Intern Q&A: Clemens Schleupner

Name: Clemens Schleupner

Where you’re from: I’m from a little town near Düsseldorf, called Willich.

Where and what you’re studying: I’m studying International Relations at Sciences Po Paris.

What is one project or activity you enjoyed at the Embassy? Organizing the EU Open House was certainly my highlight. I got to work with a wonderful team, take responsibility, make mistakes and learn a lot. It was a very intense project, but it’s safe to say that I have never seen anything more rewarding than 7000 happy visitors in the embassy.

What do you think is one of Germany’s main foreign policy challenges and what should Germany do about it? With political shifts abound, Germany needs to step up and take responsibility in the world. It needs to shape its opinion on issues like the future of the EU and stand for values like integrity and consistency in order to find its place in these challenging times.

What are some cultural impressions you gained of the United States? I’ve lived in DC before, but working in the embassy has made American optimism and the energy of Americans even more apparent to me. It was interesting to see Americans and Germans work together so closely, with all the cultural differences and similarities. I believe that combining both points of views can be nothing but beneficial to any project.

What has been your biggest surprise with regard to living in Washington? Even though I’ve known many corners of DC, I was surprised by how this city always has something new and exciting to offer. I kept discovering new places and activities. After long days in the embassy for example, I appreciated all the green and open spaces that gave me the opportunity to recharge my batteries.

What do you miss about Germany? This summer in particular I missed the German Soccer culture. Regarding our team’s performance, I wish I could have yelled more at the TV without being looked at weirdly.

What has been your biggest lesson learned during your internship? Taking responsibility helps you grow. I wouldn’t have thought that I’d be capable of taking on a major role within such a talented and well-functioning team, working on such a big project as the EU Open House.

What has been your biggest challenge living here? Saying goodbye to this job and all the friends I’ve made. It was equally hard and exciting to see my fellow interns come and go, to constantly meet new people, and to now finally leave this place with all the great memories that I’ve made. Looking back will probably be the biggest challenge yet to come.

Where do you plan to go or what do you plan to do after your internship? I’m going to pursue my Master’s degree in International Public Management at Sciences Po Paris.

Intern Q&A: Lena Schneider

Name: Lena Schneider

Where you’re from:  I live in a place called Regensburg, one of the most beautiful towns in Bavaria (if I do say so myself)! The city is both old and new: its history goes all the way back to the 9th century and it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006 for its uniquely well-preserved medieval Old Town. At the same time, the universities make it feel very young! It’s a great place to have grown up.

Where and what you’re studying: I am in the final stages of gaining my Bachelor’s degree in political science and British Studies, having studied in Regensburg and Hong Kong.

What is one project or activity you enjoyed at the Embassy?

Being an intern in the economics department at the embassy, the tariffs on steel and aluminium introduced by the United States during my time in DC had a great impact on my work: it was fascinating watching the political process at such proximity! I also really appreciated the department itself because it covers such a wide range of topics. For example, I was able to gain insights into farming and agricultural exports, the implications of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the US, but also the challenges of migration and developmental work by visiting various events around the city and aiding colleagues in their research.

What do you think is one of Germany’s main foreign policy challenges and what should Germany do about it?

I can only echo what my fellow interns have mentioned in this section: finding and preserving unity – both domestically and within the EU –, strengthening the transatlantic relationship and tackling the rise of populism around the world are issues that must be taken seriously. Likewise, making sure the art of diplomacy and skilled conversation is not lost in a world where a Tweet travels faster than actions.

What are some cultural impressions you gained of the United States?

I love how open and communicative people are in the US compared to Germany. Every conversation here starts with a “How are you?” – be it a random person on the street or your Uber driver. If you ask cashiers in Germany about their well-being I can guarantee all you will get are strange looks.

What has been your biggest surprise with regard to living in Washington?

