Katie James studied History with German at Oxford Brookes University which included a year abroad spent at Giessen University. Later she also carried out an internship in a restaurant in the Black Forest where her glimpses into Germany and the German culture awoke a life-long interest to keep connections with Germany. After five years working in the press office at the international affairs think tank, Chatham House, she started working for the DAAD London office in the nineties and has worked there ever since in supporting higher education links between Ireland/ the UK and Germany.
Which city in Germany have you been studying/researching and why have you chosen it?
I studied for a year in Giessen. I chose it because I have never heard of it before and it was in the middle of the country (so a good place to start exploring the rest of the country), it wasn’t too big a town, and the foreign students were mixed into the student halls of residence with the other German students and not put together with the other foreign students.
What do you like/ dislike in or about Germany? Can you give an example?
There are lots of things in German culture I love; in music from Beethoven to Groenemeyer; in food from Currywurst to Bienenstich and then the best place to soak up the atmosphere at a Weihnachtsmarkt or Schuetzenfest with a Weissbier or Gluehwein.
What advice would you give to UK/Irish students and researchers who are thinking of pursuing research abroad in Germany?
Go for it! There’s so much more to experience and discover when you live abroad. Things you are familiar with and know about in your studies or research won’t be done or viewed in the same way in another country and then there are the surprises you’ll discover and wouldn’t have known about if you had stayed at home.