Off to Berlin – with an emergency plan

Deutsche Version

Nina Rudnicki

Karin Baumann spent one semester studying at the Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences Berlin. The Social Work graduate says her time in the city has changed her for the better, making her more open-minded. It was her mentor at the FHS St.Gallen who encouraged her to go – the 47-year-old mature student had initially been apprehensive about doing an exchange.

“I’m going to Berlin.” When Karin informed her husband and grown-up sons of her decision, they reacted with astonishment. “They couldn’t believe it at first. After all, I’d never even lived alone before,” she says. But all of sudden she was daring to do exactly that, by spending an exchange semester at the Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences Berlin. In March 2018, the time had finally come. The FHS Social Work student hopped on the train to Berlin. On arriving at the central station, she made her way to her apartment in the city’s Neukölln district. In her luggage was an emergency plan, which she had devised with a lecturer from the FHS St.Gallen. It contained procedures for what to do if she ever felt lonely, for example. “Just thinking about the exchange semester filled me with fear and panic,” says Karin. “But I didn’t end up needing the emergency plan.”

At the Alice Solomon University of Applied Sciences in Berlin, Karin took courses on cultural work. “I deliberately chose courses that don’t exist at the FHS but which would still count towards my final degree,” she says. Among other things, she learned about different forms of theatre, such as intercultural theatre with elderly people from different countries. She made some new friends at the university and met interesting people from different countries. She also represented the FHS at the Alice Solomon International Day, where the various partner universities have the opportunity to present themselves. “My time in Berlin, and my Social Work degree program in general, have changed me for the better. I have become much more open-minded,” says Karin. “I also think more critically and question political and social correlations more than before.”

Advantages when looking for a job

Karin Baumann decided to study Social Work after a conversation with the late FHS professor Ruedi von Fischer. He became her mentor and encouraged her to register for the semester abroad in Berlin. “If it hadn’t been for him, I would never have enrolled at the FHS St.Gallen,” she says. Karin had previously worked as a GP’s assistant, and she also handled the bookkeeping for the car workshop in Leimbach that she owns together with her husband. After her stay in Berlin, she was first offered an internship before being taken on permanently at Pro Senectute in Frauenfeld. Karin says: “The experience I gained abroad in Berlin was decisive in being given the job.”

FHS-Absolventin Karin Baumann

FHS graduate Karin Baumann spent an exchange semester in Berlin. (Photo: pd)

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