Chronicles of a German-Born African - Episode 4


I still can't believe I got my first job in Germany by speaking to the person sitting next to me on the S-Bahn. If you know anything about Germany, it’s that everyone minds their own business on the train. So, gathering the courage to ask a question was not an easy feat. But that question changed my life forever. “What was the question?”, you ask. It was a simple, “Can I have a look at what you are reading?” I know what you’re thinking: What? How can that get you a job? Well, keep reading to find out how it all ensued and the lessons I learned from that era of my life.

It was a normal day. I was working on my thesis, so I had gone to the library to read and research. On my way back, I was thinking about where I would get an internship. I had been told by everyone I knew that getting an internship was close to impossible. Finding a company offering internships was hard enough, let alone applying and securing one. So, on this particular day, I was stressed about my internship. I had written down a few companies and was planning to start applying that night.

Then I saw a gentleman sitting next to me. He was reading a magazine. I had never spoken to someone sitting next to me on public transport before. People living in Germany rarely like small talk; however, there are always exceptions. This man was one of those exceptions. I noticed he was reading  a magazine. As he flipped through the pages, my eyes followed. Each page had an interesting story, whether it was about people of African descent in the diaspora or fun activities happening around. There was something eye-catching on every page. It felt like I was intruding on this man’s privacy by reading his magazine over his shoulder, but I was so intrigued. So, I gathered the courage and asked him, “Can I have a look at what you are reading?”

“Of course,” he said with a smile on his face. I glanced through the first page and took a deeper dive into the stories in the magazine. Then something caught my eye. I had seen that smile somewhere before. The image of the CEO of the company looked familiar. I wondered where I had seen it before. Anyway, I brushed it off and turned to thank the man for letting me read the magazine. Then I saw it—the smile. He was the same man in the magazine listed as the CEO.

I knew this was an opportunity I needed to grasp. I thanked him and mentioned that I was a writer and would love to write for a magazine one day. He said that was great and gave me his email, asking me to send some of my articles and stories. I got off the train, not believing what had just happened. I had just pitched myself to a CEO!

What were the odds that I would take the same S-Bahn as this man, sit next to him and that he would take out his magazine while I was sitting there? On my way home, I forwarded him numerous articles and stories I had written. A few hours later, he responded, saying he was impressed with my writing. He asked if I was interested in writing articles for his magazine. I didn’t hesitate with my answer. I also asked if I could write about human rights and intern at his company, and he kindly agreed.

Lesson One: Do Not Rely on Hearsay

One of the very first things I learned in Germany is that every immigrant has a unique experience, and their advice is shaped by those personal journeys. The stories and guidance I share with you through Chronicles of a German-Born African are my own experiences and the lessons I have learned along the way. While it’s important to listen to others, always take their advice with a grain of salt.

I quickly realised that the reality on the ground can be very different from what others tell you. For instance, when I first arrived, I heard countless stories about how difficult it was to find an internship. Many people advised me not to bother trying, saying it was nearly impossible due to the competition and language barriers. But I decided to do my own research, to find out what the situation truly was.

Remember, just because something is impossible for someone else doesn’t mean it will be impossible for you. Everyone’s path is different, and your journey is uniquely yours. Don’t let hearsay determine your destiny. Instead, forge your own path, armed with knowledge and determination.

Lesson Two: Your Talent Is Important on Your Journey

This world is truly driven by the people you know and the connections you make. Who you associate with often determines where you are headed. During my internship, I had the incredible opportunity to attend a meeting organized by an embassy. It was a room filled with influential people, and I made it a point to communicate and network with as many of them as possible.

After the event, I wrote an article about it, capturing the essence of the discussions and the atmosphere. A few weeks later, to my surprise, I was invited to attend another event by the same embassy. They had enjoyed my first article and wanted me to write about the another event. I couldn’t believe that just doing what I loved—writing—was opening such prestigious doors for me.

Though I wasn’t earning any money from these articles, the experiences and connections I gained were invaluable. I was meeting people and entering rooms I wouldn’t have otherwise had access to. It was in these moments that I realized the power of leveraging your natural talents. The skills that come easily to you, the ones you are passionate about, can be the very tools that open doors and create opportunities.

Lesson Three: Seize Every Opportunity

At that event, I met the higher-ups at the embassy and mentioned that years ago I had applied for a job with them and had been rejected. They asked me to send my CV, and that’s how I got my first job in Germany. Looking back, I know it was no coincidence that everything happened as it did. I believe God coordinated everything perfectly. However, even with divine orchestration, I still had to take the necessary steps—communicating, networking, and writing excellent articles even when I wasn’t being paid.

If I hadn’t mentioned my previous job application to people I respected and deemed higher-ups, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to call them my colleagues. I believe opportunities come more than once; they might come in different forms next time. Throughout our lives, we encounter numerous opportunities. If we don’t grasp them when they come, it takes longer to reach the dream God has for our lives.

Seizing that opportunity at the event was a pivotal moment. It taught me that sometimes, you have to take a leap of faith and put yourself out there, even if it means sharing past rejections. Remember, every opportunity is a chance to grow and move closer to your goals. So, take that opportunity. Don’t let fear or hesitation hold you back. Embrace the chances that come your way and trust that they are stepping stones to your destiny.

Practical Advice on Finding an Internship

  1. Define Your Goals: Ensure the internship aligns with your studies and future career aspirations.
  2. Network: Inform people around you that you're looking for an internship; you never know who might have connections.
  3. Company Websites: Check the career pages of companies you're interested in for available internships.
  4. Online Portals: Use portals like Stepstone schülerpraktikum, stellenwerk, and Jobworld
  5.  to find internships based on your interests.
  6. Networking Platforms: LinkedIn and Xing are great for finding both regular job postings and internships.
  7. Career Fairs: Attend career/job fairs in Germany with up-to-date application documents, and personally ask companies about internships.


Don’t just accept everything you hear; do your research and discover the truth. People's opinions are shaped by their own experiences, but remember, you are different and on your own journey. Use your unique skills and abilities, even in a foreign land—they are valuable. When opportunities come your way, grasp them wholeheartedly.

You’ve got this; there's a unique purpose for you being in this country at this particular time. Embrace each day as it comes, and remember that every step forward is a step towards your goals.   

                                                                                   LovE, Nesa!!