From a 4 Month Internship to a 2 Year Contract
After spending a month doing a German course in Munich in 2013, Natasha Hawryluk knew she wanted to come back to Germany somehow. Fast forward two years and one ASiiA internship later, she has been given a full-time 2 year contract with the same company as her internship in Dresden, Saxony.
Since arriving in Dresden, Natasha has gained a variety of different work experiences, bettered her German language skills, and has been exposed to the Saxon culture. Nearing the end of her internship, Natasha was searching for opportunities to continue to work in Germany. After extending her internship for two more months, she was asked to stay and signed a contract to work for them for the next two years, while taking German courses at the same time. Natasha’s feeling was that working in Germany gives you a strong advantage in the work place once you arrive back in Canada: “Working in an intercultural environment is a huge asset as you gain skills that allow you to integrate into multicultural situations, not to mention the language skills one gains”.
Natasha described some of her experiences with Saxon culture, and she had many positive things to say. In her experience Saxons are culturally open and accepting. In the workplace tasks are mostly carried out individually, but the environment itself is much more relaxed. Many of her coworkers come to work in casual, non-business attire and many of her male coworkers have longer hair than she does, which in contrast to Canada could seem unprofessional, but is the norm here. When asked about making German friends, she believes it is essential to getting the full living-abroad experience. Natasha further said being accepted into a friend group here is much more abrupt; once you have been accepted, you are instantly and completely established as one and the same.
“After a really bad situation where I had to move into a new apartment on short notice, I just randomly selected a place without knowing anybody who I was moving in with. To my surprise, they instantly welcomed me. They didn’t really know anything about me, but they just opened me into their friend group immediately. After the second week that I knew them, they invited me to a music festival. And the rest is history.”
Natasha’s tip to future ASiiA interns:
Try to get an apartment in Neustadt if you are only in Dresden for a short period of time. It lets you actively participate (even if just as an observer) into what makes Dresden so unique. And most importantly, come to Dresden with no expectations - if you’ve been in Europe before or even other German cities, come with an open mind and ready for new experiences because you are bound to find your share of them here.