Euroculture Spotlight #11: Theresa Bärwolff
21 Feb 2017
The 11th edition of the Euroculture spotlight introduces Theresa Bärwolff, Euroculture alumna and winner of the Euroculture ALBA Thesis Prize.
Thanks, Theresa, for taking the time to answer our questions!
What is your affiliation with Euroculture?
I am a recent graduate of the Euroculture MA programme which I studied from 2013 to 2015.
What is your current occupation?
Since last October I am working as a Research Associate and Programme Coordinator at the Department of Cultural Policy and UNESCO Chair in Cultural Policy for the Arts in Development at the University of Hildesheim in Lower Saxony, Germany. And I can surely say that this is keeping me quite busy! I am involved in coordinating two international study programmes one at B.A., the other at M.A. level with partner universities in France, Morocco, Turkey and South Africa. My own experience in moving around between different cultures and languages – something I think we all study quite extensively thanks to Euroculture – helps me a lot in my current job.
Where have you studied during Euroculture?
My Euroculture journey makes up quite an interesting mix I would say. The journey started in the beautiful Basque Country in Bilbao. From there I moved to the lively university city of Groningen to then find myself in the hustle and bustle of the second largest city in the state of Maharashtra – Pune – in India. After completing the research track and conducting research for my MA thesis I again went back to Bilbao.
Would you like to share something special about your Euroculture experience?
Arriving in a new place for the very first time and observing how this place becomes deeply familiar to you, so that you might even say you feel at home (at least partly and temporarily), to me is something very special and an experience linked to Euroculture. You arrive a as stranger and the place is strange and foreign to you. I always try to remember the very first moment of arriving, the first look and feel of a certain place whose streets will soon be so familiar to you and filled with memories you yet ignore. I clearly remember arriving in Bilbao, Groningen and Pune, all three cities to which I had never been before. It is interesting to compare this first impression with your later experience. My first glimpse of Bilbao: Termibus, towering apartment buildings, rain, grey and cloudy sky, quite chilly for the season, driving into the city the Guggenheim appears; Groningen: central train station and its main hall with an incredibly beautiful ceiling, waiting, cold, an amazing bicycle parking deck, despairing with a car in the city centre, finding the apartment and the steepest set of stairs I had seen in my life; Pune: in the middle of the night in a shared taxi from Mumbai, really heavy monsoon rain, all other passengers get off, total black out in the city, no light anywhere, wet and humid, my boyfriend, me and the driver who doesn’t speak any English (and me unable to speak Marathi or Hindi), talking to Elisabeth (Euroculture coordinator) on the phone that we are totally lost, phone running out of credit, worried, after hours of driving through Pune with not a single soul on the street we finally do reach the hotel, without a single rupee (Indian currency) in my pocket but desperately wanting to thank the driver I – in a probably quite ridiculous gesture – hand him a crinkled 5 Euro bill, a candle to guide us to our room, exhaustion, waking up when suddenly the lights turn on and the fan starts rotating, all that just off FC Road (all Punekars will know) one of my later favourite hangout, shopping and restaurant streets.
What did you do before Euroculture?
One of the reasons why I became interested in Euroculture was the programme’s strong focus on mobility. Already before Euroculture I roamed around several European countries, mainly France and Spain, for study and internship purposes. In 2012 I completed my B.A. in Intercultural European and American Studies / Langues Étrangères Appliquées, a Franco-German double degree programme, from the Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg and the Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense. I didn’t go straight to an M.A. programme but spent one year interning for example at the Permanent Delegation of Germany to UNESCO in Paris.
What are your plans for the future?
Hmm… I am thinking about a PhD and would be very happy if Euroculture was to receive the necessary support to launch a PhD track. Besides that I hope to continue working in the field of international student exchange, to find time for a round-the-world trip, to keep in touch with my Euroculture friends which is not always easy as we stay in different cities and countries… And I’d like to have a family as well.