I have never been to a place that is more political than DC! This city lives and breathes politics, be it all the government agencies and organizations that are based here, the think tanks and the events they host, or everyday life in general. When you meet somebody here, chances are they work on the Hill, for the World Bank or an NGO. As a student of political science, the atmosphere in this place is a dream!

What do you miss about Germany?

Apart from my family, friends and my dog I’d have to say living in a small country! It’s a weird thing to miss, I know. One of the joys of living in Europe is having so many different cultures, languages and traditions in such proximity. A four-hour drive is not considered a quick excursion as it is in the US! One thing I definitely don’t miss, however, is not being able to do your shopping on a Sunday or after 8 pm. That’s one convenience I have come to appreciate a lot and that will be sorely missed when it’s time for me to return home.

What has been your biggest lesson learnt during your internship?

Be prepared for lots and lots of small talk! DC is the capital of networking. I have lost count of the amount of business cards people have given me during the two short months I have been here. Having a few easy topics of conversation on-hand makes life a lot easier!

What has been your biggest challenge living here?

Dealing with all the single-use plastic. It is nearly impossible to avoid when doing the weekly shop and often it is utterly superfluous! It should not be possible to buy individually plastic-wrapped potatoes or pre-peeled eggs and oranges in plastic containers, yet these things are readily available at my local grocery store. I am glad, however, that DC has introduced a 5-cent plastic bag fee; it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

Where do you plan to go or what do you plan to do after your internship?

Sadly, even the most fun internships must end someday… I will be returning home to Regensburg and will be greeted by an exam and term papers before finally finishing by Bachelor’s thesis. After that, who knows where life will take me!

 

Intern Q&A: Lukas Behrenbeck

Name: Lukas Behrenbeck

Where you’re from: Köln/Cologne

Where and what you’re studying:  I’m studying International Administration and Global Governance in Gothenburg, Sweden.

What is one project or activity you enjoyed at the Embassy? 

There is no doubt that Chancellor Merkel’s visit was a highlight. Sitting up close during her press conference with President Trump in the White House felt surreal, since clearly every word they uttered and every move they made mattered a whole lot politically. But I was also glad to have been involved in the surrounding logistics of her visit.

What do you think is one of Germany’s main foreign policy challenges and what should Germany do about it?

Although Germany’s new international role has started to materialize since as early as the 1990s, the process of adjusting its foreign policy vis-à-vis its international commitments and expectations is far from over. The questions about German history which my non-German friends ask me shows not only that it still matters, but also that German foreign policy must remain inherently multilateral. At the same time, I am convinced that foreign policy is a fluid process which needs outreach and steady engagement with society. Thus, managing domestic and international expectations is a major foreign policy challenge I believe.

What are some cultural impressions you gained of the United States?

Many cultural aspects are often portrayed as “typically American”, something unique and at times bizarre to non-Americans. Short-term visitors may feel vindicated, but a closer look reveals that the US still is such a diverse country. Anything that seems strange has a more familiar counterpart. Maybe that’s simply because of the big population, but maybe that’s also a result of the powerful narrative as a land of the free.

What has been your biggest surprise with regard to living in Washington?

I lived in Columbia Heights, which has many faces but its Latino influence really struck me. I absolutely loved that.

What do you miss about Germany?

More convenient public transportation.

What has been your biggest lesson learned during your internship?

From afar, diplomacy sometimes seems like a perfected discipline performed by high-flyers. However, diplomacy is in fact a fragile network that hinges on the commitment of every involved individual. And yes, just as in real life, small acts of friendship and gratitude can make a big difference. In practice, this means that you can approach basically anyone if you are open-minded and affable.

What has been your biggest challenge living here?

Staying healthy. Lots of interesting evening events curtail your time for cooking, and nutritious products are rare in supermarkets as are supermarkets themselves. You can go running, but there are only two calisthenics parks in town.

Where do you plan to go or what do you plan to do after your internship?

For any Kölsche (someone from Cologne), moving out of sight of the cathedral is a painful step. However, international relations and especially the Middle East are big fascinations of mine, which draws me back to that region. Ultimately, I’ll do what I’ve planned on since high school and apply for the Foreign Service.

