience as a German in the US – and the Embassy!
Name: Victoria Hiepe
Where you’re from: Berlin, the capital of Germany.
Where and what you’re studying: I’m studying Politics and Administration as well as Sociology at the University of Potsdam, which is located in the capital of Brandenburg.
What is one project or activity you enjoyed at the Embassy? :
Since I worked for the Protocol Office I spend a lot of time at the Ambassador’s Residence during events. The nature of this work is to see many important personalities of Washington DC engage, which was a great opportunity. The highlight of my internship was helping with the biggest event of the year: the celebrations of the Day of German Unity, during which the Ambassador hosted over 2,500 guests on the residence grounds. The opportunity to join this event and also take part in organizing this day was definitely something very special which I will keep in my memory.
What do you think is one of Germany’s main foreign policy challenges and what should Germany do about it?
It is very important that Germany remains a stable, reliable partner for all countries. In my opinion Germany should engage into a more socially oriented European Union, which is not only focused on the economy. It is very important that Germany becomes more aware of (including the challenges of) other countries in the EU as well, including Eastern Europe.
What are some cultural impressions you gained of the United States?
I am impressed by how different parts of the US can be, even though it is just one country! I visited New York and Miami during my internship and was amazed how mentalities and lifestyles can change from one state to another.
What has been your biggest surprise with regard to living in Washington?
DC’s wildlife. I lived near the Embassy, which is a rather green area where I regularly saw deer, squirrels and bunnies. What is nicer than coming back home and finding a deer grazing in your front garden?
What do you miss about Germany?
The “Berliner Schnauze” — the Berlin slang that is often characterized as being outspoken and using coarse humor.
What has been your biggest lesson learned during your internship?
I have learned that politics work differently over here. As I am engaged in political work back home, I was expecting similar structures here as well. However, politicians seem to be much determined when it comes to the time they spend with the media or other political actors. Complemented through the various visits of Think Tanks and media representatives I gained a practical insight into how this political system and International Relations work.
What has been your biggest challenge living here?
To bear the extreme humidity!
Where do you plan to go or what do you plan to do after your internship?
First I have to finish a flood of assignments after returning back to Berlin – the semester still needs to be finished. I am also going to Istanbul for one semester next year. And who knows – maybe there will be another internship coming up as well.