Alumniverhaal

Testimonial Lena Okuhn – Internship DER Touristik Köln GmbH

Currently I am doing a 6 month Internship at the sustainability department of DER Touristik Köln GmbH.

I wanted to gain some working experience in the tourism sector before starting a master

I hope to be able to base my choice for a master program on the experience of this internship. I am very interested in the job as it concerns my personal interest: sustainability and the sustainable development of the tourism sector. I wanted to know what practical work in sustainable tourism looks like and how it is realized in mass tourism and therefore handled in a large company like DER Touristik. What makes me enthusiastic about this experience is that on the one hand I see how beautiful this world is and how thankful we should be for what this planet has to offer. But on the other hand there is so much to explore and to enjoy but if we go on acting this irresponsibly, things will have to change. My current work shows me, that even in mass tourism; there are many possibilities to act more responsibly, to minimize harm and to maximize benefit. Moreover, I see that people are starting to change their opinion and awareness on sustainability issues is rising. It’s happening slowly but it encourages my hope that more and more people will start caring about the future of our planet and people and animals that will have to live on it.

Role of BTO in career development

The bachelor of Tourism helped me to find out about my personal interest and to understand what is really important in today’s world. Although it is really optimistic, I have the dream to contribute to a better world by helping to make tourism (one of the greatest pleasures with the most disadvantages at the same time, if you asked me) more sustainable, especially environmentally sustainable.

Student life

What I remember most about my study time at Wageningen University is the exemplary waste separation :D. Anyway, I liked Wageningen in general. Everything you need is close and easy to reach. Although studying in Wageningen is challenging, life there is easy somehow and I will always remember the warm summer nights I spent on the campus together with my great friends!

Future plans

I really enjoy my work at DER Touristik, I love Cologne and I love my colleagues and I would wish to be able to spend some more time doing this job. However, I am also planning to follow a master program – at the moment I’m thinking about gaining some economical background but of course without losing the sustainability issue out of sight. I am really interested in the master “sustainable finance”, offered in Maastricht. Before, I would maybe like to appease my wanderlust – not traveling too far away, keeping my environmental footprint in mind but still exploring some new spots!

Advice for future graduates

I would say that it is important that you don’t start the program thinking it’s all about traveling and fun. It is a great program but you have to be prepared that you might learn things about tourism you did not expect.