Master of Public Policy Class of 2015-2017 Summer Activities

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During the summer break, between the second and third semester at the Brandt School, students have roughly three months without classes. Often, Brandt School students use this opportunity to travel, conduct research or do internships and visit family and friends. Here are some of the summer experiences shared by our students from the Class of 2015-2017.

Haytham Atef

Haythem 1“I started by Participating in the Digital Camp and Summit in Munster, leading a team of 8 participants to develop a project called AkhbarMeter (NewsMeter in Arabic). The project was awarded the first prize at the summit as the most innovative project stimulating positive social change. The project is currently available online at I then traveled to Egypt, where I conducted a training for about 50 participants from the Supreme Council of Culture and the Tahrir Lounge Project at the Goethe institut. The training was about the creative problem solving process of innovation and it lasted for 6 days. Later, I started my internship here in Stockholm at eGovlab and we have an upcoming conference in the pipeline on the future of innovation in transportation systems.”


Ravshan Abdurahimov

“Currently, I am doing my internship in Sociology of Law Department at Lund University in Sweden. The department has a research cluster with a strong focus on Migration Studies. Since 2015, a group of researchers in the department have been working on a project that analyzes socio-legal conditions of Central Asian migrants in Russia. My role in the research team is to assist in conducting fieldwork research in Moscow and Saint Petersburg in Russia. At the moment, I am doing a literature review on Migration and Russian Migration Policy. My current job is equipping me with the most necessary skills on how to conduct scientific research and how to work in larger research and administrative teams which will be crucial in developing a professional career.”


Soojung OhSoojung 2

“Since mid-July, I’ve stayed in Bonn for my internship at World Wind Energy Association, and for most of the time I am doing my own research, which will be developed into my Master Thesis. Generally, people tend to think that renewable energy is a matter of technology and natural resources that a country possesses; but during my research I’ve realized how much policy and politics matter. I can say that I’ve been so happy about our studies and already look forward to our next semester. The best thing of my summer break is not only about my internship but also the surrounding nature. I’ve been very lucky with the location of the office and my room which is a bit far from the city center. It is personally so special to have the nature so close to everyday life, as I pleasantly have to pass all the way through a park and along the river to get to work by bicycle. My personal feeling is that half of the Bonn region consists of several huge parks. These photos were taken mostly on my way to work and back home, and one is a view that I have from my office room.”


Cecilia Del Prete

CeciliaMy name is CPX, I’m doing my internship at EEP supporting AEK, ADK and BSM. That’s the way they speak here at GOPA Consultants in Bad Homburg, near Frankfurt. As soon as I arrived, I was overwhelmed by the amount of acronyms they were using, even to refer to people. It took me a week to get familiar with all of them. Translating into English, I’m working at the Education and Employment Promotion department of a German development consultancy which implements projects financed by many donors, such as the EU, GIZ and the World Bank. I’m supporting one of the consultants in both projects acquisition and implementation, and I am co-writing a best practices guide about youth employment policies in Latin America, which will be used for a project in Guatemala. I’m mostly dealing with vocational education and training projects, in countries from Belize to Tajikistan. I’m not only learning a lot, but I am also enjoying the dynamic environment at the company and the beautiful parks of Bad Homburg. However, the best aspect of the job is that the Italian ice cream shop’s owner near the office brings us free ice cream when it’s very hot!”


Pattamon Poonsiri


“Nothing would be more enjoyable than doing your internship in nice weather and beautiful scenery of Lake Constance (Bodensee). This summer I decided to move away from Erfurt to the southern corner city of Germany bordering Switzerland, Constance (Konstanz). Here you can enjoy sunbathing, swimming, driving around the lake in a rented boat, and even taking a ferry to Switzerland or Austria. Or you can walk around the old town drinking local wine and tasting traditional Baden cooking.

But of course! I’m not here for a vacation. I’m doing my internship at the University of Constance. It is situated a bit outside of the city in an isolated quiet area where you can enjoy the greenery of nature and the lake in just 10 minutes’ walk from the Uni. The building plan, however, is like ‘a maze’ (a direct quote from the lady at International Office) so be prepared to get lost when you visit here. They also have a 24hr Bibliothek with media center, individual/group workspace, and soft comfortable chairs. The Mensa is bigger and a bit more expensive (around € 3) than ours, but with one thing in common, salty chicken (you heard it right!). Guess it’s the Mensa’s signature dish here.

