My biggest advice for international students in Germany would be: Try to gain work experience that is relevant to your field of study as early as possible. I realize, in most cases, many international students resort to service jobs to finance their life in Germany. You should on the other hand, if possible, start looking for an internship early in your studies.Luky Hermawan- Pricing Analyst at Johnson Controls
Tell us about your journey from Indonesia to Germany in pursuit of higher education
I actually left my birth country, Indonesia, nine years ago to first travel around the world. During this long gap year, I finished working and having a holiday experience in Australia. After that, I started my professional career in the US and Cambodia. Unfortunately, I felt that the industry I had worked in at the time did not offer much room for growth. At the same time, I got interested in more analytical roles, but, unfortunately, my first degree was not relevant to what I wanted to pursue as a career. Hence, the decision fell to go back to studying.
Why did you choose Germany as a place to study?
Basically, I have always wanted to be based in Europe due to the great connectivity with the rest of the world. Furthermore, I considered the cost of studying and living in Germany to be relatively affordable compared to other advanced economies on the continent. Finally, Germany seems to offer the most generous post-graduation visa option for an international student.
What were your expectations when you first moved here?
I thought I would be able to fluently converse in German at the end of my study. But between full-time studying, part-time working, and tending to other responsibilities, it was difficult to commit to learning the language regularly. Apart from that, Germany has met my expectations, including, but not limited to, a cold climate, challenging bureaucracy, and fair working conditions.
What were the biggest challenges you faced?
Language is, of course, the biggest hurdle. Because without German proficiency I encountered difficulties when it came to finding a job, going about everyday tasks, which require me to face another person, renting an apartment, and so on.
The best advice I would give students who are in the situation I once was
“Try to gain work experience that is relevant to your field of study as early as possible. I realize, in most cases, many international students resort to service jobs to finance their life in Germany. You should on the other hand, if possible, start looking for an internship early in your studies. After six months you might even be hired as a working student. I am not saying that service jobs do not offer value. However, I think that for an international it is critical to stand out, especially when you do not speak the local language. And relevant work experience is exactly what you need. Besides, our life here depends on a visa which means your time of securing a full-time job could run out before you know it. Another way to go about it is networking. Through The Career Lounge, you have a chance to meet industry experts and learn a lot of things. Who knows, you might meet the right person in the right time.”Luky Hermawan-Pricing Analyst at Johnson Controls (Ratingen)