What brings a German journalist to Wales? The simple answer is love – and backpacking through Middle Earth.
A shortish biography of myself. In the year 2000 I decided to explore New Zealand and travelled across both islands with the help of a well-organised bus company called Kiwi Experience. I not only experienced the Kiwis and their beautiful country, but also met the love of my life, who happens to be a Welshman. Back in Germany I applied for jobs in PR and ended up working for an agency in Hamburg, whilst my husband managed to find himself a job in Kiel. In 2002 his contract ended and my beloved cat Freddy died,so we decided to relocate from snowy Kiel to rainy Cardiff.
I originally studied art history, English language and literature, philosophy and politics at the University of Cologne. Whilst I enjoyed my time at university I never really fancied entering an academic career. I therefore declined an offer to do my PhD.
I got a first taste of journalism when I was working briefly for a city magazine for which I wrote CD and film reviews while I was still at university. When I had the chance to choose a different course at Goldsmiths’ College, where I studied for two terms with the aid of the ERASMUS scholarship, I opted not only for art history courses, but also for radio and print journalism. My time at Goldsmiths’ College was a fantastic and valuable experience. I enjoyed my assignments in which I could combine my passion for animals with journalistic work.
When I graduated in 1996, I took on several office jobs and applied for workplacements in the German media. What followed was an internship in the English radio service at Deutsche Welle, where I produced features in Englishcovering environmental topics, art and pop music. I also worked as an intern for“Medienspiegel”, published by the Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft and at “Hallo Ü-Wagen”, WDR, a radio talk show, which was produced live in different towns of Germany. My work for the program included research, creating questions for the host and helping with the organisation of the show. My highlight from that time was getting the “Ü-Wagen” to broadcast from the town I was born in.
In 1998 I entered a training scheme for academics who want to become PR Journalists. The training was provided by the Fortbildungsakademie der Wirtschaft (Academy of Business)and taught me everything from writing press releases and features to drawing up press campaigns. A year later I finished my training and realised I wanted to stick to journalism. However the German economy was already entering a recession and after several unsuccessful applications I decided that a break was what I really needed.
My travels proved useful and my first article published in the German media was about whale watching in Kaikoura, which you can read here.
Since I have moved to Cardiff in autumn 2002 I have been building up my portfolio, which consists of German, British, American and Canadian publications. The Internet is my most valuable tool through which I have met a lot of friends, most of them fellow freelancers.
We adopted our adorable cat Bobby in 2005 and finally got married in May 2007.
I love art, music, comedy and film and also create jewellery with various techniques and materials such as metals and polymer clay. I am passionate about animals, especially cats, and until June 2007 I have worked as Press Officer for the Cardiff branch of Cats Protection.
I have launched my jewellery business in 2010 which you can find here: Helenka White Design
Friends have suggested that I should offer translation and German tuition. So this year (2014) I have decided to add these two services to my portfolio.
Thank you for reading and visiting my website.
Helen Kaut (White)