My name is Comhall Fanning. I am 23 years old and born and raised in Dublin. I studied German and Sociology at Trinity College Dublin and am currently working as a language teacher.
What does a typical day in your job look like? Is there any link/relation to German/ Germany?
I am currently working as an English Language Assistant in two secondary schools in Austria. My days are quite varied as I am shared between two schools, meaning that I have a lot of colleagues and students. I teach students between the ages of twelve and 18 and my classes place a special emphasis on conversation. Although German is not a prerequisite for my job, being able to speak German certainly makes everything a lot easier – from socialising with colleagues, teaching the younger students who may not speak too much English and dealing with school administration. The job is also quite varied at the moment as we are constantly switching between in-person teaching and teaching online in order to comply with government regulations.
What sparked your interest in education and teaching? Especially in teaching abroad?
I spent a gap year in university working as a language assistant in Vienna and really enjoyed the experience. I was not quite sure what I wanted to when I graduated from college and ended up getting a job in June 2020 working at English language summer camps in Potsdam. Whilst in Potsdam, I received the offer to spend another year working in Vienna. Being fully immersed in the language in Germany and Austria has been wonderful for me and I managed to obtain a C2-level German language certificate in November 2020.
Which experiences have you gained during your stay in Germany and how has it influenced your career path/ personal development?
My DAAD Scholarship allowed me to take classes in German politics and contemporary history. Further to this, I also undertook an internship with the Embassy of Ireland in Berlin in the same summer as my scholarship. Both of these opportunities really fit into my future career goals as I am currently applying for masters in International Relations and jobs in political research.
Is there a (German) book or (German) author or maybe German film you always return to? If yes, why?
Yes, I wrote my undergraduate dissertation on migration literatures written by migrants from the former Yugoslavia to Germany and Austria. The two books that I chiefly analysed – Herkunft by Saša Stanišić and Die guten Tage by Marko Dinić are books that I am always happy to re-read. They are both very well written accounts of migration that really give the reader a powerful image of what it can be like to be a person with a migration background in Germany and Austria today.
Which is your favorite city/ place in Germany and which in the UK/Ireland and why? Are there any similarities or differences?
This is certainly a tricky one! I am from Dublin and have a real love for the city. But, I have to say, I think that Galway is probably my favourite city in Ireland. It has such a welcoming, open vibe and is a very vibrant student city. As for Germany, I have spent most of my time in Berlin. I know that some people in Germany say that Berlin is not the ‘real Germany.’ However, I have to disagree. It may be different to a lot of German cities, but I really think that the city represents the wonderful, open and multinational country that Germany is today. I also have a fond spot for Tübingen – my university used to have a theatre exchange programme here, so I had the opportunity to travel there three times throughout my degree. In some ways, Tübingen feels a bit like Galway. It is also a small, welcoming student city.
Can you cook a German dish without a recipe? If so, which one and where have you learned it?
Yes, I can cook Käsespätzle. I learned to cook this when I was staying in Passau. It is one of my favourite traditional German foods, but it really is something I only have once in a while!
What advice would you give to students who are thinking of choosing your field of study/research?
I would say go for it! Studying German was one of the best decisions I made in my life. It has opened so many doors to me. In Ireland, for example, I spent a summer working with Accenture on a Google project for which they required German speakers. This is really not your typical student summer job and gave me a taste of working professionally with languages. I also spent over a year working as a tour guide in Dublin, being able to provide tours in both English and German really gave me a leg up in the recruitment process. In addition to this, I have had really amazing opportunities in both Germany and Austria. Looking back over the last few years, I realise that so many of my new friendships were formed by virtue of being able to speak German.
Are you interested in Studying in Germany with a DAAD scholarship? Please find here the link to the DAAD Scholarship Database.