Applying for a job with Russian experience in the backpack (CrossCultures 6)
Guest article by Rafael González García de Cosío
Many would wonder today if someone suggested looking for a job in Russia. Now? With the conflict? The fact is that Russia has never offered so many opportunities in the job market. As some German expats in St Petersburg put it, the sanctions from the west have actually helped some national companies to grow, because the influx of international capital is forbidden. This may invite foreigners to take their suitcases (or backpacks) and start an adventure in Russia – and the experience in that country could become an important point in any German applicant’s résumé. After all, Germany is one of the countries in Europe with the highest rate of Russian speaking population, so an understanding of the language and culture should make it easier to access the job market after a return from Russia.
Photo: Rafael González García de Cosío
Indeed, there is a big difference between Russia and Germany when it comes to the market demographics: while Europe has a high percentage of immigrants in its population, Russia is still pretty uniform. However, it is not strange to meet receptionists at a hotel who speak more than one language. But what if the receptionist is a German who has decided to learn the local language, thus offering added value to the hotel? This is the case of Mr. Christopher Kollig, manager of Food and Beverages at Kempinski Hotel in St Petersburg. Let’s just say, a foreigner in Russia still has a wide range of opportunities in a country of 200 million people who are also starting to travel all around the world.
Given that Russia does not belong to the European Union, programs like Erasmus do not exist. But there are other international programs among universities which enable students worldwide to have a totally new experience in Russia.
Furthermore, associations like AEGEE are also present in Russia, and they help international students to integrate in the Russian social life and get an impression of Russian culture.
This bunch of experiences can be “heavy” after a while, but they are “light” enough to be transported back in a backpack to Europe. In times when standing out from the crowd is needed for career advancement, Russia proves to be a destination pretty close to Germany with totally new experiences and adventures to offer.