With a background in art history and journalism, Dr. Lemmens joined the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in 1997 and since then has held several positions, including Director of the DAAD London office (2000 to 2006), Director for the Asia-Pacific Section in the Bonn head office (2006 to 2009), and Director of the Department for Internationalization and Communication. In 2014, she moved to New York to lead the DAAD New York office.
Our DAAD network is a vast and global net of connections between DAAD and its award winners, ambassadors, alumni, grant holders, future applicants – all united by their love for study and research abroad and all things German.
We asked Nina a few questions about her work and experience in Germany and about living in New York:
- How did you come to work at DAAD?
As a former scholarship holder, I knew about the mission of the DAAD, the internationalization of higher education, and I liked it. When I started to look for a job, I realized that I wanted to work for an organization with a real mission. Hence I applied.
- What are you currently working on?
I always work on a number of projects at the same time. The most dominating ones right now are leading the German center for Research and Innovation (GCRI) New York into a new phase of its existence and developing projects for the German Year in the US which will start in the fall of 2018.
- What is the most German experience you have had during the time in New York?
After Germany won the soccer world championships in 2014, the Empire State building lit up in the colors of our national flag, black, red and gold. I walked through Manhattan with my German T-shirt and garland around my neck, and many strangers smiled and congratulated me. That was a very special moment.
- What advice would you give to students who are thinking of working in your field?
If you want to work in the field of international higher education, definitely try to get international experience while you are studying. Take up one of the many chances to go abroad for at least three months, better for a year. You will learn a lot for your development as a person as well as academically, and it will be something future bosses will find interesting in your CV.
- What advice would you give to students who are thinking of studying abroad in Germany?
Check out the DAAD and Study in Germany websites. You will find a ton of useful information in order to prepare your stay in Germany. And it will help you to find the right course at the right university for your specific field of interest.
- Which pictures, plants or unusual objects are there in your office?
I collect little figurines that you can wind up and that dance, jump and make noise. They cost very little, but they are a lot of fun to play with.
- Can you cook a German meal without a recipe? If so, which one?
I can make really nice “Rinderrouladen” after my mother’s recipe, with red cabbage and gravy and even dumplings, the whole works. I dare say they are a great hit when we have guests.
- What has been your favorite New York experience so far?
That is a really tough question, as there are so many moments that come to mind. Life in New York is truly an adventure, every single day. But maybe I could pick the first dinner party I was invited to, through a friend, at the apartment of one of his friends. The apartment was an amazing loft in Soho, and the most interesting crowd of people was sitting at the dinner table. Everybody just included me in their conversations very naturally and openly; it was loud and funny and very stimulating. I felt like a character in a Woody Allan movie, and I said to myself: “You really live in New York! Wow!!!”
Rinderrouladen: German meat dish, with onions, bacon and mustard wrapped in thinly sliced beef
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