Mysterious castles, beautiful hiking trails and fabulous wine festivals: For an internship, I moved to the beautiful Palatinate region in the very West of Germany for three months. The office of the small company UDATA – Environment and Education is located in the idyllic town Neustadt an der Weinstraße, which is situated 30 km from Mannheim. UDATA has around 15 employees – depending how many projects they are working on – and quite a lot focal points. Climate, water or soil research, environmental education, data management or app development: UDATA has many projects.
When I was about to start my internship, I was very nervous. Having had only an interview on the phone, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But I met a wonderful team with friendly and helpful people and I soon felt very comfortable about going to work. The team was also very supportive and tried to find work that matched my interest. I got the chance to work in different projects and to gain insights in various topics.
One of my tasks was to set up a website for a “Massive Open Online Course” (MOOC) about energy and business, but I was also involved in filming the lectures and setting up an additional course about climate change. Under www.energie-bwl.de (German version) and soon under www.energy-business.net (English version), you can learn everything a manager needs to know about energy. Controlling, facility management, logistics and green IT are closely related to energy consumption. In a changing world, the smart use of energy is a crucial ability for every business. Through filmed lectures and short animated videos you can learn all about energy and business. Are you also wondering why climate change is important? Have a look at the climate change course and find out!
In another project, an app called uRnature (we wrote about it in a previous article here) has been developed to bring young people in touch with nature again. With minigames and outdoor missions the app teaches youth about climate change andthe importance of forests. During my internship, I was not only writing texts for the app and helped debugging new versions, I was also involved in the marketing: I was allowed to plan and carry out two major marketing activities, including advertisement and a prize competition on-site the outdoor missions.
UDATA offers guided tours for kindergardeners and school kids through a waste-to-energy plant in Ludwigshafen (find out about the waste cemetery here) in order to teach children how to separate waste and raise awareness for trash avoidance. Luckily I also got the chance to to participate in these tours as well. And it was my task to take care of the ghost insects in the office. (Those were shown to the children in the waste-to-energy plant, to make them understand how animals deal with their waste). There were also some smaller projects such as designing an info panel for the newest outdoor mission of uRnature and a flyer about sustainable consumption. Additionally, UDATA is creating some maps in QGIS for a project aiming to provide a detailed map of bicycle paths all over Germany.
Due to the diverse and instructive tasks as well as due to the good work environment, I enjoyed my time at UDATA very much. The Palatinate region is also guaranteeing a high quality of life: The closeness to France, the beautiful landscapes, the friendly people. Thus, I am sure I have not been there for the last time and can only recommend it to others to do their internship there.
Author: Katharina Funk
I joined the Master’s program “Global Change Ecology” in 2016, studying additionally environmental law. My Bachelor’s programm was “Integrated Life Sciences” in Erlangen, Germany. My main interests are climate policy, sustainability, environmental ethics and social-ecological systems.