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.