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German Student Helps Out Social Agencies

German university student Rebecca Barisch is looking forward to a summer in New Zealand - and some learning with SociaLink, interning with the organisation that supports social agencies and charities in the Western Bay.

Rebecca, 20, is half way through her Public Management degree at the University for Applied Sciences in Kehl and comes from Oftersheim in the south German state of Baden-Württemberg. Her university encourages students to do an internship abroad, and for Rebecca, New Zealand “ticked all the boxes”.

She’ll spend four months in Tauranga, learning how SociaLink works - there isn’t anything similar operating in Germany, she says.

She decided it was good timing to take a long trip so far away and spend four months in another country before she finishes her degree. A university staff member knew someone in the Bay of Plenty and organised the placement, and she knows of two other students who will be here interning for other local organisations from February.

“I didn’t know they were coming here, and we have done part of our degree together so it will be good to meet up with them.”

She is living with a TECT staff member while she’s here, and that has helped her get settled into local life.

So far driving on the left, the sheer size of her supermarkets and that they’re open seven days and late at night has surprised her.

“Yesterday I could have spent five hours just walking around the supermarket. They’re huge! I was also surprised that other stores here close earlier.”

Rebecca is an only child and the first of her family to travel so far. She says her family are nervous but very excited for her to have the opportunity to live and work so far away from home.

She’s looking forward to getting to know her new team at SociaLink and immersing herself in the work the organisation does.

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