Intern Q&A: Marvin Nowak

Name: Marvin Nowak

Where you’re from: Pretty much my entire (30-people-strong) family lives in a small village called Ofden, which is close to the historically not insignificant city of Aachen. I’ve always envied people who get to visit relatives all over Germany, but meeting half your family while walking the dog certainly has some upsides. I feel fortunate to have grown up there.

Where and what you’re studying: I’m currently finishing my master’s in North American Studies at the University of Bonn – so getting to intern in DC was a much appreciated opportunity.

What is one project or activity you enjoyed at the Embassy?

Having worked closely with the protocol department to organize and help carry out pretty much every event at the Ambassador’s Residence over the last three months has provided me with a close-up look of diplomacy at work. To see how international relations are eventually translated into relationships between individual people was inspiring and has helped to put things into perspective. Being here for the visits of Chancellor Merkel and Foreign Minister Maas definitely felt like a privilege. I’ll never forget anxiously waiting for the Chancellor’s motorcade at the Residence while receiving arrival updates from Secret Service.

What do you think is one of Germany’s main foreign policy challenges and what should Germany do about it?

You’ve probably read several passionate pleas for a unified Europe in this section. But yes, we’ll have to continue working hard to convince people of the added value of a strong European Union that gets to speak with one voice on the world stage. Excuse the political jargon – I’ve spent too much time in DC!

What are some cultural impressions you gained of the United States?

I first arrived in the States as a 16-year-old exchange student. Having been back several times, I’ve come to appreciate the general positive vibe and the optimistic outlook of the American people. All stereotypical superficiality aside, Germans would do good to take in some of that “it’ll work out in the end” mindset.

What has been your biggest surprise with regard to living in Washington?

I didn’t expect DC to be so colorful – and I don’t just say that because I arrived in the midst of the Cherry Blossom Festival. Washingtonians can be rightfully proud of the richness of the many diverse neighborhoods that expand beyond the mall. Strolling through the streets of Dupont & Logan Circle, Georgetown or Adams Morgan was a refreshing escape from the political bubble.

What do you miss about Germany?

Good coffee. Sorry, America.

What has been your biggest lesson learnt during your internship?

To prioritize, organize – and most importantly, to remain calm while you reprint that misspelled place card at the very last minute. Working for the Ambassador’s Social Secretaries and his Chief of Staff has been an intense experience I wouldn’t want to have missed.

What has been your biggest challenge living here?

Dealing with the unpredictability of the D6 – the bus line that takes me to the Embassy.

Where do you plan to go or what do you plan to do after your internship?

After another brief internship with a member of Bundestag, I’ll have to sit down and write my Master’s thesis. Then it’s on to looking for a real job – preferably in a transatlantic and/or parliamentary environment.

Intern Q&A: Bastian Harms

Name: Bastian Harms

Where you’re from:  I was born and raised in Oldenburg, a picturesque city in Northern Germany only around 45 minutes from the North Sea.

Where and what you’re studying:  I studied law in Osnabrück, the “city of peace” due to its part in the Peace of Westphalia after the end of the Thirty Years´ war. Subsequently I pursued an LL.M. in International Legal Studies in Washington DC. Funny how life brings you back to places you love!
I am now completing my legal clerkship in Hamburg – as a northern German it is great to be back in a city that is close to water and the sea!

What is one project or activity you enjoyed at the Embassy?

The highlight of my work at the Embassy was to accompany and attend to the press that travelled with Chancellor Merkel and Foreign Minister Maas. I was able to get a first-hand experience how a political visit is planned throughout all stages. This gave me a multitude of insights, beginning with the way the press prepares. I was stunned to see how much detailed work goes into the planning of such a visit. To be able to see press meetings and conferences at the State Department and the White House was a true privilege.

As an aviation enthusiast the visits gave me the opportunity to be at the airport regularly to see Germany´s government aircraft and enjoy some time on the tarmac.

