"I spent twelve months in Berlin, working as an editorial intern at Cornelsen Verlag, one of Germany’s largest educational publishing houses. I cannot over-emphasise the value of this experience for my educational, career and personal development.
Cornelsen has a long-standing connection with the Year Abroad office at Cambridge and I was delighted to be offered this post after attending a competitive interview. I worked in the foreign languages department, in the Englisch/Berufsbildende Schulen team (English for vocational education). I was involved in various aspects of the product development process, from producing texts and exercises, to contributing to meetings with authors, to commissioning artwork, to proof reading material ahead of print submissions. I also completed in-house training in project management and team dynamics. Immersion in the busy working environment enabled my language skills to develop quickly. I later achieved a first in my German oral exam.
This role was my first job with real responsibility. The environment was supportive and allowed me to try out new skills with the knowledge that help would be on hand if things went wrong. I think this is essential for young people entering the job market. My line manager was exceptional and I actively use aspects of his management style in my work today.
After graduating, I was offered the job of Editor in the same Cornelsen team. I found real job satisfaction in taking ownership of projects and seeing them through from initial concept to production. My language skills developed further and I was amazed to be asked on a few occasions which part of Germany I came from.
I had a fantastic time in Berlin and still visit friends there. As well as exploring the city’s history and culture, I played my violin in a local orchestra, including at the Berliner Philharmoniker. I doubt I will ever find an acoustic quality to rival it.
I stayed in Berlin for nearly two years, eventually returning to London for personal reasons. I now work in NHS management, having completed the NHS graduate management training scheme. I regularly apply my learning from Cornelsen (particularly around managing diverse teams, tight deadlines and budgets) to my current work. I am certain that the examples from Berlin that I gave at interview were instrumental in my recent work appointments.
Overall, I see my Year Abroad both as a tremendous year and as a set of experiences that directly benefit my NHS career. I grew up a lot on my year abroad and increased in self-confidence, self-reliance and independence."