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Journalists in the making

DAAD tandem reporters who covered the German Study & Research Expo India 2012 talk to Gauri Kohli about growing as writers, team players

education Updated: Mar 14, 2012 10:39 IST
Gauri Kohli

Nearly three weeks back when Aditya Madan started his stint as a DAAD tandem reporter, covering the German Study & Research Expo India 2012, he was as nervous as a fresher is. Today, his nervousness has given way to amazing self-confidence and he has picked up skills that will enhance his potential to be a good news reporter.

For Madan, a second-year engineering student at Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Delhi, it was love for writing that made him work with the DAAD. “I was actually looking at the DAAD website for my younger brothers who plan to go for their bachelor’s to Germany. I got to know about the contest from their newsletter. I have grown as a journalist, as a writer and as a team man. The DAAD is a prestigious organisation and I really wanted to work there. So I sent across a letter of motivation and my CV and was chosen,” says Madan.

Interacting with students, parents and representatives from several German institutions was an enriching experience for Madan. “I also had the opportunity to be a tour guide for my new German friends from the University of Wurzburg to Pahar Ganj. We even got to talk with many of the university delegates,” he adds.

Madan teamed up with a German student Franziska Fröhlich during the event. Hailing from Franconia, Fröhlich studies humanities at the University of Wurzburg. With a keen interest in languages and cultures, Fröhlich is pursuing a double degree: one integrated master’s course with a major in Indian Studies and minors in Spanish and English; and a bachelor’s course in modern China studies. “Out of all the cultures I’m studying, India has always been my favourite. So ever since I first came to India three years ago, I’ve repeatedly been drawn to this country, Delhi in particular, where by now my second home is located,” she says.

Frohlich learnt about the tandem reporter programme because her Indian studies department forwarded her DAAD’s call for applications. “The advertisement was really interesting and told me about receiving journalistic experience guided by colleagues of the DAAD. There was no pressure, and at the same time I got to visit an expo which I took a personal interest in! I never really expected to make it, since prior journalistic experience was a requirement, and I had very little. I have so far mostly done task-oriented research which I then put into informative pieces of writing, but now I’ve been in the thick of things, observing, taking in information, doing interviews, shooting photos, all at the same time,” she says.

Frohlich still spent quite a while in redrafting her CV and working out a suitable letter of motivation for her application. “In my application, I focussed on my prior India experience and the fact that I’d love to write for Indians who would like to come to Germany to study. I asked two Delhi friends to help me with the third part of the application: to suggest topics which I could imagine writing about while working at the expo. And then I got selected,” she recalls.

The expo itself was quite an adventure for Frohlich as she and her team were assessed on what they were doing and were advised on ways to handle the tasks given. “My most valuable learning was how to coordinate the multitasking of getting an overview of what we were doing, interviewing , clicking photos and putting things in concrete articles in my head,” she adds.

Her recommendations for students who would also like to become DAAD reporters? They should try to gain some journalistic experience, be interested in Germany, follow DAAD’s activities and see if there is a future call for reporters in India. “I learnt that the Indian reporters were chosen because of their Germany connection – they had either already been to Germany, or they had already learnt some German,” says Frohlich.

Another Indian student who was part of this unique experience is Mumbai-based Sayalee Karkare. She has studied politics, anthropology and literature. She was busy facilitating interactions between students and university representatives so that those hoping to study in Germany could get to know about the best of opportunities for them.