Year of Germany Features
Alumni Feature


Tim Barnett

2007 UWRF Alum
Majors: Biotechnology
Minors: Outdoor Education, Biology, Chemistry

What did you do in Germany?
I was assigned to be part of the quality management team that would design the laboratory, train technicians, test product and validate the whole manufacturing process for a new plant that was built in China.  As all the design and planning for this project was done at the main production facility in Hamburg, Germany.  While in Hamburg, I was working daily with the experienced lab technicians, operators, and management staff to learn as much as possible so that the information could be transferred to the new plant.       

Which organization did you work for?
Ohly - a division of ABF Ingredients         

What did you enjoy most about working in Germany?
My favorite times were interacting with the staff, learning new skills and sharing in out-of-work activities with colleagues such as Oktoberfest celebrations and visiting the Christmas markets (photo below).
TimB Christmas in Germany

What advice do you have for students & alumni hoping to work in Germany?
Working in Germany was both challenging and fulfilling.  I tried to look at language barriers as fun challenges (an intercultural exchange) rather than obstacles.  Learning to accept the different ways of dong things was essential to relaxing, going with the flow and feeling at home when far away.

What was your favorite thing about Germany?
Meeting some new life-long friends and traveling to see new places.

Faculty Features

Grace Coggio

Grace Coggio

Faculty Member - Communication Studies
Years in Germany: 3 (1998-2001)

Where did you live while in Germany?
Kastl, a rural area in Bavaria with a population of about 3,500 people, and around 1.5 hours from Munich.

What made you decide to work in Germany?
Grace's husband was offered a position in Germany. Initially, Grace did not have a job, but later found a consulting position (see below). The company Grace's husband worked for made it easier for employees to move to Germany, learn the language, and provided additional resources to assist in the relocation.

What kind of work did you do while in Germany?
Prior to getting a job, Grace made it her goal to learn the German language. Grace had to work to get a job and prove she was not taking a job from a German citizen. She then was hired to work for a German business communications company as a consultant. Grace consulted with native German employees, teaching them how to best work with Americans and about American business practices. This experience really influences the classes Grace teaches.

What advice do you have for students interested in working in Germany?

  • No one in her family was fluent in German. Show diligence, desire and an interest in learning the language and Germans will be very helpful.
  • Stay for as long as you can. The first year you are adapting. The last year you are beginning to disengage (think about moving back home). The year(s) between are necessary to just live.
  • Let your organization know you are open to an international opportunity. If there is an available opportunity, do it!

What was your favorite thing about Germany?
The small town traditions and festivals, but most of all the wonderful people we met. We have remained close friends with many of them.