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.