by Carolina Figueiredo
On the weekend of July 1st to 3rd, 2022, in Berlin, we at DEGIS had the mission of delivering our first full in-person conference: the International Students in Germany Summit. We dreamed of a space where international students living all over the country could meet, connect and build a better future for this community – and this dream for sure became a reality!
We started by meeting our first joiners on Friday, July 1st, at a chilled dinner at a pizza place. We had the opportunity to eat together, while we got to know each other and raise our expectations for what was to come!
On July 2nd, our summit was on! We welcomed our delegates at the event venue in the heart of Berlin for a day of pure energy and good vibes, with diverse individuals connecting and thinking together on solutions for our struggles and challenges when coming to Germany to pursue an education, in a very hands-on project space.
Beyond these networking spaces, we had the pleasure to offer practical workshops, in which the delegates could reflect and put into action important skills for a successful path. Mika, our DEGIS National President, facilitated a space in which our international students could envision what they wanted to become and how to get there. Mika also gathered with DEGIS Freising President, Raj, to share their experiences when pursuing a career in Germany as foreigners, proposing exercises of planning and role-playing to prepare our delegates for job applications and interviews.
I had the opportunity to also facilitate a workshop, as DEGIS Head of Marketing, highlighting how international students can use social media to tell their stories, help others, and even access opportunities. We wrapped up by producing very cool Reels with tips to make international students’ lives better, which you can check out on our Instagram (@degisnetwork).
It was a magical day, in which we had our small but committed National Team – Mika, Jenny, Aarushi, Jonathan, and I – invested in delivering the best experience possible to international students that joined us, with connection spaces, partners sponsoring us with awesome products (thanks Roy Kombucha, Disco-Limo, and Studo) and real-life solutions!
We had 20 awesome delegates coming from Berlin, Halle, Leipzig, Freising, Potsdam, Fulda and Göttingen, representing 12 different countries! How cool is that? This weekend was nicely closed by a Barbecue Party at the iconic Mauerpark, a place where Berliners gather every Sunday to be with friends, enjoy cultural activities, and have fun. It comes without saying that we had a blast!
I’m mostly thankful for all those who took part in this and we can’t wait to see you all again. But if you are reading this and couldn’t join us this time – stay tuned. It was just the first and for sure not the last of our DEGIS gatherings!
Carolina Figueiredo (she/her) is the former Head of Marketing and current General Coordinator at DEGIS.