Before being a student at Deutsche Welle Akademie and Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg, Rodembusch lived and worked in Porto Alegre, Brazil. He was a successful journalist and worked his way up from being a writer, reporter, international correspondent, and to finally, Editor in Chief. He had established already himself, so studying abroad meant giving up everything he had achieved by then. Rodembusch remembers, “It was not an easy decision to make because I was settled in the market, working at a very important radio station in South Brazil (…) and they would not wait for me.” However, Rodembusch knew this difficult decision also meant that with this international master’s degree he would be able to offer something different to the market once he returned back to his home country. Additionally, he saw the chance to improve his German and gain further international experiences within different cultures and journalistic practices.
A difficult and important step within the career path
Rodembusch feels that the preparation to move overseas was more psychological and emotional rather than practical: “To give up family, friends, home and your job is hard.” Studying abroad does not necessarily mean a guarantee for a better position in the future, even though it was the case for the multilingual Rodembusch; and one still has to deal with many doubts and worries beforehand. He chose to accept the challenge and applied for the unique programme International Media Studies (IMS), which is a joint collaboration between Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg, Deutsche Welle Akademie (DWA) and University of Bonn.
He recalls that once he moved to Germany, there were still doubts, worries and also excitement. Simple daily tasks like grocery shopping turned out to be a challenging experience as the different culture and language could lead to various misunderstandings. Being in a programme where several nationalities sat together in one classroom meant not only having to adapt to the German way of doing things but also being tolerant of many different cultural backgrounds. Rodembusch was afraid to fail some of the exams because of the language barrier: “Thank God, it did not happen”, but also even to experience confusion with fellow students. With a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, Rodembusch was especially sensitive to each country’s own non-verbal language and therefore tried to avoid these misunderstandings.
For two years, Rodembusch stayed in touch with his family back in Brazil via Internet to talk about what was happening at home and to overcome homesickness. Being far away from home was hard, but his fellow students from the IMS programme really made it that much easier: “The greatest memory is, for sure, related to people. People I considered my family for two years (…). I never felt lost. Of course Germany is not my home. But for this period of time, I felt at home.” He knew he had to say goodbye to them after his studies but made the best of these two years as it was his choice to be in Bonn; with the expectation to have a better professional life after graduating with a Masters in International Media Studies.
During his studies, he did not only acquire additional academic skills. The time spent with his IMS family also meant that he developed personal qualities such as patience, becoming a great listener, getting to know himself better, and being in a foreign country: “It was a period of time I felt I had accomplished something. I looked at very talented people and professionals in their own countries and I felt proud to be part of the group. On the academic level I profited from the programme!” He, who nowadays works as a professor, says: “Everything I have learned I can use in class today. I can share the experience with my students here. I can make comparisons between Brazil and the countries I had contact to through my colleagues.”
Rodembusch spent his leisure time practicing sports and watching German television as the latter offered him the possibility to further improve his German skills. Back in 1997, he chose to learn the German language as he wanted to have an additional skill as a journalist in Brazil. Everybody used to wonder and question Rodembusch as to why he would learn something that different and difficult. He could not explain why but he knew this is what he wanted. Even though he had doubted the decision to study German in the beginning, he later knew very well: It was the right choice!
H-BRS- a home away from home
Since 2012, Rodembusch has been a professor at Centro Universitário Ritter dos Reis in Porto Alegre. He teaches about media convergence, digital media, news agency, citizen and radio journalism. Being invited back to the first alumni conference in September 2015 at H-BRS was a real highlight for Rodembusch. He still feels emotionally attached to the master’s programme, his fellow students, the DWA and the Hochschule: “I have no specific words to express what comes to my mind when I think about these two years. Maybe gratitude. All the emotions come back and I see pictures of this time in front of me.” He appreciates not only being part of the international conference but also visiting the current IMS semesters at DWA, where he felt like he was time travelling when he saw all the students with the same questions, doubts and expectations he had had over six years ago: “I was one of them in 2009- the first group - the pioneers. I am not different from them.” Rodembusch sees his connection with H-BRS and DWA as an entire process he went through with lots of experiences and different perspectives – a complete circle which forms his own success story.
by Marion Ender, graduate assistant and student of the International Media Studies programme at H-BRS in collaboation with the university of Bonn and Deutsche Welle Akademie.