As for my internship, I’m working for the department of Politics and Public Administration. My major responsibility is to assist on the EU sanction research project that the department is partnering with the University of Poznan, Poland. The aim of the project is to examine the criticism on the EU sanction policy and its impact and effectiveness on the target country. So far the professor is very nice and my PhD colleagues are very helpful. They already assigned me a bunch of reading – I guess I’d better go finish them now…Servus!!”


Ekaterina Galaktionova

“FAO Liaison Office with the Russian Federation in Moscow was opened in the very end of 2015. The office is situated in the very center of the city, in the UN House in Russia that combines several UN Agencies located in Moscow. I started my internship in the middle of July. My task is to prepare a visit of Robert van Otterdijk, a FAO Agro-industry officer, to Moscow and then to Sochi where he will speak at the International Conference and Exhibition of Eurasian Economic Union on Milk Production and Processing. Here in Moscow Mr. van Otterdijk held a workshop called Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction.

My internship experience is truly enriching. For example, now I know what FWL means and what is the difference between food loss and food waste. Wake me up in the middle of the night, and I will report you how much food is lost or wasted globally (spoiler – one-third). Moreover, now I know why evening milking has more potential to cause food loss than morning milking. On the serious side, I am pleased to see that although FWL problem is just starting to be acknowledged in Russia, numerous stakeholders, especially large retailers and industry unions in our country are very responsive and are eager to find solutions to reduce FWL and introduce more sustainable food supply chains.”


Sandra Castro

Sandra 2 Sandra 1“Currently I am doing my internship in Timbaktu Collective, an NGO located in Chennekothapalli Village, Anantapur District, Andhra Pradesh, India. This organization seeks to empower rural people by enhancing their livelihood. That is why I have been living in an area where it is difficult, if not impossible, to find foreigners (I had never felt that exotic before). So far I have been in Bangalore and Hampi. I have traveled by train in sleeping class (surrounded by children crying and men snoring) and by bus with beds, which was surprisingly comfortable. After finishing my internship, I am going to travel throughout India for four weeks before starting the third semester. “


Asma Nasrullah

“It was not only my long due trip to my home country to see my family and friends but also to avail an internship opportunity. I am doing an internship with LEAD Pakistan in the capital city Islamabad, which is an acronym of Leading in Environment and Development. It is a wonderful experience with a team working for low carbon development. Although I miss my time in Erfurt and have already started to plan for the upcoming transition from the summer to the upcoming winter.”


Marize Maghuyop

“My second German summer experience has been great so far! I’m currently doing an internship here at Hessische Stiftung Friedens- und Konfliktforschung (HSFK)/Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF). I’ve been working here as a Research Intern under the supervision of senior researcher Dr. Kreuzer since the 1st of August.  I could say that the learning experience has already been insightful and fun! I am currently assigned under a research project on China’s territorial and maritime conflicts with its neighbors. One of my concrete tasks is providing data support for an analysis of Philippine perceptions of and actions towards China in the context of the much-touted South China Sea conflict. Apart from this project, I’m also tasked to work in the research context of establishment violence in the Philippines, particularly the extra-legal activities of the Philippine police forces in their current fight against drugs and crime. Both timely topics! My awareness and concern about the challenges and issues of my home country increased considerably. Such a great opportunity to develop my skills while working towards something I care about!”


Casey McKenzie

“My summer has been divided up a bit. The first part I stayed in Erfurt for a month and just relaxed. Then I had a trip to Chicago, which was great! Family, friends and some deep dish pizza, perfect mix. After Chicago I was back in Erfut for the rest of the break doing my internship. I am working at the data protection office of Thuringia. I am really happy there, the colleagues are great and am I learning quite a bit. Overall a pretty good summer!”


