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 Kintzinger
Where you’re from: Hamburg, Northern Germany
Where and what you’re studying: I am studying Sociology, Politics and Economics at the Zeppelin University at Lake Constance, where Germany, Austria and Switzerland meet.
What is one project or activity you enjoyed at the Embassy?
I am working at the German Information Center, which has a name that might be a bit misleading as we mainly do public diplomacy. One big project of mine was to plan our 2020 Campus Weeks campaign, where Germany presents itself at around 40 American universities all over the country. But the department really offers a great range of tasks; I probably liked drafting speeches for Ambassador Haber or Deputy Chief of Mission Beutin the most.
What do you think is one of Germany’s main foreign policy challenges and what should Germany do about it?
As we are increasingly facing leaders who seek bilateral rather than multilateral solutions, I see the concept of multilateralism at risk (well, not only me). Therefore, Germany should point out the importance and successes of multilateralism, keep calm and continue to strive to get as many parties as possible at one table.
What are some cultural impressions you gained of the United States?
I find it hard to talk about the US as one whole as I got a little impression of it’s diversity during my time here. I feel like the mentalities and lifestyles differ in every place I visited. The US is probably much more diverse than I can grasp and therefore I understand political difficulties better now.
What has been your biggest surprise with regard to living in Washington?
I was surprised by the diversity of the city! I enjoyed my morning runs at the river as much as being surrounded by young international people in Adams Morgan as well as visiting all the professional events.
What do you miss about Germany?
Probably my bike or a more reliable and extended public transport infrastructure.
What has been your biggest lesson learned during your internship?
Besides many professional learnings, I learned to not underestimate differences in the culture and political landscapes. Thanks to the transatlantic relationships we in Germany feel very close to American culture and politics but I discovered more differences than I would have expected. I learned to acknowledge and appreciate the differences as well as the similarities.
What has been your biggest challenge living here?
Getting around in the city without a car.
Where do you plan to go or what do you plan to do after your internship?
The university calls! I look forward continuing my studies at home and maybe in the far future, I will be working for the German foreign ministry again. Let’s see.