In 6th and 7th of April a special DAAD meeting took place in the city of Bonn: the network-meeting between the programmes “Development-related Postgraduate courses” (EPOS), the one which the Master of Tropical Forestry is part of, and the “Helmut Schmidt Programme – Master courses in Public Policy & Good Governance” (PPGG).
Each year, since 2009, DAAD organizes these network meetings and the idea behind them is, as stated by DAAD representatives Gabriele von Fircks and Julia Hillmann, to “interlink current scholarship-holders of all the different postgraduate courses while they are still here, in Germany, instead of waiting until they are alumni and become part of the DAAD alumni network”.
The overall topic of this year’s was “Reintegration” with the focus on how to face the challenges of finding a new job when going back home (or to somewhere else) after getting a German degree.
After 2 years living in Germany, or sometimes even more, we get used to a new city, to a different way of thinking, to a different routine, to an unusual food, behaviours, climate and cultural environment. At the end of the course, we connected ourselves with this new reality, and we make it our own. We create our own home here and we identify ourselves with it. Coming back, after all, could lead us into another cultural shock: with our own previous reality.
There is an article from a Brazilian anthropologist called Roberto DaMatta that talks about this feeling of not fitting into a new culture that is introduced to us, and after some time, when we are finally used to it, we have to go back home, to our own culture. But then, this experience has left a print on us, it has also changed us and we realize that we don’t fit anymore into our own culture.
Or maybe, in better words: “transforming the exotic into the familiar, and, conversely, transforming what we are familiar into exotic”. DaMatta calls this feeling the “antropological blues”.
Many of the countries that are enrolled in the “development-related courses” don’t have an inviting context right now. Political instability, religious intolerance and lack of job opportunities are some of these issues that concern the Aluminis from Latin America, Asia or Africa.
But, at the other hand, many of these countries offer a motivating environment, which is the possibility to engage and make it better. Good professionals are at the core of development and we can make a difference back home.
But, how do you feel about the idea of going back home after finishing your course here in Germany? Answers like anxious, afraid, motivated, angry, full of energy, lucky, confused were among the responses written by the partitioners.
To help us in dealing with the uncertainties to come, some projects and opportunities that may help us in this transition were presented, and I would like to highlight three of them:
CIM – Centre for International Migration and Development
CIM is an initiative jointly run by GIZ and the International Placement Services (ZAV) of the German Federal Employment Agency (BA). It is focused on promoting global labour mobility for sustainable development.
CIM’s Returning Experts Programme is at the core of their work. The goal is on placing professionals in areas of particular relevance to development policy, through advice and support, mediation with employees, financial support, networking, coaching, seminars and trainings.
Their focus, although, is concentrated only in the development countries, which Germany has cooperation with. Those are Afghanistan, Albania, Ethiopia, Ecuador, Georgia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Cameroon, Kenya, Colombia, Kosovo, Morocco, Nepal, Nigeria, Peru, Serbia, Tunisia, Ukraine, Vietnam and Palestine.
How can you benefit from this? Subscribe in their portal and apply for the opportunities available!
To know more about it access: www.cimonline.de
AGEP – German Association of Postgraduate Programmes with special Relevance to Developing Countries
AGEP is an umbrella organization comprising 48 postgraduate study programmes oriented to developing and threshold countries, as well as countries with economies in transition.
Its mains focus are Networking and Training, and their portal in the Alumini Deutschland portal is a must see to get up-to-date with what’s going on, from webinar to vacant jobs.
To know more about it access: www.agep-info-de
The World University Service – WUS
An international non-governmental organization that supports students and academics in higher education institutions.
WUS exists in over 50 countries and its core services are consulting, offering scholarship programmes and capacity building with programs like STUBE a study accompanying programme for students from Africa, Asia and Latin America and Grenzenlos (or Across Boundaries) – Global Learning in Vocational Education.
Check out their homepage to know more about these projects: www.wusgermany.de
The media campaign for the development-related courses of DAAD. With interviews, articles, videos, photos it is our chance and opportunity to “show our face to the world”.
Their Facebook page is also a nice opportunity to get up-to-date about courses, calls for applications, events, and so on.
To know more about it access: http://millennium-express.daad.de
Besides discussion, meeting new students and group work, the network meeting was a great opportunity to get to know the projects and opportunities, to get in touch with other students of the postgraduate courses and to share our fears and expectations.
Between our professional and individual goals we can contribute to the sustainable development of our countries. Finding a job would definitely be a nice beginning.
By Carolle Alacorn Eichmann