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Work or experience for UK Master's Graduate

11 posts in this topic

Posted

Hi all,

I am a recent Master's Graduate from the UK and am trying to see if I can find any work experience, internships or otherwise (Praktikum) in Germany.

I met my German girlfriend at University and now, since she's returned home, I'm trying to see if it's possible for me to gain some international experience and be closer to her.

The only issue is that at present I am not fluent in German. It will take me some time and commitment to become fluent and the more time that I would spend in Germany (gaining experience) the easier it would be.

Does anyone have any ideas as to what may be the best approach?

Thanks.

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Posted

I'm afraid that you've have missed out probably the most important piece of information in respect of work ops - your subject / field! Perhaps you could add that? And location (area) as well. What you can do and where you will be are very important variables for work.

Also. maybe you can tell us what your girlfriend and her family's idea are given that's probably your best source?

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Posted

Hi, sorry about not adding the info.

I am a graduate in Water Management, or more broadly speaking Environmental Science. The only areas I could realistically aim for is NRW, Lower Saxony and Hesse.

Any information about the industry in Germany would be greatly appreciated - I've taken a look at a number of websites of organisations that seem to be in business throughout Europe - which surely increases the chances for a native English speaker?

My girlfriend is also seeking work at the moment, so there's no certainty there, although it would be in the same regions mentioned above.

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Posted

Strangely I had an inking you were going to say water resources, don't know why ;) . That sounds like quite a specific skill set. Maybe there are people here in the field that work in it.

I'd say your best bets are to pursue those international organisations you mention - everyone has global job pages now where you can see what's on offer - and get your girlfriend researching for you in absence of your Germany (a quick google on "jobs in water / environment " inevitably gives a ton of info. Perhaps also look at some English-language speaking multi-national sites and see if they happen to have anything you might fit with?

I've (unsurprisingly) not worked in the water field but I have with some utilities companies and this I'd say it's likely that lack of German is a high barrier to entry compared to a lot of professions (this is relative - not that it's often easy anywhere). Understanding of local laws and standards (as well as EU ones etc) may also come into play.

If you have good French, it's possible that the UN Bonn might have something too I suppose (but then you'd not actually be here).

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Posted

Hello,

I am not in your field either and don't know much about the industry, but wonder if you are interested in further education in Germany?

I know some people studying in the environmental field and there must be many universities around here (NRW) offering PhD degree courses in such a field - Germany is an 'eco-friendly' country, i guess.

And you do not have to speak German at your study and people speak English - I know some British people working in the university who did not have the German knowledge before they had moved to Germany - though it would be recommended that you will start learning the language at later stage.

(I believe that learning German isn't that difficult to English speakers!)

I don't know how much British nationals would have to pay for the study, though imagining you will be treated in the same way as German students, which means that you probably will not have to pay a lot as tuition fees (if any).

If you still look for working experience, I would say that you will be able to find some large international companies where English is the (or 'a') working language.

Probably in the energy sector or in the chemical industry? (I refrain from mentioning company names...)

Good luck!

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Posted

Do you have any relevant work experience? With neither German nor work experience it will be tough finding a position. You can try consulting companies that work on international projects, however, the usual Water Mangement positions with municipal agencies will require German.

Next week is the Absolventenkongress in Köln; Germany's largest job fair with over 300 employers looking to recruit students and recent graduates. If I were you, I would go there with a plan and talk to as many companies as possible.

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Posted

Hi all,

Thanks for your replies. At the moment I am approaching an international company called 'REMONDIS' for work experience in English. I have already called to confirm that it is available in English.

One small step at a time - if I can (fingers crossed) secure work experience in Germany I can develop my language skills, knowledge of the industry and so on to establish myself better. If it all fails, at least I will have international experience to add to my skills set.

I am in the process of writing a covering letter and CV at the moment. A few questions - is it a good idea to mix languages in a letter? In other words, I'm not applying for the Praktikum in German and am not proficient in it - would it be a good idea then to write 'Sehr geehrte Frau xx' and have the rest of the letter in English, or to just do the whole thing in English?

Additionally are there any guidelines for writing covering letters in English to German firms?

Many thanks.

Next week is the Absolventenkongress in Köln; Germany's largest job fair with over 300 employers looking to recruit students and recent graduates. If I were you, I would go there with a plan and talk to as many companies as possible.

Unfortunately there are no water, environmental or other relevant companies represented there.

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Posted

Don't greet them in German and then write the rest of the cover letter in English- just write it all in English.

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Posted

Unfortunately there are no water, environmental or other relevant companies represented there.

You need to start thinking outside the box. For most of the small very specialised companies in your field, you'll need business fluent German (anyone advising German municipalities needs to do so in German).

I think your chances are better with larger international companies. For example, I saw a position advertised recently for a water/environment consultant at PWC (I can't remember if it was in English or German). You can also keep an eye on the BTU career website; BTU offers programmes in English in similar fields and you might be able to find jobs posted there for English speakers.

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Posted

Research or a PHD at a german Uni might be options to consider, its usually paid or subsidised enough you can live and the language might not be the show stopper that it would be in other areas. I think you and your girl need to be a bit more flexible on location though.

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Posted

A small update for you. I now have a telephone interview for a company in Thuringia and was wondering if anyone can offer any tips or advice? I have never had an interview with a German organisation on the telephone.

In my 'application' (a CV and a cover letter) I stated that I was not fluent in German and the organisation is still interested - so I am wondering if I should try to speak in German on the phone and only use English if I begin to struggle? It is a specialist consultancy operating internationally.

In fact, the company even seem keen on meeting me before we have spoken on the phone, which I find quite odd.

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