Anna Beier-Pedrazzi '06 has been selected as one of 100 students from 21 nations to receive a five-month fellowship in the German Parliament (Bundestag). The program is designed to give young people practical parliamentary experience, foment their interest in consolidating democratic values, and promote cultural diversity.
During the five-month fellowship beginning in spring, Beier-Pedrazzi will intern in the office of a member of the Bundestag, attend preparatory seminars organized by five political foundations, and participate in an academic program organized by Berlin's three universities.
Beier-Pedrazzi's academic and personal background prepared her for the Bundestag fellowship. In her home, she speaks both German and English with her parents, who emigrated from Germany to the United States. At CMC, she expanded her intercultural background by studying international relations, participating in The Washington Program, and spending a semester abroad in Freiburg, Germany.
The daunting application process included a nationally-recognized language proficiency exam, numerous essays, and letters of recommendation from former professors and a German organization, says Beier-Pedrazzi. The application itself was about 40 pages. "I can honestly say it was the most demanding application I have ever completed," she says. "It made applying for law school look like a walk in the park."
An intense interview in German at the German Consulate in San Francisco followed the written process. Interviewers flown out from Berlin had not only read Beier-Pedrazzi's application, but had seemed to memorize it, she recalls. "I had written that one day I would like to work for UNHCR, the U.N. Refugee Agency, and one of the interviewers not only asked me why, but also wanted to know the importance of San Francisco to the U.N., when it was founded, and about the controversy that preceded its founding.
"I was so nervous that I left my purse in the interview room and had to go back to get it," she says. "But actually, nothing had prepared me better for that interview than the interview I experienced with The Washington Program."
As one in a handful of Americans chosen for the fellowship, Beier-Pedrazzi says it's an honor to be selected, especially given her family background. "My dad's side of the family lived in East Germany under Communism and it was an especially big deal for them because of the many years of oppression and detachment from democracy they endured," Beier-Pedrazzi says. "It reinforced to them that this next generation will indeed be better off, and that the government really can be inclusive and democracy, tangible."
Following her fellowship abroad, she plans to attend graduate school for international or human rights law, and focus her interests in peacekeeping and nation-building on possible careers with the United Nations or the U.S. Foreign Service.
--------Laura Spann '07