Competition for DW's international journalism traineeship is high and only 10 spots are available each time. Here's a chance to get to know the trainees who started the program in May 2014.
Ofelia Harms Arruti
I'm not completely Mexican and not completely German, either. I'm basically half and half and I have always been torn between the two countries. I went to pre-school in the German city of Marburg and then went back to Mexico when I was six to start school there. That's when I first saw poverty and discrimination, which no doubt influenced my decision to become a journalist. I hosted my first radio show in elementary school and after studying communications, I went on to become a TV news reporter. Four years ago I was drawn back to rainy Germany, where I did several media internships and completed a Master’s degree with DW Akademie's International Media Studies program.
If I wasn't a journalist, I would be a psychologist or a police detective
I was born in 1987 in southern Tunisia in the oasis city of Gabès. As a child, I was always fascinated by my father's typewriter, and that was my first encounter with writing. Passion for the written word stayed with me and I later enrolled in German studies. After completing a bachelor's degree, I headed to Berlin in 2010 and enrolled in cultural studies at the Freie Universität thanks to a scholarship from the DAAD - Germany's Academic Exchange Service. That's where I discovered how important free speech is as a basis for democratic societies. From Berlin, I headed to Oldenburg, a city with northern charm and a rustic sense of humor. I completed a Master's degree in German studies at the city's university, focusing on critical discourse analysis. During an internship at DW's Arab service in Bonn, I realized that Deutsche Welle is where I want to be.
If I wasn't a journalist, I would be a diplomat in Berlin or Paris or the head chef in a Tunis restaurant
My mother is German, my father is Iraqi and I was born in Spain. I grew up in six different countries on three different continents, so I guess that makes me a world citizen. That also explains my passion for languages and different cultures. I decided to become a journalist at the age of 10 after visiting Germany and watching the kids' show, Logo. At the age of 12, I started listening to Deutsche Welle via my father's shortwave radio from the rooftop of our rural house in Yemen. I studied English at the university in Tripoli and then did two Master degrees in Germany: one in German as a foreign language at the University of Kassel and the other in media studies at the Eberhard Karls University in Tübingen. I have done several journalism internships, including time spent at DW and the German public broadcaster, SWR, as well as at Al Libiya TV. I've also contributed to a book and produced a film documentary.
If I wasn't a journalist, I would be a criminal profiler or an aid worker
I was born and raised in Iran and studied French literature in Teheran and Paris. My first encounter with German was via DW's website. I went on to study economics and media studies in Germany, where I gathered journalism experience with various internships and working as a freelancer for Deutsche Welle. Being abroad and speaking different languages has helped me overcome the censorship I experienced in Iran, and to see my own country through the eyes of others. I'm happy to be part of Deutsche Welle's international network. This is not only a place where I can keep developing journalistic skills but also a place where I'm exposed to new perspectives. I hope I'll be offering new perspectives as well.
If I wasn't a journalist, I would be a photographer, a computer scientist or a language teacher
When I was 14, my parents gave me a video camera and I started recording improvised reports on location. It was great fun and everyone found them entertaining. That prompted me to think about becoming a journalist and so I joined a journalism institute for school children. I went on to study economics and mathematics: journalism remained my passion though and I wrote for a local paper as well as a student paper while I was at university. After that I decided to study in Germany, and did a Master's in management and innovation in journalism and the media. That was in the Bavarian town of Eichstätt, and where I really gained an understanding of how the media system works. During my studies, I also wrote for a local paper. For me, the most important thing in journalism is to make people the center of the story, to reflect their emotions and a sense of who they are. Frankly, I can't imagine not being a journalist.
If I wasn't a journalist, I would be a fencer
Julien da Rocha Jatobá Karl
I was 17 when I first encountered the German word "Staatsangehörigkeitsausweis" (Certificate of Citizenship). My first German compound word was a lesson in German - and in life. I spent the next five years dealing with a ton of paperwork to get that document. At the same time, I studied journalism and trained as a photographer in the Brazilian city, Salvador da Bahia. I also spent a year in Germany as part of an exchange program and gained experience as a photojournalist in Rostock and Berlin. I went back to Brazil, and then with a "Staatsangehörigkeitsausweis" and a degree in my pocket, went back to Berlin. In 2013, I started working as a photojournalist for various print media.
If I wasn't a journalist, I would be a soccer player, a policeman or a lawyer - in that order
I was trying to interview a Syrian child refugee living on the Turkish-Syrian border in a run down house. Her blue eyes spoke volumes but she didn't utter a word. She lived in Urfa - the Turkish city I come from - and I felt it was my job to tell her story. So that's what I did for Funkhaus Europa, a German public radio station that broadcasts multicultural programs in different languages. I actually ended up at Funkhaus Europa thanks to an interviewing contest. After that, things just started to fall into place and I produced reports for them and worked as an editor for their Kurdish program. I then came to Deutsche Welle and also received a RIAS journalism exchange scholarship that took me to the US. But the highlight of the past two years was hosting the WDR5 public broadcaster’s first German-Turkish program, Kelebek (Butterfly). In 2013 the program was nominated for the German Radio Prize. OK, I admit that talking about Edward Snowden with Barton Gellen from The Washington Post was another highlight. Sometimes I get dizzy thinking about all the things that have happened recently … but then I just take a deep breath, think of that child's blue eyes and keep going.
If I wasn't a journalist, I would be a lawyer
I'm American but grew up in Germany and England. And to make my sense of identity even more complicated, I studied French and Russian at Cambridge University. During the semester I spent in the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod, I actually felt quite at home thanks to the poetically emotional Russians and their love of blinis. While I was in Russia, I worked for a local TV station. After an internship with the Franco-German TV channel ARTE, blogging about Russia for the BBC and working for various departments at DW, it became clear that journalism was my calling. After all, even when I was a child, one of my favorite games was taking a tape recorder and pretending that I was on radio.
If I wasn't a journalist, I would be a jazz singer or an actress
Hernán D. Caro
I was born in Colombia but have spent nearly half my life in Berlin. I'm in Bonn now for the DW traineeship. I'm an amateur musician, an avid swimmer and a bartender, and studied philosophy and history in Bogotá and Berlin. I was so enthusiastic about these subjects that I went on to do a PhD on "Good and Evil during the 18th century" at Berlin's Humboldt University. I have an infinite love of writing, and wanted to finally learn about the present. But instead of pursuing the uncertainties of an academic career, I chose the uncertain path of journalism instead. I've never looked back. I've written for Latin American magazines, including the well-known Colombian arts magazine, Arcadia. Here in Germany I've written for the Sunday edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper's arts section, looking at disparate worlds. You could say I'm still obsessed with "Good and Evil". I've covered everything from Berlin Fashion Week, Richard Wagner and Cartier-Bressons' photography to the legalization of drugs, women being murdered in Mexico and new journalism trends in Latin America. I see DW's traineeship as a great opportunity to discover even more worlds and to learn new journalism skills.
If I wasn't a journalist, I would be a Raymond Chandler book
While studying English and German at Oxford, I always enjoyed my forays into journalism. I worked on the student newspaper there and directed plays for the student radio. When I got the chance to study radio journalism during an exchange year at the University of Bamberg in Germany, I leaped at the opportunity. That’s also where I plucked up enough courage to host a program - in German - at Bamberg's student radio station. An internship with DW's English program finally convinced me to leave my beloved England and head back to Germany. It's great to be part of a DW international team again.
If I wasn't a journalist, I would be an elementary school teacher, an interpreter or a choirmaster