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10/1/2020 » 10/4/2020
German Studies Association Conference

Member Accolades

Profiles: Andrew Thomas
Name Andrew Thomas
College University of Richmond, University of Passau
Degree B.A. Business Administration - German with International Business, M.A. International Cultural and Business Studies
Current job title Recruiter
Employer home24
Location Berlin, Germany

Why did you first start learning German?
When I was deciding which foreign language to learn before starting the 8th grade, my family and peers implored me to learn Spanish. They said that it was the practical choice and that German would not be relevant for my future. That made me want to choose German even more than before. I went with my gut and signed up for German, and it was absolutely the right decision. My high school, Hempfield High School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is known for its strong German program. I had incredibly passionate teachers who made learning interactive and fun. Their passion spread me as a student and my love for the German language has only become stronger.

What did you get out of your German studies?
I went into college knowing that I wanted to combine German with business studies. The German program at the University of Richmond was small, but therefore extremely personalized. I had opportunities at Richmond that I might not have had at larger universities. I was able to come to Germany each summer for language courses, an internship and ultimately my semester abroad. My professors at Richmond also recommended that I apply to the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals, for which I was chosen and spent a year in Germany following the completion of my bachelor's degree.

What influence did German have on your career choices?
The German language was the main driver in my choice for a career path. At the end of my high school exchange as part of the German American Partnership Program, I knew that I wanted to live and work in Germany. I also knew that I would need more education before I began working, which is why I spent time during my CBYX exchange researching the German university system. At the start, the prospect of studying in Germany seemed like a pipe dream. I worried about bureaucratic hurdles, recognition of my American degree, and finances. With hard work and support from my family, teachers and professors, the dream became a reality. My degree in International Cultural and Business Studies from the University of Passau not only opened the door to the German job market, but also provided the basis for my decision to enter into the field of Talent Acquisition and Human Resources.

How do you use German today at home or in your work?
I work at an international e-commerce company in Berlin, which means that I have the chance to use both English and German in my everyday work. I recruit talented professionals from Germany and abroad. There are some days that I jump back and forth between interviews with candidates in German and then in English. Although I sometimes mix vocabulary and grammar, I love having the opportunity speak my native language and to put my years of learning German to use. I continue to learn new things every day and I am not afraid to make mistakes, which is a something that my teachers and professors have encouraged since my first German lesson.

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