Aside from these highlights, drafting the daily press brief was fulfilling work. Knowing that your work goes out into the world and will inform colleagues about the coverage of politics really does make a difference. Although I have to admit I did not enjoy the early mornings, having to compile lots of information into precise sentences was something I can really take away from my time here.

What do you think is one of Germany’s main foreign policy challenges and what should Germany do about it?

I believe Germany´s main foreign policy challenge begins domestically. Germany needs to be more involved and “out there” with regards to international crises in every part of the world. That will require creating domestic acceptance for this extension in foreign policy and can and should not happen within a too short period of time. I also believe that challenges like Brexit show that the European Union needs to be strengthened and reformed while not forgetting that while we stand united as Europeans we also have different national backgrounds and cultures.

What are some cultural impressions you gained of the United States?

It is always nice to see how open-minded and open people are in the States. While it might be harder to find “true friends”, especially in a professional environment it is so much easier to have an enjoyable conversation. This holds especially true as someone who’s from Northern Germany, a place where it takes time to warm up to new people.

What has been your biggest surprise with regard to living in Washington?

Since I had lived here before, there were no big surprises. However, being in a professional work environment this time, I was surprised at how many events, think tanks, political discussions etc. happen on a regular basis. And while I knew it was international, I was stunned how many people from around the globe actually work in DC permanently.

What do you miss about Germany?

I miss German prices. The cost of living in Washington is something you really need to get used to – over and over again! I also miss the German lifestyle – especially being able to sit in a public park – for example by the Alster lake in Hamburg and enjoy a beer or two while barbequing.

What has been your biggest lesson learned during your internship?

The daily press brief gave me some experiences I have not had before. It showed me that getting up very early can actually mean quite the productive start in the day – I never knew I could even think at that time of the day. Seeing how a wide array of topics has to be compiled in 2-3 pages (in a very condensed while still informative manner) is a lesson that I know will be useful in my future legal clerkship as well as my career. Sometimes it is not about writing lengthy (legal) arguments, but about getting the point across.

What has been your biggest challenge living here?

Overall, the length of the internships (a short 3 months) makes it challenging. Once you get used to the procedures, the building and the technical equipment at the Embassy, you´re almost about to leave — which also means leaving interesting and great colleagues behind who you only just started to get to know.

Where do you plan to go or what do you plan to do after your internship?

I will continue my legal clerkship in Hamburg with a large international law firm.

Intern Q&A: Julian Glitsch

This week, we are introducing one of our interns in the political department at the German Embassy. Our Q&A with Julian sheds light on his experience as a German in the US – and the Embassy!Name: Julian Glitsch

Where you’re from: Berlin

Where and what you’re studying: I study political science at the Franco-German Campus of Sciences Po in Nancy, France. It’s a French-German-English trilingual studies program with students from all over Europe and the world.

What is one project or activity you enjoyed at the Embassy?

Probably the most memorable experience was helping to prepare the arrival of Chancellor Merkel at her hotel in Georgetown during her Washington visit in April – not just because I got to see the Chancellor up close, but also because it impressed upon me on just how many small organizational details a successful diplomatic visit hinges. It was a great “look behind the curtain”.

What do you think is one of Germany’s main foreign policy challenges and what should Germany do about it?

Germany needs to become more conscious of how much our security and prosperity depends on Europe and on the transatlantic alliance. Shoring up the EU and maintaining our bond with the US will require Germany to go out of its comfort zone, show more leadership than we are historically used to and in some instances make painful sacrifices.

What are some cultural impressions you gained of the United States?

Wherever I went, I always found Americans to be incredibly friendly, gracious and curious. Being from a country where communication tends to be rather direct, even blunt, this was a very pleasant and refreshing experience, but at times also a little disorientating. Compared with Germans, it can be harder to tell whether an American genuinely likes you and is interested in what you have to say or if they are just being polite.

