This week, we are introducing one of our interns in the finance department at the German Embassy. Our Q&A with Nike sheds light on her experience as a German in the US – and the Embassy!
Name: Nike Schneider
Where you’re from: I grew up in Bonn, but my heart definitely belongs to Munich, the most beautiful city in Germany!
Where and what you’re studying: The short answer to this question would be: Economics and Politics in Munich.
What is one project or activity you enjoyed at the Embassy?
Obviously, I loved all the events and parties at the residence but to be honest I´ve learned so much more during my internship. The topic I knew second to none about in the beginning was the regulation of FinTechs and cryptocurrencies. Assisting the financial department at the Embassy in their research in this field was fascinating and challenging at the same time! And who doesn´t love a challenge, right?
What do you think is one of Germany’s main foreign policy challenges and what should Germany do about it?
One of the main foreign policy challenges seems to me to remain a credible partner and ally in a world where fake news undermine the credibility of democratic institutions. Therefore, it is more important than ever to remain calm through all false and harsh accusations (e.g. in the context of the trade conflict or the NATO) but at the same time never shy away from the responsibility to set straight any statements that are false or misleading and lead by example.
It has been an honor to work the German Embassy, to represent Germany as it is: Open-minded, a strong political partner but not a pushover and one of the strongest economic players in the world.
What are some cultural impressions you gained of the United States?
I was taken by surprise by the immense diversity and heterogeneity in the U.S. And I am not just talking skin color, social background or education, but also the ways of living, opinions and ways to express yourself that differ at least as much as within Europe.
What has been your biggest surprise with regard to living in Washington?
I was surprised that even though DC is quite small compared to other capitals around the world, you can always sense the spell this place holds over the entire world. When I was sent to report on a hearing in the US Senate, there were diplomats from numerous countries as well as lobbyists of some of the most powerful companies in the world. At the same time you get to meet students all around the city as well as live in beautiful residential areas, take a trip to the beach and spend nights in countless bars and pubs. It seems to me, this Town has it all.
What do you miss about Germany?
I know this sounds silly, but I am looking forward to drinking tap water that tastes better than pool water.
What has been your biggest lesson learned during your internship?
Before I came here, I was happy to have completed my studies in economics and thought I was done with the subject. My work in the economics department reminded me of all the reasons I started my studies in the first place. Economics still fascinates me as the whole world is connected through economic relations. So the biggest lesson I learned was not to give up on all the calculus but to keep trying to understand and explore what economics is all about.
What has been your biggest challenge living here?
The biggest challenge during my time in D.C. was saying goodbye. From day one this internship was a dream come true. I fell in love with D.C. and met the most amazing crowd of interns.
Where do you plan to go or what do you plan to do after your internship?
D.C. taught me how important networking is in life and to advance your career, so I hope I can use some of the connections I built to start a couple more internships and to figure out what Masters degree I want to enroll in.
But no matter what organization, agency or government department will accept me, the German Embassy in D.C. will most certainly always hold a special place in my heart.