Let us introduce you to Araceli Gonzalez
“I consider myself a very lucky girl,” says Araceli Gonzalez, 24. She recently started working at the International Office of SRH University Heidelberg as the International Marketing and Recruiting Manager.
How did you first hear about our university?
I did my Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering at the Universidad Paraguayo Alemana in Paraguay, which is a partner university of SRH University Heidelberg. I had the possibility to participate in an exchange semester here – during my studies I had heard a lot about SRH. I had pictured myself studying in Germany, and wanted to know what the experience would be like.
What did you do before coming to us?
After finishing my Bachelor’s degree, I started doing my Master’s studies in International Business and Engineering. Because of my positive experience in Germany, I decided to come back to SRH University Heidelberg to do my Master’s here. During my studies, I also worked at Siemens in Karlsruhe in the Department of Human Resources. It was quite challenging to combine studying and working at the same time, but the experience I gained at the company was priceless.
What inspired you to start working at the International Office of our university?
While pursuing my Master’s, many people from South America started to ask questions about my stay in Germany. They wanted to get more information about studying in Europe, especially in Germany. Because of that, I had the idea of opening my own YouTube channel to reach out to students to give them the information they needed. One day, I saw an advert saying that the International Office of SRH University Heidelberg were looking for a Marketing and Recruiting Manager. The main responsibilities of the job were to assist prospective students in their journey of studying at SRH. Participating in fairs, conducting webinars and answering questions from prospective students is quite fun for me, because it reminds me of my experience when I wanted to study abroad.
What is it that inspired you about our university?
I already liked the organisation, the personal contact and the wide range of extracurricular activities for students. Now that I am also a member of the SRH staff team, I appreciate it even more because my job requires a lot of engagement and preparation with students and stakeholders alike.
Was it easy for you to change your environment?
Even though the German culture is quite different compared to the Paraguayan culture, there are some similarities. For that reason, I don’t feel too far away from home, and if I do, I always find people willing to help me with any kind of problem.
Don’t you miss your home country? What do you miss the most?
I do miss it a lot, especially my family and the weather in general. When I was in Paraguay, I didn’t notice it that much, but we have several sunny and hot days in the year. In Germany, especially in autumn and winter when the weather is cloudy and cold, the time spent here can feel very long.
Did you struggle in your engineering studies as it is predominantly a male-dominated industry?
If I am honest, I luckily didn’t notice a difference between the opportunities for men and women. Compared to my home country, the working environment here in Germany is quite progressive and developed.
What advice would you give students?
Especially to all the international students: Don’t be afraid to take on new opportunities, challenges and adventures. Sometimes an exchange semester or studying abroad can seem very long and challenging but, in the end, you will look at it being proud of yourself and wanting to stay even longer. So have a good time, enjoy the new culture, learn the language and meet people from all over the world. You will not only step out of your comfort zone, but expand your horizon.
Professional milestones of Araceli Gonzalez:
- Born in Capiata, Paraguay
- Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from the Universidad Paraguayo Alemana
- Exchange semester at SRH University Heidelberg
- Master’s degree in International Business and Engineering in Heidelberg
- Working student at Siemens in Karlsruhe
- Marketing and Recruiting Manager at the International Office of SRH University Heidelberg