Ramona Kasch

Ramona 1“The summer break 2016 for our class is the half-time. A half-time during which we revise the past two semesters and set goals for the last two rounds, and a half-time that allows for accepting weaknesses and building on our strengths. I have come to realize over the past few weeks that regardless of what we are all up to this summer, it was a) a well-deserved break and b) a very important time that allows us, as young individuals, to grow and develop, each in their own little space. Indeed, the break provides a space for most of us to reflect on the past two semesters in a new country with new people we have established important relationships with. I believe that, together with the internship, these impressions and relationships helped to shed more light on what we want to do after we graduate.

For my part I can report that I am doing a 9-week internship at the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Namibia to the United Nations in Geneva. Although August is well-known as a rather dead month when it comes to events and meetings of the international organizations, it allowed me to become acquainted with the city, its people and the way of life. I am still very positively surprised by the Swiss courtesy in public and the fact that they do not hesitate to talk to strangers. I wish my French was better, so that I could have had decent conversations with the kind people that have approached me. Also, the way you imagine Swiss landscape and culture (cheese, chocolate etc.) to be – it is exactly like that! A beautiful country with beautiful people. I spent a lot of time in the sun and in the water during the weekends. In the Mission I do research on how Namibian policies affect its obligations to human rights. I have also joined the Ambassador and other staff of the Mission to meetings at the UN, the Red Cross, the NAM and the Africa Group. Tomorrow (13.09.2016) the 33rd Session of the Human Rights Council will commence and continue for 3 consecutive weeks. As a current member of the Council, Namibia will be rather active and has to be ever present throughout the sessions. I shall be included in the proceedings and I am looking forward to (even though just physically) representing my country and gaining more insight into the global debate and discussions on human rights violations and ways to improve respect for human rights, especially in conflict areas. The pictures depict me as I explore Geneva’s Altstadt and during work.”


Theresa Hannes

“I am a fellow of the Carlo Schmid Program, a German fellowship program to enable students to work in international organizations and EU institutions. On September 1, I started my fellowship at the Public Partnership division of UNICEF in New York. I will be working within the Europe team of the division for six months until the end of February 2017. UNICEF joins forces with partners to advocate, forge, nurture, set agendas, and leverage support for children’s issues and with children. The division works in close collaboration with several public sector partners such as governments, UN agencies, international financial institutions and global program partnerships.”


Harry Birak

“With the help and suggestion of one of my close friends in the program, I followed the lead given to me and decided to submit an application to the U.S. Commercial Service (CS), a department of the U.S. Department of Commerce in Munich. The goal of this organization is to assist U.S. companies in their endeavor to conduct business in Germany, to assist in finding companies to partner with and to help bring U.S. exports to Germany. As one could imagine this is a tall order and requires an understanding of both how the market functions and how German legislation/policy can impact business interests. After submitting my application, the waiting game had begun and for quite some time there was no response. Yet, things have a way of working themselves out and before I knew it, there in my inbox was the response for which I had been waiting. The process of becoming an intern had many steps to it, starting with submitting detailed information about me in order to pass the background/security check to the interview and to receiving the good news that I had passed the background check.

I have now been working here for over a month and have settled down into the routine at the office and have found living in Munich to be very enjoyable! The routine at work is, to be honest, hardly “normal”. I am always working on something new and the requirements and expectations of me are ever increasing. In just the first week of working at CS in the U.S. General Consulate, I had been assigned to create an infographic on “smart buildings” in Germany and what companies can expect from German market trends. I have now completed research on the woodworking industry, the timber industry, the implications of “die Energiewende” on the electrical grid and now I am preparing a market report for the high volume air conditioning (HVAC) and refrigerant industry trade show “Chillventa” this coming October. As mentioned before, there is truly no normal routine!

I have found that I am well-prepared for the expectations and requirements asked of me and I credit this to the education I have thus far received at the Brandt School. While I may not have necessarily studied the particularities of this line of work, due to our holistic education my flexibility and adaptability to the workplace are undeniable.”

Follow Jury Paulson:

Jury Paulson is in his second year of the Master of Public Policy program at the Brandt School. His specializations are International Affairs and Public and Non-profit Management. In 2014 he received a Bachelor of Science degree in International Affairs and Political Science from Florida State University in the United States. Some of his general interests include foreign affairs, governmental studies and leadership development.