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Alumni-Portrait Olivia Deskarina

In the current alumni portrait, we introduce Olivia Deskarina. She studied Media and Communication Science (M.A.) at the institute and returned to Indonesia after graduating in 2016. She works as media manager at the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) regional office in Jakarta.

Olivia Deskarina (Source: Olivia Deskarina)

Where are you currently working and what are your tasks?
I am currently working at the German Academic Exchange Service’s (DAAD) regional office in Jakarta as a media manager. As a media manager, I am responsible to manage DAAD Indonesia’s social media accounts and our website, create the DAAD Indonesia Newsletter and to host online seminars. In addition, I give consultations for those who are interested in continuing their studies in Germany and I manage the DAAD Indonesia alumni database.

Can you think of concrete courses or projects that have helped you in your professional career?
I have to say the specialization courses on Public Diplomacy and International PR as well as Crisis Communication help me a lot in my current job. As an employee of DAAD, I pretty much represent Germany as a country and the German Higher Education Institutions in Indonesia. The knowledge that I gained in those courses help me to master many questions asked regarding the German education system and culture. For example, some students who would like to study in Germany (or their parents) express their concerns related to the living situation or the security in Germany. With my knowledge on soft diplomacy and international public relations in mind, I can answer those questions based on my positive experiences from Germany with an Indonesian cultural approach. Another course that also helped me a lot in my professional career is the empirical research course about how to conduct proper research, including statistics and structural and analytical thinking. This experience helps me to think more critical and structured.

What internships did you do during your studies and what else did you do besides your studies?
I was always looking for an internship during my time in Ilmenau, but unfortunately I had no success. Maybe because my German skills were not good enough at that time. Thus, I attended an additional German course at the VHS Arnstadt-Ilmenau and successfully completed it.

How did you come to the topic of your thesis and what advice do you have for other students for their thesis?
In 2015, there was a huge forest fire happening in several provinces in Indonesia and it affected the whole region severely. One day, a German radio station covered this issue and I thought to myself: This is a good topic. Why not comparing the news coverage from different countries about the forest fires in Indonesia and the SEA Haze problem and linking it to the respective political systems of the countries? Thanks to my bachelor's degree in International Relations, I already had some knowledge about different political systems, so I was able to work on this topic well.

What tip do you give current students for the future?
I have two tips for all students. First, it is not always a smooth road when you are pursuing your degree. Obstacles as well as mental breakdowns are often coming along the way. So always concentrate on your end goals, and make a little step towards your final goals every day. My second tip refers to the international environment at TU Ilmenau. This is a big advantage, since you get the chance to meet wonderful and brilliant people from all over the world. Do not hesitate to mingle or make friends with German or international students and learn from them. Because who knows - maybe you will find your “new family" here in Ilmenau just as I did.