In 2005, Katja Turck, a German native from Cologne, was studying Communication Science and International Relations at a university in Italy. Being mostly within the mono-culture of that country, she decided to join an international summer school in France to switch up the environment a little.
Katja spent two weeks of that summer with diversophy®. She met George Simons in Lille - a town in the north of France, where she was attending a said school, which she regards as “a very valuable, eye-opening experience”. George happened to teach an Intercultural Communication class that she found “really interesting” and was instantly struck with curiosity. After the lesson, Katja found herself in a lengthy conversation with the lecturer, during which George offered to intern with him and possibly aid in preparation of the upcoming SIETAR congress.
As Katja began her a traineeship with diversophy®, she started preparing material for the congress, which included writing articles, compiling information letters for guest speakers. She would also keep in touch with the participants ensuring everything was going well in that regard. During the congress itself, she was responsible for providing information to the workshop organizers and speakers, as well as taking pictures of the event and writing about it on the company’s website afterwards.
When asked about the most memorable experience Katja had in her stay, she shares: “The congress, because it was a really intense, exhausting experience”, as the event took several days and required a lot of energy. Yet, seeing people from all over the world fascinated her. Katja reflects: “All of them easily connected with each other and there was a very nice feeling of community, which stayed after the congress.”
That summer and being with George made Katja aware of the importance of cultural differences, eager to meet people from other countries, and broadened her view of the world. Afterwards, she finished her studies and did some other internships, which was followed by her move to Brussels, where she currently resides. She works for the European Committee of the Regions as a press and communications officer. Katja describes her work as a rather unique environment where she deals with people from all kinds of intercultural backgrounds – mayors of different regions visiting the capital of Europe to discuss legislation, for instance. “Spain, Italy, Romania, Sweden”, - just to name a few places.An advice Katja gave diversophy®’s future interns: “Persist in what you want to do in trying to realize your dreams, because it is possible. If you are active, you get involved, are curious, have something to offer, you will for sure succeed.”