“My journey from studying at the KLU to becoming an intercultural coach”
1. Tell us about your current job?
I work as an intercultural coach for students and expats in Germany. My job is to help them figure out what they’re most passionate about professionally and find a job in that area. My focus is on the capabilities of an individual – what are they and how can they be best utilized to achieve personal gratification and improve the person’s self-esteem. This process is critical for foreigners who feel less confident or somehow disadvantaged to German applicants.
I also work with Germans in managerial or leadership roles in multicultural teams where international exposure and intercultural competences and exposure are critical to success.
Furthermore, I offer focused support to people who are tied to both Germany and Latin America like I am. I offer trainings to improve intercultural understanding and help build a bridge between the Latin and German working cultures.
2. What are three skill/competence required for your job?
- A coaching certification
- The ability to survive and thrive in Germany as an expat
- Cultural understanding and lingual fluency
3. What is the best thing about your job?
I am doing what I am truly passionate about. And I get to decide how exactly to do that. This freedom has its pros and cons of course, but I like it nonetheless.
4. How did you get to your current position?
I worked at Colgate in the field of Supply Chain Management and after 3 ½ years in what I thought was my dream job I realized I wasn’t happy anymore, the reason being a lack of career advancement opportunities. Also, my manager and I didn’t share the same outlook on leadership, so after some time I decided the moment has come to go my own way.
Essentially the biggest challenge was to gather the courage to make that much needed change. After sitting through a number of coachings, I decided I wanted to pursue a career of being a coach myself and be self-employed.
5. What was the most important thing you have learned at KLU and which classes/experiences helped you most? What was your personal highlight?
- Working in multicultural teams and the whole international perspective of leadership was very interesting.
- All those presentation skills and the soft skills training where we got recorded and watched them afterwards to improve ourselves.
- The exchange programs with China – they changed my way of thinking, and I learned a lot about intercultural competences.
6. What would you tell prospective students about the KLU?
KLU creates the perfect opportunity to learn to think international and to develop the skills that are needed to work in Germany and within any multicultural environments. It prepares you for a number of key roles in a company, such as the role of an international (supply chain) manager.
7. Being self-employed – is it a fairy tale or a nightmare?
Many people think that being self-employed is very cool and you can always do your own thing. However, a lot of self-discipline and initiative is required to stay active and make progress. You are responsible for all aspects of your career, and the only way to manage that is by adopting a systematic approach to dealing with challenges. This doesn’t come natural to everybody and is something each person has to figure out for themselves. Therefore, being self-employed is both a fairy tale and a nightmare – the freedom to do whatever you want comes at the cost of starting from scratch and putting in a lot of hard work.
8. If you have to compare your company to a type food or drink, what would it be?
It’s like eating a nice ceviche and drinking a gin tonic. The ceviche because it is a variety of different things mixed together, sometimes with a spicy kick. This is exactly what my coachings are like – they cover all sorts of topics in a non-trivial way. And it’s like a gin tonic because to me that drink is the perfect mix between two components, just like the blend of Latin and German culture in my life.
9. What three pieces of advice would you give your 18-year-old-self?
- Continue trusting yourself and have faith.
- Slow down a little bit and don’t stress out too much – everything will be fine
- Don’t be afraid to be crazy and do crazy things
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