Hallo Hallo Hallo! It’s time for an update!
The past month was CRAZY due to multiple conferences and the launch of the Youth Employment online platform (I’ll do a separate post explaining a little bit more about each program).
Things have slowed down and I’m learning that with program management, there are really intense 10-hour days for a few weeks and then really calm, deskwork days. The intensity varies throughout the year, which I very much enjoy! I love the excitement of events and the feeling of accomplishment when the last participant gets in the elevator to leave and go implement what they’ve learned!
Here is what the first day of our first big event looked like:
The UNEVOC TVET Leadership Programme, 2-week capacity building extravaganza!
6:30AM – Wake up, try to keep from sweating during the walk to work.
We had a heatwave during the Programme and I have never been so grateful for the ridiculously frigid temperature of our office.
7:30AM – Walk to work
I am one of the only people walking on the trail on my way to work. Many people ride bikes due to the distance between residential areas and large corporate buildings. These well-worn paths weave behind the houses and you pop out right by the train station! My advice would be to keep your hand in front of your face at all times because you never know when a mosquito or gnat is going to fly into your eye, mouth or nose (this is most important at dusk/during the walk home from work).
8:00-9:00AM – Registration desk
I mentioned before that I love handing out nametags. Still true. It seems simple, but to me it’s so exciting to be the first person to welcome the new participants and finally put faces to all the names you’ve been moving around in Excel, ya know? This year, we hosted TVET leaders from 24 different countries!
12:30PM – Lunch
Lots of people go to the canteen (what they call a cafeteria here) for lunch (important to note that food is not free, even for interns). The company that caters two meals per day for all of the UN staff in this 29-floor building is losing money so they will be closing on August 1. Hopefully, a new company will be replacing the existing one but nothing is set yet.
On the first day, the TVET leaders participated in team building, ice breaker activities and it was so fun to watch! For one of the activities, they had to get a straight tent pole on to the ground while each person could only touch the pole with one pointer finger. It sounds easy but the activity is called something like “floating pole” because if the group isn’t in sync, everyone pushes up on the pole and it ends up moving higher and higher instead of lower and lower. An interesting phenomenon to observe, for sure!
Throughout the Programme, different staff members were assigned to take notes about the various sessions or take pictures in the room, etc. I loved playing a supporting role. I felt so lucky to be a fly on the wall (with a giant camera) to listen to presentations from experts in TVET skills forecasting, organizational change, financing, teachers, and much more!
I also enjoyed getting to know the participants throughout the 2-weeks. It was nice having them all around the office and observing how they collaborated on group projects even though they are all from different parts of the world! (felt like IEDP!)
5:30PM – Dinner
On the first night, one of my colleagues and I were responsible for leading the participants to the restaurant where we would have dinner. It was fun to get to know the participants individually, hear about their experiences in TVET leadership and find out what they hope to accomplish as a result of what they learn at the Programme. We had dinner at a restaurant called Ocean Paradise. The name is a little funny because it’s a restaurant that serves Chinese food on a giant boat that floats on the banks of the Rhine River.
7:30PM – Home
Some nights I stay late at the office to answer personal emails and enjoy the strong Wifi. The UN building has a nice lounge where you can sit on comfy couches and pretend you’re in your own living room. Other nights, I go out to dinner with the other interns or explore the city center on my own.
Other recent highlights:
Running the Bonner Nacht Lauf! A really famous 10K in Bonn that starts at 9pm at night! Highly recommend!
- Meeting up with Cindy, a fellow IEDPer, in Cologne!
- Noticing funny vernacular differences:
- Sport = anything remotely athletic. “Are you good at sport?” “I’m going to sport in the park tonight?” I find it hilariously vague.
- Toilette = the bathroom. “I’m going to the toilette.” I also find this funny because I’m used to the word bathroom or washroom. Going to the toilette feels too specific hahaha. The other interns think it’s funny that I don’t like the word because “bathroom” would imply I’m going to take a bath…
- Barbeque = eating grilled things outside, anytime, anywhere. People here love this word. When I picture a barbeque I picture my dad standing at the grill but barbeque here can be just about anything as long as you’re outside with some kind of food that has spent a few minutes on a grill. I love that it’s used so often because it means people really value time outside with people they care about!
That’s all from Deutschland for now! Tschüss!