Reintegration Course "Getting Prepared" in Bonn, 19-20 January 2018
by Kshitij Goyal, India and Mohamed Mirgani, Sudan (PPRE 2016/18)
Two PPRE students - Mohamed Mirgani (Sudan) and Kshitij Goyal (India) got an opportunity to attend a seminar on “Getting Prepared” in Bonn, Germany. The seminar was hosted by German Association of Postgraduate Programs with special relevance to developing countries (AGEP) and Deutsche Welle Academy, Bonn. The seminar aims at preparing the students for the challenges of the professional return once they are completed with their studies and gives the career strategies and how it can be applied to an individual situation.
German Association of Postgraduate Programmes with Special Relevance to Developing Countries (AGEP- www.agep-info.de) is an umbrella organization of development-related postgraduate study programmes in Germany and act as the central point of contact for young professionals from developing countries. AGEP also provides a great resource for both current and past students of the development-related postgraduate courses programme and offers the access to the AGEP group in the “Alumniportal Deutschland”, the largest online platform for international cooperation.
Because of the storm front "Friederike" a couple of days before, we were uncertain if we could really make it to the seminar. But luckily, the storm calmed down the day of the seminar and we arrived at the venue right on time where we gathered and met the other participants for a welcome lunch.
The seminar began with a short introduction of AGEP by Ms. Petra Kohnen (AGEP, International Media Studies, Deutsche Welle Akademie, Bonn) followed by an interactive session and group work conducted by the seminar instructor Ms. Adama Thorlie. Expectations for the seminar were discussed and the individual Curriculum Vitae (CV) were looked at.
The seminar continued with the topic “Job Application” where essential information was shared on relevant documents needed to apply for a job. Tips and tricks were furnished on preparing the curriculum vitae and letter of motivation in a structured way which matches the potential employer of interest.
The next session was again a group work where participants were asked to prepare their respective career plans and what they are pursuing to achieve their career goals. Necessary inputs and comments were exchanged among the participants including crucial opinions were suggested from the alumni Mr. Marcelo Ivan Martin (Brazil) and Dr Rhondemo Kikon (India) who also attended the seminar. The day was called off by a short personal introduction from the alumnus and then everyone had dinner which also gave PPRE participants the chance to do some networking with the students from all over Germany.
The second day started with a more in-depth guide for writing a proper curriculum Vitae (CV), Ms. Adama explained the different types of CV’s such as the generic, the academic and the initiative CV’s showing the layout, structure and focusing on points of each type. The presentation also focused on how to tailor the CV to suit each specific application and how to match your profile and skills with the job requirements. Afterwards, the participants worked together in pairs to apply what they learned by checking their partners CV’s and coming up with ways to improve them for their targeted jobs. In the following session, Ms. Adama illustrated the right way of writing the application letter in detail.
Next, it was the Alumni’s turn to share their experiences with the crowd as both studied a development related program and returned to their home countries after finishing it.
Mr. Marcelo who studied economics at the Institute for Economics and Environment Nürtingen-Geislingen discussed the Do’s and Don’ts of the career path. He told the crowd about his career journey and the many decisions he had to make. On the other hand, Dr. Kikon talked about his experience in establishing his own Start-Up after returning to India. He informed the crowd of the organizations that can support the returning experts who decide to head back home. One of these organizations is The Centre for International Migration and Development (CIM) which offers a returning professional program to provide advice and support to individuals who completed courses in Germany and would like to reintegrate into a career at home.
Four sessions of simulation for job interviews were carried out by the participants under the supervision of the seminar leaders; several cases were prepared beforehand for the participants so that one of them would play the role of the job applicant while the others formed several groups to play the interview committees. After each interview a discussion was held to define the strengths and weaknesses of each applicant, which mistakes were made and how they could be avoided. Last but not least, the seminar was wrapped with a quick feedback session to help improve future seminars.
The participants would like to thank AGEP and Mr. Robin Pass (AGEP Network Co-Ordinator) & Ms. Petra Kohnen (Deutsche Welle Akademie) for giving an opportunity to attend the seminar and Ms. Adama Thorlie for giving so much useful information in such a short period of time.
Special thanks to Edu Knagge, (Coordinator, PPRE) for introducing us to the seminar.