What has been your biggest surprise with regard to living in Washington?

I was surprised by how small Washington feels compared to other major capitals I’ve visited. So many important and exciting things are happening here all the time, and yet they all seem to be going on within walking distance (or a 10 minute Uber drive) of each other.

What do you miss about Germany?

Besides my family and friends, I’d have to say the food. As much as I enjoyed trying out everything from apple fritters to sweet potato pie to every craft burger restaurant I could find, in the end there’s nothing quite like fresh Graubrot with Kartoffelwurst.

What has been your biggest lesson learned during your internship?

I realized more than ever before that the world of international politics moves at break-neck speed. I try to follow global events as closely as possible, but it’s a whole different matter when you work in a place that actually has to react to them.

What has been your biggest challenge living here?

Money – life in Washington is pretty expensive even compared to the pricier European cities I’ve spent time in, like London or Paris.

Where do you plan to go or what do you plan to do after your internship?

For now I’m looking forward to heading back to Europe and beginning my Master’s studies in international relations in Paris this fall. But America has definitely left a wonderful and lasting impression on me. If I get the chance, I would love to live and work here someday.

Intern Q&A: Paulina Kaup

This week, we are introducing one of our interns at the German Embassy. Our Q&A with Paulina sheds light on her experience as a German in the US – and the Embassy!

Name: Paulina Kaup

Where you’re from:  My hometown is Kastellaun, a little castle town (as you maybe can see in the name) in Western Germany. It takes 30 minutes by car to get to the next train station and a 20 minute drive to the next Autobahn – but still, it is the best place I could imagine growing up.

Where and what you’re studying: I’m studying political science in Mainz, which is a typical student city close to Frankfurt. It’s famous for having the best wine, carnival and happy people!

What is one project or activity you enjoyed at the Embassy?

The most exciting days were during the IMF-Spring Meetings. Our new finance minister Olaf Scholz came with a big delegation and I was honored to be able to accompany them. Those days gave me the opportunity to get close to the big shots and to see how hard politicians work. And on top of it, the whole delegation and my colleagues from the embassy were so friendly and open-minded. I value this experience and take home a fresh look on the necessity of multilateral cooperation.

What do you think is one of Germany’s main foreign policy challenges and what should Germany do about it?

This space is too small for such an important topic. In short: Renew and vitalize the European Union and make Transatlantic Relations continue to work.

What are some cultural impressions you gained of the United States?

DC is so international that I don’t think I got to experience a lot of “real” American culture. What I appreciated though is that most of the Americans are really friendly and will always help you.

What has been your biggest surprise with regard to living in Washington?

I didn’t expect DC to be so hilly, so green and so European.

What do you miss about Germany?

To ride my bike to work /university. The road to the embassy was too dangerous to ride (and too hilly). I did have many interesting and funny Uber rides, but I prefer being active and independent from technology.

What has been your biggest lesson learned during your internship?

There is no ONE big lesson. Every day so many impressions overwhelm me. I’ve learned so much about trade, finance, agriculture, transportation and energy in the embassy’s economic department. I’ve learned about the work of the other departments, about other embassies, about diplomacy, world politics, history and so on… and besides that:

  1. This embassy with all his structures is truly German: So organized that it sometimes might even seem complicated again.
  2. Happy Hour is too short.
  3. And yet again my personal mantra was confirmed: Communication is the key. Talk to people, be open-minded and honest, and they will help you – and they may become good friends in the process.

What has been your biggest challenge living here?

Multitasking: Talking, smiling, being friendly and concentrated while eating an important dinner or lunch. Unfortunately, I’m the queen in spilling food on my blouse.

Where do you plan to go or what do you plan to do after your internship?

I’ll travel on my own through Canada and head back from Vancouver to Germany at the end of June. Then my “normal life” starts again: writing term papers, going to university and finishing my masters degree.

 

 

Intern Q&A: Lukas Hoffmann

This week, we are introducing one of our interns at the German Embassy. Our Q&A with Lukas sheds light on his experience as a German in the US – and the Embassy!

