Where are you located and what do you do?
I am in my second year of my PhD at the University of Gießen. My research focuses on the budding new field of science, Epigenetics and Stem Cells and their role in Development and Cancer.
What brought you to Germany and how long have you been here?
I had been looking for opportunities in Germany to pursue a doctorate degree and Gießen welcomed me with open arms. It has been a year this May since I moved here. I'd never been to Europe before and the amazing things I heard or read about both Europe and Germany are true.
How did you land your job and do you have tips for anyone seeking similar work?
I was keen to work in Europe, especially Germany because my field of work is highly advanced over here. My current boss had offered me a position and I was more than happy to accept it and move here. I would advise others to be patient and search intensively for all the universities offering such programmes. I also would like to add a note for the people who are afraid to be away from home, as in my case India, that Germany offers something for everyone. It is a multicultural place and you will never feel alone.
Is it important for you to be able to speak German in your position?
It is not mandatory to know German, doing what I do, as all the meetings and my work itself requires English. But nevertheless, it helps a great deal to know German as it makes it easier to interact with your colleagues and travelling across Germany easier. But I have to say, I'm into my second year of staying here and I can safely say that I understand German even though I am not yet able to converse. But I hope to become fluent in German as a mark of respect for the people I've known here. Most of the people I know here speak amazing English so it's never been a problem for me.
What are the key differences between practising your profession here and in your home country?
There a quite a few key differences between the work here and in India. I would say the timings of work are more defined here and great importance is given to 'me' time or quality time spent with family. This I have learnt as a lesson for life after coming to Germany. Having said that, even if one works fewer hours here, it is more efficiently done and thereby one achieves more in a shorter time. Back home in India, people at work would become an extended part of family and I think that is missing here a little bit.
What are the best and worst parts about working in Germany?
The best part of working here is one gets to learn how to do things right and Germany sets you up for life. Another thing is the different kind of people you meet and the vast travelling that can be done across Europe on a single visa. You have to travel both within Europe and in Germany because it's such a beautiful place.
The weather is awesome and Gießen looks beautiful at Christmas time. The difficult part for me is being a vegetarian. But the key is to be well prepared and everything can be managed.
Do you plan on staying?
I have another two to three years here to complete my degree. I would like to stay a few more years if the right opportunity comes along. But I really don't see myself settling down here because I really would love to go back to India somewhere down the line and try to give back something. The one decision I'll never regret in my life is coming to work in Germany.