Maybe you noticed my absence. Well, I can’t say that I had a good reason for it; after all there’s always a lot going on that deserves some writing about. After saying goodbye to New York (for now…), I was job-hunting – a term that sounds much more active than it feels, considering that in reality most of it is passive waiting for response – and worrying about the future, which is actually much more energy- and time-consuming than I anticipated.
As a side job – just for fun (and to be sure to know every detail about the applications I sent out when in rare cases contacted months later by some HR person) – I kept a personal record of my applications. Obviously, those records, which cover four months of intense job search and three months during which I job-hunted “at the side,” are not representative at all. Back in Germany – and having found a job – I wanted to leave this whole time behind me. However, a lot of my friends are currently in the same position as I was a couple of months ago, which brought me back to writing this post after all. It will probably not be the most rigid analysis of the matter and is largely based on my own experiences, but I’ll try to draw some broader lines and questions which I think are relevant to the topic. In general, it is more of a contribution to a growing body of material that’s out there, and which helped me personally a lot during my time of ‘job-hunting’ just by providing the feeling that we’re not alone in this – and that exactly that is actually the (systemic part of the) problem.
Even though, New York (especially Manhattan) doesn’t have too much green space, of course you can find squirrels everywhere (a friend of mine called them New York’s rats of the trees – a rather unflattering account, I think)! The squirrels I found most amusing were jumping around in Central Park!
For everyone who’s wondering about why I post so many squirrels on my blog, click here.
Voilà, I fled London due to crazy high prices, just to end up in another of the world’s most expensive cities: New York. I’ve been living here for a while now but there are still some things that surprise me (after all it’s my first time on this continent). So in good old tradition with my ‘Impressions’ posts about Bishkek: here some impressions from New York City!
The last year, between September 2014 and 2015, I have not been continuing this blog because I was a student at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). I studied in the government department’s programme ‘Global Politics’ with a special focus on ‘Global Civil Society’ and was thrilled by the UK’s systems possibilities to study basically exactly what you want. While my previous student life in Germany had been an open space of learning, developing and socializing, my time at LSE was – well: different.
After being granted the joint award for the best dissertation of my programme, my Department asked me to write a blogpost. Because I didn’t really know what I was to expect before I started at LSE, I decided to write both about my positive and negative experiences. I thought it might help someone else to decide whether to study in the UK and/or particularly at LSE. My department never published the post (maybe they expected something without negative aspects), so you can read an updated version of it here:
Here comes a candle to light you to bed
And here comes a chopper to chop off your head!
This English nursery rhyme is part of the famous novel 1984 by George Orwell. It is also a depiction of historical life in the East End of London, both known for Jack the Ripper’s murders and Charles Dicken’s stories, where I have lived during the past year. Much has been written about it and I definitely do by no means claim to be an expert on the history or the present of the area, but I wanted to give the interested reader a glimpse into what I learned about the neighbourhood during my all too short time there.
Some months ago, the US-economist Jeremy Rifkin published his newest book, in which he predicts the end of capitalism as an outdated form loosing power to the “Sharing Economy”. This model, as opposed to capitalist system of reducing marginal costs as far as possible for competition means, is based on zero marginal costs in society in many different aspects. I have not yet read the book (for more details click here) but have heard of similar models.
As nice as they sound (although of course every model bears their own problems), they are hard to believe in if you are currently living in Europe’s most capitalist city: LONDON!
Bureaucracy illustration with Max Weber and Franz Kafka by: Harald Groven (flickr)
I enter the building for the fifth time in two weeks. I know now where to head. I carry my passport in my hand, passing by the queue of people sitting at the table and filling out documents. The woman in line before me is almost crying: “… but he is studying here. He has all the documents to study, he already started!” Woman behind the counter: “The permit is only for a month. I cannot extend it”. The first woman: “But you cannot finish studying in a month. He will miss the exams. He will fail the exams”. Woman behind the counter: “The permit is only for a month.” The woman turns around and addresses the person she’s been arguing for. He shruggs, she sighs and both of them have to leave the room. I’m next. I’m nervous. I will ask for the director, I will try to find clear answers. I know I won’t get them from only-one-month-permit-lady but she is my starting point into a lot of trouble. I hand over my passport – and wait for the trouble to start.Visit visa-free Kyrgyzstan!