30. July 2021

Between city hall and uni Between city hall and uni: Friederike Dietsch is a student at the University of Bonn

Friederike Dietsch is a student at the University of Bonn

Friederike Dietsch is in her third semester of a teaching degree in social sciences and mathematics at the University of Bonn. At the same time, the 19-year-old is the youngest councilor on Bonn city council, where she represents the Greens. She also chairs the mobility committee, among other things. Following an internship at the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, Germany’s international development agency, she has now returned to university for the summer semester. Johannes Seiler asked her some questions. An article from forsch 2021/01.

How’s your week at uni been so far?

I need to get used to having a class schedule again, although it does give you a structure to your daily work. In terms of content, I’ve gotten back into the swing of my degree really well.

How are you managing with your lessons during the pandemic?

I’m missing the contact with my fellow students. But nobody’s living the traditional uni life at the moment, are they? One advantage is that I can watch the recordings of my lectures when I have time.

Describe your daily routine.

Once I’m up, I usually check my emails. After that, I’m often on the phone, preparing work for the council. Then I’ll have a few uni events. Then it’s back to council work, such as writing applications or doing some PR. This is followed by virtual meetings, after which I can get back to doing something for uni. I generally have some political events in the evenings and often have to fit in more uni work before going to bed.

How do you balance your studies and your political involvement?

Both uni and my council work take up a lot of time. Officially, working for the council is a voluntary political office that shouldn’t fill up your whole day. I always find it quite hard not to let my political work get too out of hand. However, I’m confident that I’ll handle both. At uni, I go by my class schedule and also make the most of the opportunity for flexible online working. I often set aside some hours in the evening for council work. However, that also always depends on whether there’s anything urgent coming up.

What are the biggest challenges in council work?
I need to familiarize myself with a lot of issues, so I read lots of documents. With political decisions, it’s often about knowing the background as well so that you can join in the debate. Getting everyone’s opinion without missing anyone out takes a great amount of communication. All of this is very time-consuming, but I enjoy working together with many different people

What motivated you to get involved in politics?

The climate justice movement was an important cause for me, and it was around the same time that I joined the Young Greens. The people who are now my colleagues in the party group were there encouraging young people, myself included, to get involved in local politics. I put myself forward for the local elections when I was 18 and was then elected to the council aged 19 in November 2020. Even back at school, I enjoyed participating in the school council. I find committee work really exciting. And I feel that people take me seriously on the council and the committees.

Do the skills you’ve acquired in your studies and your internship help with your council work?

There’s a parallel between everything: Whether you’re studying, doing an internship or working on things for Bonn council, you need to read a lot of texts in order to acquire skills. You also need a confident manner and the ability to organize and structure things based on their content.

What are your hopes for the future?

To be able to go out again – without any pandemic! And that I can do my work on the council without neglecting my studies.

We wish you every continued success with that!


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