Euroculture Spotlight #8: Mariana and Denis
14 Feb 2017
The eighth edition of the Euroculture spotlight introduces to you a Euroculture couple – Mariana (M) and Denis (D) – who met through studying Euroculture (2012-2014) at the Georg-August-University Göttingen. They got married in in July 2014 and are currently living together in Munich. Thanks a lot for participating in the Euroculture spotlight!
Where have you studied during Euroculture?
M: I have started in Olomouc, spent second semester in Göttingen, third in Osaka and last back in Göttingen.
D: I was a bit of a special case. I got a scholarship which was tied to Göttingen University. So I enjoyed it for full 4 semesters.
What did you do before Euroculture?
M: I have studied history and English philology as a bachelor in Olomouc.
D: I studied German and English philology in Tashkent, Uzbekistan and I also studied computer science.
Normally, one of the questions in the spotlight is: “would you like to share something special about your Euroculture experience” – in your case, meeting your husband/wife while studying seems to be very special! Would you like to share how you have met and about your story in general?
M: We have met during our second semester when I came to Göttingen. However, it was only after 2 weeks of classes, when I was kicked out of a French class (because I have not registered properly) and was pretty upset about it, I run into Denis and we started to talk a bit more… That evening, the whole Euroculture class was meeting in a restaurant but we barely talked to anyone else.
D: As we are both sporty people, we have started to do different sports together. I have also started to give her Russian lessons (in substitute of her French class). Soon, we spend all the time together :-). We got engaged after Mariana’s semester in Japan and got married shortly after submitting our master thesis.
Is there something challenging about a multicultural marriage?
M: I am Czech and Denis is Russian, born in Uzbekistan, raised by a Russian mother and a German father… Thanks to that, he has values somewhere between Russians and Germans – which is exactly where Czech people are :-). Surprisingly, we have very similar views on the most important questions of our lives which I think is the basis for a good and strong relationship.
D: It is definitely challenging to come to the Czech Republic to her large family and listen to Czech only. When Mariana meets her sisters and parents, it is a non-stop buzz of Czech language :-).
Would you like to share something special about your Euroculture experience, other than meeting your husband/wife?
M: I could talk about different cultures that I met through my classmates but what made a really huge impact on me was meeting Vitali Altholz, my mentor and boss during my internship at the International Office in Göttingen. He gave me very valuable advice about how to apply for jobs and how to start a career in general, and also thanks to him, I had a very good job secured already before I graduated.
D: For me it was the fact that I could come and study in Europe! A huge change after studying and living in Uzbekistan.
What is your current occupation?
M: I work as a program coordinator responsible for the European region for InfoComm International which is a non-profit association supporting the audiovisual industry. We organize trade shows all over the world, online and onsite courses, networking events and more. I take care of our members in Europe. I am very lucky to have a great team and I am really enjoying my work.
D: I have decided to focus now more on computers. At the moment I work as a system administrator for a computer company in a heart of Munich. In the future, I would like to tie my computer knowledge with the intercultural and management skills I got through Euroculture and lead a team.
What did you like most about Euroculture?
D: I enjoyed meeting people from all over the world and being able to travel around Europe. And I loved the fact that I could speak English :-)!
M: I liked the discussions we had during our classes – thanks to the different cultures, there were many different opinions and views that I could never find if I would be speaking just to Czech people!
What are your plans for the future?
M: We have big plans for the future but we would like to talk about it only when we have actually done something :-).
D: Yeah, let’s repeat this interview in couple of years and then we will share a bit more :-).
Where is the best place you have traveled to and why?
D: I really enjoyed Warsaw and its modern architecture – skyscrapers, wide streets…
M: One can find something interesting in his own street as well as on the other side of the world. One has to just have open mind and eyes.