How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and uncommon career?
Soon after completing my BSc (hons) in chemistry at Maitreyi College, University of Delhi (DU), I was busy trying to find the right course. As my eldest brother knows French and had been awarded a scholarship, I, too, leaned towards a foreign language. I signed up for an intensive advanced diploma in German language at DU, followed by a German language course at Max Mueller Bhavan, Delhi and an MA in German Literature from Jawaharlal Nehru University. To further polish my skills, I enrolled for a German teacher’s training programme.
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What was the turning point?
The turning point in my life came when I received a German scholarship to study in Munich and Berlin for three months. People say learning a new language means knowing a new culture. During my brief stint in Germany, I learnt that there are so many aspects of a culture. It can be in the form of text, songs and even interviews giving one an insight into locals’ thoughts as well as the country’s rules and regulations, daily routine, etc. This helps an individual to understand a foreign country and work in another part of the world or for foreign companies or organisations in India.
Tell us about your career path
Enriched with the German experience, I started looking for diverse jobs avenues. My search led me to an editor’s job at Deutsche Welle (International German Radio) in Bonn. After three years at the radio station, I took a sabbatical. However, I continued to work as a translator and interpreter (Hindi, German and English) as I had been doing since completing my Master’s.
I have been blessed with assorted opportunities. I have enjoyed working as a teacher and an RJ the most. The translation and interpretation experience has helped me in my present profile as the press information and culture officer in the Indian consulate’s press and culture department, in Frankfurt. In this role, you meet people with whom you can interact only in German and who have ideas related only to their subject and culture.
How has learning German helped your career?
The foreign language course has played a key role in shaping my career. My choices multiplied, unlocking new possibilities in my life. This not only boosted my career graph but also added a different dimension to my personality. However, learning a new language is not always easy. Hence, it is important to devote time to not just study the grammar and accent, but also the nuances of the language. Moreover, just a certificate or diploma does not bring much to the students in terms of a good salary or career. A Master’s degree will give you an international edge and outlook.