Name:  Lukas David Hoffmann

Where you’re from:  I am from the heart of the Ruhr area, which everyone from the Ruhr area claims to be from. The area, often referred to as “Revier”, is historically known as an industrial location, especially for coal and steel. Supposedly the air is thin, but people are self-confident and down-to-earth. As a result of structural change, much of the former industry has given way to an industrial culture.

Where and what you’re studying:  I studied law in Hamburg and Rome. Internships have taken me to Frankfurt and Brussels, among other places. Meanwhile I am completing my legal traineeship in Düsseldorf, which has led me to the colorful Rhineland.

What is one project or activity you enjoyed at the Embassy?

From an academic point of view, the research on mobile work forms in the USA was certainly exciting: home office, telework, telecommuting and more. Overall, however, the visit to the many think tank events was the most instructive. Most of the events I personally went to were related to Russia, so that one learned a lot about the country and its people, which certainly provided a better understanding. Most of the time there was also an opportunity to talk to other participants, which often resulted in a closer exchange.

What has been your biggest surprise with regard to living in Washington?

Washington is even more international than I imagined it to be. In this city you really get everything you know from all over the world, if you are only willing to spend money on it. The city’s restaurant scene offers a great variety of international cuisine, too.

What do you miss about Germany?

The constantly bad, but predictable weather. Seriously, the weather in Washington is so changeable that you would have to take a whole wardrobe with you to cope with any type of weather.

What has been your biggest lesson learnt during your internship?

Law does not always have to be hard, but can also be very “soft”. International law as one of the (legal) foundations of diplomacy deals with the most important questions of human coexistence in this world. At the same time, no legal matter may be as dependent on the interpretation of the individual who seeks to apply.

What has been your biggest challenge living here?

Trying not to gain too much weight and not to spend too much money. Unfortunately, the prices for many healthy and fresh foods are very high, so these two challenges are not always easy to balance out.

Where do you plan to go or what do you plan to do after your internship?

In the short term, I will return to Düsseldorf to complete another station of my legal traineeship in an international law firm. In the long term, I definitely want to work in an international environment as well.

 

Intern Q&A: Maria

Name: Maria

Where you’re from: I´m currently studying in Leipzig

Where and what you’re studying: Law

What is one project or activity you enjoyed at the Embassy?

I was responsible for replying to all electronic and written inquiries from American citizens. It was great to read how many people from all over the US are curious about Germany and interested in learning German! I had fun answering questions I sometimes never even thought of myself, like “What is the most famous dog breed in Germany?” or “What is the most widespread insect in German forests?”

What do you think is one of Germany’s main foreign policy challenges and what should Germany do about it?

I’m a big fan of the European Union and I believe in the values and goals the EU stands for. But I understand that some countries and people in the EU don’t feel that way – one current example for this is the Brexit. The rise of right-wing parties all over Europe (Germany is not an exception), the lack of mutual support during the refugee crisis as well as continuous criticism of European frameworks has to be a wake-up call for national and European politicians. We have to start asking ourselves difficult questions and be prepared to hear new answers. The EU has to be a living organism whose working processes are adapting to the needs of its members. I know, this sounds utopic. But just because you already have a system it doesn´t mean you shouldn´t look for ways to improve it. The European Union is designed to be a platform of communication and peace on the European continent. These goals are worth the effort.

What are some cultural impressions you gained of the United States?

The United States is too big and too diverse to talk about general cultural impressions. But in Washington I gained the impression that culture is everywhere. I spent most of my spare time at the free museums, at the National Mall or at concerts in the Kennedy Center. And if I got tired of all the “institutionalized” culture, I just kept walking around the city. Every part of Washington is unique and worth exploring. Sometimes I couldn’t believe that I’m still in the same city.

What has been your biggest surprise with regard to living in Washington?

