Member of the Bundestag Kerstin Andreae on Her Time as a Student and Life as a Politician

Dienstag, 13. Mai 2014 | 

Schlagwörter »  |  Thema: englisch

Kerstin Andreae studied economics and political science at the University of Freiburg from 1988 to 1996. She has represented the district of Freiburg in the German Bundestag for the Green Party since 2002. A member of the pragmatic “Realo” wing of Alliance ‘90/The Greens, she has served as one of the deputy parliamentary leaders of the party since 2012. Kerstin Andreae is married and has three children. alumni’aktuell asked her about her time as a student in the years before and after German reunification and her career as a politician.

Alumna Kerstin Andreae (MdB)
Alumna Kerstin Andreae (MdB)

alumni’aktuell: Why did you decide to study in Freiburg?

Kerstin Andreae: As a child of the Black Forest, I always felt drawn to the Breisgau metropolis. Freiburg is a wonderful city with a high quality of life. In 1990, when I moved there, Freiburg had a reputation of being a “muesli” town. That appealed to me, because it was consistent with my attitude towards life at the time.

alumni’aktuell: What did you enjoy most about your studies in Freiburg?

Kerstin Andreae: The fact that the university was right in the middle of town: Studying in Freiburg and living there were one in the same. Clear structures and short distances made this possible.

alumni’aktuell: What do you look back on most fondly when you think about your time as a student?

Kerstin Andreae: The many people I had the privilege of meeting in those years, some of whom have remained with me to this day. My first steps in politics in the independent general student committee U-AStA. My fascination with macroeconomics and economic policy.

alumni’aktuell: In what ways did studying and living in Freiburg shape you and prepare you for your career as a politician?

Kerstin Andreae: Promoting and shaping Green politics was a part of my time as a student. I was a member of the Freiburg Greens and participated in many election campaigns. My studies in economics still help me today to understand complex interrelationships and work on solutions.

alumni’aktuell:  What would you have done differently in retrospect?

Kerstin Andreae: I would have spent more time studying abroad.

alumni’aktuell: What advice would you give to your children if they matriculated at a university today?

Kerstin Andreae: Studying takes time and commitment, but our time as students also lives from other experiences: meeting up with friends, socializing, broadening your horizons. I would wish for them to take a little time for all of that too.

alumni’aktuell: What ideal qualities does one need to have as a politician?

Kerstin Andreae:  There are no ideal qualities. However, it’s certainly helpful to have a keen interest in complex interrelationships, and of course a pronounced interest in political events, also those outside of one’s own area of responsibility. Also important is a desire to talk and to explain, a willingness to listen and reflect on what people say, and never to think one knows everything.

alumni’aktuell: What kind of influence can a single member of the Bundestag – and, on top of that, one who is in the opposition –  have on the formulation of political objectives?

Kerstin Andreae: Politics live off of disputes and networks. Spreading ideas at the right place, even outside of the public eye, is one way to exert influence. But the opposition also has the task of forging alliances, looking for allies. The stronger the resistance to certain positions is, the more likely a change will come about. Sometimes this takes a long time. We fought for the abandonment of nuclear energy for 30 years, most of them as an opposition party, and in the end we were successful!

alumni’aktuell: What profession would you have taken up if you hadn’t become a politician?

Kerstin Andreae: A project or event manager. I’m good at organizing things. As a child I wanted to be a veterinarian.

alumni’aktuell: One more question about your studies: You began studying a year before German reunification. What topics were students preoccupied with in those years? How did these topics change in the course of your studies?

Kerstin Andreae: One big topic for us students was the outbreak of the Golf War, but there were also a lot of other topics that interested me as a member of the Greens, like immigration and environmental protection. The struggle against burgeoning right-wing extremism and the question of European integration also led to many discussions and activities.

alumni’aktuell: Did you eat in the cafeteria? If so, what was your favorite dish?

Kerstin Andreae: I did eat there, but I can’t really remember whether I had a favorite dish. Maybe the rice pudding with cinnamon and sugar? (Though it was a catastrophe for my figure!)

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