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Member Accolades

Profiles: Jason Means
Name Jason Means
College Portland State University, University of Washington/Université libre de Bruxelles & Central European University
Degree B.A. Political Science and German; Certificate in European Union Studies; M.A. Political Science, Graduate Certificate in Political Research Methodology & Social Analysis
Current job title Social Media Data Analyst
Employer Boom Creative Lab GmbH
Location Salzburg, Austria

Why did you first start learning German?
I first moved to Austria in 2011 to work as an au pair (I was 19 at the time). As a part of my visa requirements, I needed to take German for six months prior to arriving, and then again once I was there. I really connected with my German instructor and had the benefit of being surrounded by children that were happy to help with vocabulary, so I'd say that I developed a decent (A2/B1) understanding of the language pretty quickly.

What did you get out of your German studies?
I initially didn't mean to get a full-on German degree. When I returned to Portland to start university, I just thought it would be a good idea to take language courses so I wouldn't forget what I'd already learned. After the first year, I realized that I really wanted to continue learning German and eventually return to a German-speaking country. My studies allowed me to further develop my language skills, study abroad in Germany, and learn more about German-speaking cultures and their political histories. Through my studies I also (thankfully) obtained a Goethe Institute B2 Certificate. Though my level is more advanced now, many immigration processes require an official certification of one's language ability, so my current Austrian residence permit wouldn't have been possible otherwise.

What influence did German have on your career choices?
German didn't directly influence my career choices, but it's definitely unlocked a lot of potential in terms of where I can feel comfortable living, who I can interact with, and how I can thrive professionally. I 100% wouldn't be where I am today if I hadn't learned German.

How do you use German today at home or in your work?
I use German every day, both at home and at work. Though a lot of my individual work is in English, I use German daily in meetings, general interactions with colleagues, and in other professional dealings. Though a fair amount of people in Austria speak English, being able to communicate in German--whether at a trip to the doctor, on a phone call with the bank, or talking to my partner's family--has made life a lot easier.


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