Intern Q&A: Christina-Theresia Ernst

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

Name: Christina-Theresia Ernst

Where you’re from: I’m from Schuby, Schleswig-Holstein. Not a place one would know, but we have our own Autobahnausfahrt (highway exit).

Where and what you’re studying: I’m doing my MA European Studies in Flensburg, which is close to the Danish Border.

Why did you apply to intern at the German Embassy? Well, I have to start to decide what I want to do as a career soon and the German Foreign Office is a realistic prospect for me. Also I have been around the business all my life and wanted to experience it for myself in order to decide if it’s something for me.

What is your favorite project or experience at the German Embassy so far? The amount of knowledge and information I get to experience is amazing! The work the think tanks do is very crucial and I am impressed by the importance it gets in the embassy‘s work. I am able to attend panel discussions and speeches on a weekly basis on topics that cover all corners of the world. An interesting event was the visit of the Russian presidential candidate Sobchak. It’s not every day you are able to see a candidate like that speak in person. With the knowledge I have gained on the political environment in Russia I was able to listen more critically and understand the implications.

What do you think is one of Germany’s main foreign policy challenges and what should Germany do about it? First of all, we need to form a government. I think only then can we see what Germany has to prioritize. It is worrying to me what is happening across Europe with the rise in more extreme political opinions, but if the younger generations remain aware of the danger it poses I think it will turn out okay.

What has been your biggest surprise with regard to living in Washington? The interaction between Democrats and Republicans. I think the media hypes up conflicting views, whereas everyday people are able to talk to each other and work together.

What are some impressions you have of the United States? Busy! People always have something to do and somewhere to go. It’s hard to recognize the beauty of your surroundings when you’re in a hurry.

What is your favorite part about living in the United States? The food (of which there is such an abundance) and the people! The heart and passion in society is something unique to experience. No movie or show can ever transmit that.

What do you miss about Germany? The quietness! I come from a small town; I am not really used to the constant noise of planes, sirens and cars.

What has been your biggest lesson learned during your internship? Without the insight and information given by the embassies and consulates around the world, the government would have a very difficult job of forming foreign policy. The importance of what is done here on a day to day basis isn’t really recognized by people at home, I think.

Where do you plan to go after your internship? Well, I have to finish my last semester and master thesis until August, so Flensburg it is. And to be honest I am still not quite sure where this year is going to take me.

Intern Q&A: Hanna Rohde

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

Name: Hanna Rohde

Where you’re from: Frankfurt am Main

Where and what you’re studying: I’m studying International Relations (M.A.) with a focus on Peace and Conflict Research. It’s a cooperative program and I take classes at both TU Darmstadt and Frankfurt University. The latter is also where I obtained my Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Legal Philosophy.

Why did you apply to intern at the German Embassy? Because of my passion for cultural exchange and my interest in global political issues, the Federal Foreign Office – and international work environments in general – has always fascinated me. And leaving university campus behind for a couple of months to witness in action what’s usually theory has been an amazing experience.

The German Ambassador’s residence in the snow. ©Zacarias Garcia

What is your favorite project or experience at the German Embassy so far? Being an intern with the protocol department I feel lucky to have a varying everyday work life. Assisting the Ambassador’s chief of staff allows me to do research on a variety of interesting topics. Helping prepare and attending events at the Ambassador’s Residence grants me some insights into the multifaceted diplomatic work. Therefore not one single project but the variation at work would be my favorite experience at the German Embassy.

What are some impressions you have of the United States? People are very friendly and polite and treat each other with respect in everyday life situations. According to my experience, usually everyone you interact with will greet you with a smile and a few nice words. That’s one reason why I find it easy to feel as a part of the community.

What is your favorite part about living in the United States? What I like about the United States is that the country itself is so diverse. Living in a city on the east coast is a completely different experience than living in a rural area out in the Midwest. If I had to pick my one favorite part about living here that’s simultaneously somewhat representative of the US as a whole, I’d say it is the easiness with which one can get into a conversation with people.

What do you miss about Germany? I miss my friends back home.

Where do you plan to go after your internship? I plan on going back to Frankfurt to write my Master’s Thesis. And after that I’ll hopefully be on my way to another exciting part of the world.