Interview: Life after graduation (or what I learned at SRH)


It is time once again to let go of our holidays and get back into university life. Some are excited, some not and some will miss it. Some of us have graduated and will start a new chapter in life. Looking for a job, go travel or continue to study somewhere else. I have just started my second year at SRH and am curious as to how life may be after university and what I could do before the time comes.

By Vanda Friedrichs

Giselle S. has been so kind as to share her experience in Berlin and provide me some answers with a glimpse into her future. Giselle is from Brazil and has been an exchange student at SRH for a year. Here she studied Business Administration with focus on Renewable Energies and now has a few plans of her own for the future.

How was your experience at SRH?

It was pretty good. I got to experience the educational system in Germany and compare it to Brazil. Both have good and bad sides, but in general the experience in Germany was good. It was nice to be close to the professors. I was able to have discussions with them and ask questions not only about the classes, but also about potential jobs and other topics. I am thankful for the opportunity to join the renewable energy course, refresh my physics knowledge and learn about photovoltaics and wind turbines. This will enable me to do internships in the renewable energies field and interpret related data.

In what areas have you been able to improve this past year at SRH?

Now I would feel comfortable working in the photovoltaics and wind energy field. I chose more classes related to photovoltaics in my exchange year because it is something I see myself working with in the future. I also took wind energy classes and feel capable of working with it as well. All of these classes where taught by Prof. Hartmann and I think he was the best lecturer. He made things very interesting and clear. I have completely understood everything that he taught.

What made you want to study in Berlin?

Firstly, there are a lot of German descendants where I come from, so the German influence is strong. We even have Oktoberfest there. I noticed that everything the Germans did there was successful. So I thought it might be something with the culture and their behavior that makes them successful. I wanted to see how it works and what their mentality is. That’s why I chose Germany. Secondly, I also chose Berlin due to financial reasons. Berlin was one of the cheapest options among the cities I wanted to go to. Another thing is its history. I wanted to get to know and to see how the past has impacted the city. I believe it is a city that is always changing and that makes it very interesting to see.

What is your plan now, after graduation? Will you stay in Berlin? If so, why?

I don’t mind moving within Germany. However, I must also think of my husband and see if he can find a job in a new city as well. I have been applying for jobs in the past two months and there haven’t been many suitable positions related to renewable energies. In Brazil, I worked three years with marketing, so I am applying for both fields. I intend to be engaged in projects that analyze the market for renewable energies companies, especially those that want to open a business in Brazil. This will be an intermediate phase for me, to acquire knowledge, gain experience and, of course, learn the German language.

What do you see happening in the next few years and what are your future goals?

I don’t have a deadline for my future plans, but I want to start a social business. I want to create a product or service that benefits society, be it related to animals, environment or people. I hope to be able to integrate renewable energies into it. My goal is to help society somehow. Therefore, I am going to continue the LISA Solar Street Lamp Project at SRH.

What would be your advice for graduating students or exchange students?

If you want to stay in Germany, you should speak German very well and practice it as much as you can. It will help with the future job hunting. Study hard and listen to the professors: it will make a big difference. It’s a cliché, but it’s true. Especially for exchange students, it is important to contact people who live here or have gone through the exchange program and the experience of settling down in Berlin. Get involved as much as possible with university projects and company visits. See and do as much as you can but don’t party too much or take drugs. Enjoy the free time you spend with your classmates. Try to get involved and get to know them in a professional sense as well. Look at your fellow students as friends and as potential business partners. One day in the future, you might end up working or starting up a business together, or you might work for them. Use your time wisely.

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