Isabela Martel on the Deutsche Welle Traineeship Programme and looking for opportunities

As the years go by, the Mundus Journalism Alumni network grows and strenghtens across the world - today we catch up with Hamburg alumna Isabela Martel (2018-2020) as she has started her new journey as a DW trainee in Bonn.

During their master’s, students constantly look-out for different job and internship opportunities. One such esteemed opportunity is the Deutsche Welle (DW) Traineeship Programme, an 18-months traineeship which gives young journalists from all over the world the chance to learn and practice the skills needed to work successfully as a multimedia reporter and editor.

Recently, we talked to our alumni Isabela Martel, who graduated from Hamburg specialisation in 2020 and now she is a trainee at DW’s Brazilian department in Bonn.

Isabela comes from Brazil but is also partly Italian and most of her journalistic experience involves working for television, a journalistic environment she loves. She is interested in international journalism, human rights, multiculturality, gender equality, environment and social inequality reduction.

On the second year of Mundus Journalism, our specialisation curricula prepare students for their future career paths by providing them adequate information of available opportunities and by introducing them to different organisations. For Isabela, the class trip to the DW headquarters in Berlin proved to be helpful in motivating her to apply for the traineeship programme.  

 Mundus Journalism: Tell us about your experience of applying for the DW traineeship: How did you find out about the opportunity? How did you prepare? 

Isabela: I first found out about the traineeship online, while searching for options I could pursue after finishing my master’s. I was not too sure whether I’d apply or not, until my class went to Berlin for a day in December 2019. We visited DW back then, and they talked about the traineeship with more details. That’s when I decided to give it a shot. I didn’t specifically prepare for the application process, since the first round was mostly about CV and portfolio, which were things that I already had been working on and updating with frequency. But I did take a good amount of time to prepare the application video: planning my script, shooting and editing.

Mundus Journalism: Did you do any other internships during your master’s? 

Isabela: I spent three months working as an intern for the United Nations Environment Programme in their regional office for West Asia, in Bahrain, in Summer 2019.

Mundus Journalism: Did you face any difficulties in the job/internship application process? 

Isabela: My main difficulty was probably dealing with my nerves during the interview rounds, which were pretty intense. My German was not very good too, so that was not ideal.

Mundus Journalism: Please tell us a bit about your experience currently at DW.

Isabela: I’m still in the beginning of my traineeship. I’m currently based in Bonn – where the DW headquarters are – and just finished two initial months of journalistic training (text, social media and radio). I am now working for DW’s Brazilian department for a month. After that, I’ll head to the culture department. Then back to a training round. And more departments. I will also spend two months in Brussels at one point and move to Berlin for the last 6 months (of a total of 18 months).

Mundus Journalism: How did the Mundus Journalism Programme prepare you for the job market? 

Isabela: I think most of all, the Mundus Programme gave me great academic qualification. It is a renowned journalist programme, which puts students in contact with some many different topics, people and experiences. Its diversity is, perhaps, what I consider the biggest differential. I think what I learned from the master’s was very evident in every step of the selection processes I took part in, and it made me a stronger applicant.

Mundus Journalism: What advice would you like to give to the Mundasians who are currently in the final phase of their master's and looking for opportunities? 

Isabela: I’d say, first of all, do not pressure yourself too much. The world is huge, and you will find a good opportunity. Remember that you are very qualified. That being said, use the Mundus network for help. Hunt for opportunities. There are a lot of things going on, and with a day of Google research you might find so many things you could do.  Ask around (classmates, professors, alumni). Do what you can to improve your CV and portfolio. And fill the applications wisely – take your time and try to make your material different than anyone else’s.

Mundus Journalism: What are your plans for the future? 

Isabela: That’s a hard question. I think my plan would be to work for DW for as long as that makes me happy and, eventually, head back to Brazil.

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