As an English and Creative Writing student, I’m constantly told that I need to make connections. To network, publicise, build professional relationships so that when the time comes to get that office/lecture theatre/publication deal, I can have as many feet in the door as possible. (Fun fact: the arts industry often requires that you have at least seventeen feet.)
My one-month fellowship at the Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder) will give me these opportunities to forge new working relationships and pave my way to possible future employment. As a student who, naturally, would like a career someday, I am excited by the opportunity to grow some more feet. As an introvert, I am anxious about my lack of German, and my ability to make friends in a place where I have none.
As the writer of a PhD thesis novel based in 1980s Germany, however, I am exhilarated to absolute pieces. Berlin in particular boasts more museums than I can boast months I’ve been alive. Living in Frankfurt will place me in close proximity to the GDR Museum, the Spy Museum, Checkpoint Charlie, and every brick of the Berlin Wall that is still standing. The Viadrina will give me the chance to conduct historical and cultural research that will be invaluable to the writing of my PhD, as well as work closely with a Professor whose scholarly interests are similar to mine, and whom I’m excited to meet.
It’s 5am, and I’m at my layover stop in Dubai, halfway to what used to be the GDR – and that, more than anything, makes me want to jump for joy like the Cold War nerd I am.
Jess Miller, a PhD (Creative Arts) student is on the Viadrina International Program – for Graduates (VIP) in 2016 at European University Viadrina, Germany