Author: Ana Alibegova
“One cannot be real a intellectual without spending some time abroad” – I am not quite sure, but I think I read this somewhere. If you ask me, I completely agree, because this year I have this unique experience to spend six months in the Macedonian department of Radio Deutsche Welle. Experience of a lifetime, just at the beginning of my career.
In the year 2007, I had the chance to visit Germany for the first time, winning a DAAD scholarship. Staying in Duesseldorf, it was a logical step to go and visit Bonn, the most international city in Germany, and the city of Deutsche Welle as well. “No sooner said than done”! One early Saturday morning with a group of friends from the DAAD programme we went to Bonn. The beautiful river Rhein, the old part of the city, Beethoven’s house, Muensterplatz, a lot of places to be visited, but nothing as interesting for me as the Deutsche Welle. Wandering around the city, having a long walk on the Rhein’s coast, somehow we ended up in front of a big building. I was so busy having debate with one of my Russian friends, when the Romanian girl screamed: “Hey guys, there’s Deutsche Welle’s building!” I just started running to come closer to the building and as a typical Japanese tourist would do, I made a 100 photos. Unbelievable! I was standing in front of the building where thousands of news are produced on a daily basis! There, in that white building, some of the best journalists in Europe were working, journalists whose articles I was reading having the utmost respect and wishing to learn something out of them!
The German wave – the global Deutsche Welle was only one hour by train from the place where I was accommodated. I had no courage to enter building, thinking that I would need a special invitation or something like that (which turned out to be completely untrue), but I made a promise to myself to come here once again. The Deutsche Welle story 2007 ended up with a photo in my Facebook album “Deutschland” and with a small comment under it: “My future working place!”
15.04.2009 – Here I am standing again in front of the Deutsche Welle building in Bonn. Only after two years. But this time I will enter in the building. This time I will not leave this place only after a couple of hours. My six months in Germany are starting. I won a scholarship from the German Business Programme and Zoran Djindjic Foundation. I am beginning with my internship at the Deutsche Welle Radio. Being there in 2007 was “unbelievable”, but now it is “amazing”! The first thing I noticed when I came there was the enormous mixture of cultures, whispering “multiculturalism” from each corner, each office, each studio. More than thirty departments, same number of spoken languages, around 1500 employees from more than 60 countries. A cultural shock, in the real sense of the word. As far as technical equipment goes, I wouldn’t suggest comparing it to the one found in some of the media in Macedonia. High technology, modern studios, special teams for technical support…need I say anything else?! It was like being thrown in a media ocean, that gives you thousands of opportunities, but you need to learn to swim.
Joining the team
I learned to swim in the big ocean. Six months, five days in the week, from Monday to Friday, around 8-9 hours per day, I spent in the Macedonian department of DW, where by learning from professionals I finally got into what real journalism means. Moreover, each day I developed myself as a person, trying to find my place in this global medium, contributing to the programme, enjoying being part of the Deutsche Welle dream. Working in such an international company, you are faced with a bigger responsibility, knowing that you are working for the German public broadcaster, knowing that you have a planetary public, having in mind that the information should always be correct, clear, on time.
There is no professional or personal experience that I can compare my Deutsche Welle experience to. Interning abroad is more than just working for some famous company, it is a personal development, which includes trying to adjust to an international surrounding, living in foreign country, speaking a foreign language, making friends from all over the world. Good marks at university, working 8 hours per day for some company, living with your parents, going out each weekend with the same friends…sounds secure and not too bad, but dare to “ask for more”. Start your career abroad, apply for a scholarship now and start improving yourself. By doing something for yourself, you will do something for your country, only young open-minded leaders can really move the country forward.