“It’s important to have an open mind and a willingness to learn, unlearn and relearn.“

Joseph Obore (30 years old) is a social worker and the executive director of the NGO Action for Development of Grassroots Communities (ADEGCO) in Bukedea, Uganda. He talks about his experiences as a Team works! participant in Germany, what he shared and learnt at PIRON Global Development in Bonn, and what life was like for him staying abroad.

Das Interview

In which company did you complete your internship? What were your main activities?

I completed my internship at PIRON Global Development – an agency for project management, fundraising, consulting and communication which is based in Bonn, Germany, as well as in Accra, Ghana. At the beginning of my internship there was a lot of one-on-one orientation and onboarding sessions with all the staff. Subsequently, I did lots of things: attend weekly team jour fixes and meetings, research and analyse development policies and strategies, work with data cloud management and collaboration tools, make graphic designs. I also got to attend an online project planning and management course!

What did you learn during your internship, whether from your colleagues, supervisors or independently? And which of your skills were you able to pass on?

I learnt a lot about leadership, team building and human resources management. In general, I gained a lot of new insights into running an organisation. In contrast, I was able to share my experiences in running my organisation in Uganda as well as to communicate my expectations and goals for my internship in Germany.

Group photo of five people smiling into the camera.
Joseph with the PIRON Global Development team.

Why did you choose Team works! and the AGYO?

It was an interesting program for me to gain international working experience as well as develop a lot of skills and best practices. Staying abroad is also a very useful experience. Plus, it was nice to network and make connections with international friends. The Senior Expert Service (SES) who organises Team works! has been a partner of our organisation in Uganda for a long time.

Two men stand side by side and smile into the camera.
Joseph and Matthias, the managing director at PIRON Global Development in Bonn.

What surprised you the most?

The cold weather and the quiet environment which were convenient for my leisure activities – especially cycling and meditation. Every evening after work, I cycled a lot along the Rhine river and every morning, I meditated which is a practice that allows me to start my days with a clear, focused, calm and peaceful mind. Everything seemed very safe and secure. And the road network is very impressive!

Two men ride their bicycles.
Joseph and SES expert Rudolf Rottmann on their bicycles.

What are the advantages of forming a tandem with a senior expert from the SES?

It’s good to have support in the form of a mentor who takes care of things and guides you. He helped me adapt to my new life in various ways, but he also did very practical things, such as organising the airport pick-up and drop-off.

What advice would you give to other young people who are interested in doing an internship in Germany?

Try to have clear goals and expectations regarding the internship. It’s important to have an open mind and a willingness to learn, unlearn and relearn. For me, it was very helpful to do a German language course prior to my internship. I think it’s important to be resilient – in terms of adapting to the different climate and weather, but also of respecting the different culture and diversity. Make the best use of your assigned SES expert! And lastly, spend wisely – otherwise your daily stipend gets finished early!

Selfie of two men.
Joseph visits Potsdam: here he takes a selfie with SES expert Dr. Jürgen Wolfgang Bautz.

Name three things or experiences that you take away from your internship:

  1. Time management is key.

  2. Planning ahead.

  3. Enjoying leisure time is good for emotional health and wellbeing.

What will you never forget?

I will never forget that at times, being in such a different environment, it was a rather lonely experience. I also won’t forget the cold weather, the organised transportation system and seeing people kiss in public. And I will never forget cycling along the Rhine River!

A group of six people is sits around a table with food and drinks.
Team dinner at PIRON Global Development in Bonn.

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