Alumni IFBC

What does Barbara

as Client Services Manager at StainCERT-Environmental Services?

What have you been up to since graduating?

My internship brough me to the Netherlands where I spent most of my time since graduation. I started to work full time right away and now I am working for the second company StainCERT-Environmental services as a Client Services Manager.

My challenges… being far from home always made me a bit more insecure about myself. Settling down in a  new country, getting to know a new culture, language food, people is an amazing change which I loved but I wouldn’t move to a new country anymore ? Starting your first full time job, in a new country where you don’t know the language - even if the medium of communication at the worksplace is English - you don’t have family and friends, you barely understand the national dishes and you don’t ask anymore why they eat them was a lot to take at once which I was not aware back then. Nowadays I am more aware when I am in a change period and try to stress about it.

How did you get your current position?

An ex colleague recommended the company. I sent them my CV and motivation letter – they didn’t have any opening at that time – and they came back to me a couple months later that they want to interview me for a position.  My motivation for choosing that job: 90% sustainability 10% start up environment

What experience do you take out of the IFBC programme?

I experienced a lot of kindness from many different nationalities. Zero discrimination. Sharing a lot of stories, culture and meals gave me an experience I think I am still processing. I learned something new every day from my peers as well as from the teachers. I liked the professor’s attitude in all three cities (Witzenhausen, Fulda, Kassel) and the liberty they granted to students to share their experience from their own background. I learned from my professors as well as from my peers. They treated us like adults – which never happened in my previous studies – and respected our views and experience we brought with us from previous work or studies.

Do you feel well prepared for the job?

I never feel well prepared and you never can be prepared enough to perform any profession, I think. Knowledge can be earned any time but I value more – as I see companies too, nowadays – soft skills and job specific skills to face each day’s difficulties at work.

Did you have an idea where IFBC will lead you or was the content of the programme an eye-opener to you?

It taught me that you cannot plan things too far ahead. I followed my intuition when I applied to the programme and along the journey I have found an internship opportunity which allowed me to start my professional career. The content of the programme helps me partially at my current job (mostly statistics, business management, sustainability, marketing and international environment) and partially in my daily life (organic agriculture, sustainability, food packaging etc.).

What advice will you give to your 18-year-old-self?

Enjoy every moment and be present. Fight less with your parents, they just know it better. Start taking care of yourself sooner than later. Be proud of who you are, embrace your body.