I was really surprised about how easy it is to find your way around town. As street names are either successive letters or numbers, I never felt lost. You cannot compare that with Germany, where every single street has a name – and where I’m constantly lost.

What do you miss about Germany?

A fast and efficient public transportation system. In Germany I’m used to just taking a bus or a subway to any place around town. Here I couldn’t really rely on that as much. I got the impression that there was not as much attention paid to enable people without car to move around the city.

What has been your biggest challenge living here?

I have lived in the United States before, so the culture shock was kept in bounds. One completely unserious “challenge” I found myself confronted with on a regular basis was the size of dimes and nickels. Why is a nickel bigger that a dime although it has less value? This led to some embarrassing moments at cash registers. Thankfully everybody was really patient with me and ensured me that this is a problem foreigners are frequently struggling with.

Where do you plan to go or what do you plan to do after your internship?

I’m going back to Leipzig to continue my preparation for the bar exam in August.

Intern Q&A: Adele Kirschner

Name: Adele Juliane Kirschner

Where you’re from: Stuttgart, Germany

Where and what you’re studying: I studied law in Heidelberg and Geneva (CH). I am currently clerking at the Higher Regional Court in Frankfurt (The clerkship is a requirement for German law school graduates to take the bar exam).

What is one project or activity you enjoyed at the Embassy?

Working in the legal and consular department I was sometimes tasked with following current developments in US (legal) politics and law, such as reporting on new laws or Supreme Court decisions etc. In connection with this I went to see a hearing at the US Supreme Court. It was not only fascinating to see these venerable and eminent judges at work, what captivated me the most was the how the lawyers were constantly interrupted and questioned, requiring them to instantly respond, often not being able to complete their argument. You could see some very brilliant minds at work and a very fascinating “battle” indeed! There is not so much action in court proceedings at home.

What do you think is one of Germany’s main foreign policy challenges and what should Germany do about it?

I think Germany has to balance between being aware that it needs to raise its voice with regard to current developments in the EU as well as with regard to its (EU) future direction, while on the other hand trying not to act in a way that is perceived as too dominant by other countries. I thinks it’s important to side with allies and like-minded countries in this case and try to push for a common agenda in appreciation of the values on which the EU is based – such as e.g. with France.

What are some impressions you gained of the United States?

Generally speaking I would say it’s much easier to start a conversation with a stranger in the US than at home. People are very open and often curious to learn about where you are form when they hear a foreign language.

Diversity it another thing that strikes me and I mean this in every sense, starting from the diverse cultural backgrounds of its people, over the diverse landscapes to the diversity, of rather variety, of choices you are offered in your everyday life – starting at the supermarket which e.g. offers over 200 different kinds of beers (note I am saying this as a German!) and types of cheddar cheeses (albeit the choice of cheese type is then again not quite as diverse)! I always take quite a while for my groceries 😉

People take the car a lot – often even short distances people will take the car instead of walking. That’s something I am not so used to – even though I’d say DC might be a little different in that respect, think of M-Street in Georgetown or some busy areas down-town, but I hardly ever see children walking to school for example.

What has been your biggest surprise with regard to living in Washington?

The weather, I was expecting a much milder climate and was hoping to escape the long German winter! Also it’s crazy how you can enjoy an ice cream and summery temperature as well as a pot of tea on a snow-day all in one week!

What do you miss about Germany?

Bäckereien – German bakeries or rather their bread, riding around town with my bike and of course my friends and family!

What has been your biggest lesson learned during your internship?

I wouldn’t call it a lesson in this sense, but I must say that I gained a deep respect for the US-Constitution or rather the political system as a whole which has been in place all these years. Of course it has needed amendments and is interpreted differently at times, but it has nevertheless created a framework for stable and prosperous democracy, that has persisted and will surely survive many a crisis to come. Not many countries can look back at such a long history of successful democratic governance!

Where do you plan to go or what do you plan to do after your internship?

I will return back to Frankfurt and start with the next chapter of my clerkship, where I will be working at an international-law firm for a few months.