Nicole Lundgren's original idea was to visit Germany for three months. Born in Brazil to a Brazilian father and German mother, she travelled to Berlin at the end of 2009 to do a language course and brush up on her German. “The plan was to go back to Brazil, where I still had a job as a marketing assistant for an educational group,” the 27-year-old explained. “But three months wasn’t enough time to really improve my German, so I stayed for a year, got to C1 level … and thought, ‘OK, I’m going to apply to universities in Germany.’”
Having already studied marketing in Brazil, she decided to embark on something new and enrolled in the Master of Science in Management program at KLU. “Even though the course was all in English, I chose it because there was a good mix between theory and practical work,” she said. “It also gave me the opportunity to acquire international experience working as an intern overseas and in the study abroad program.”
Doing her internship at the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in Shanghai and studying for a semester at the Pyeongtaek University in Seoul also exposed her to different cultures and helped her understand and work together with her KLU classmates, who were from Germany, the US, Romania, Lebanon and the Philippines. “Studying intensively within in a group of people from different cultures was a bit tough at ﬁrst,” Lundgren said. “But after the ﬁrst trimester you know the students better, and when you go abroad and have experienced other cultures, you come back more open-minded.”
Five years after arriving in Germany to hone her German, she’s still in the country. After graduating from KLU at the end of 2013, she stayed in Hamburg and now works as a customer relationship management manager for Yourfone, the mobile communication company. She also remains involved with KLU as vice-president of the Alumni Association and frequently meets up with her ex-classmates. “Six are still in Hamburg and I meet them quite often,” Lundgren explained. “The others live in Germany but outside of Hamburg, so we try to meet up every three months.”
Although all her classes at KLU and much of her alumni relations are conducted in English, her language course in Berlin paid off. “My work for Yourfone is now 100 percent in German,” she said.
By Jeff Kavanagh