Eine Person trägt ein schwarzes Top sowie einen schwarz-weiß karrierten Blazer und steht vor einem braunen Hintergrund. Die Person heißt Marie Abels.

“Culture Must Not Be a Luxury”

Marie Abels is in the sixth semester of her bachelor’s degree in Culture and Economy: French Studies and Business Administration. After graduating from school, she completed a voluntary service in France to strengthen the Franco-German partnership. As a student, she is also actively involved in culture and sustainability projects. In her myUniMA story, Marie talks about why culture and languages are very important to her.

Why did you decide to study at the University of Mannheim?

After finishing secondary school, I volunteered at the Goethe institute in Lille in France, and I had a great time. I was able to take a look at all departments of a cultural institution, e.g., event management, communications and translations. After my year in France, I knew that I wanted to pursue a degree in French. Since I wanted to have an interdisciplinary profile, in particular, with regard to my future field of work, I searched for a degree which combines economy, culture and the French language. And I found the bachelor's degree in Culture and Economy at the University of Mannheim. I was convinced by the unique combination and the good reputation of the Business Administration programs.

You also volunteer at “Kulturparkett”. Can you tell us more about this project?

The Kulturparkett gives a special card, the “Kulturpass”, to socially disadvantaged people who have not enough money to attend cultural events. With the “Kulturpass”, they can attend many cultural events in the Rhine-Neckar region for free. The “Kulturparkett” project wants to demonstrate that culture must not be a luxury and that it does not have to be a luxury. A great idea! I am also looking forward to joining the “Kulturtandem” project very soon. This project aims to bring together a wide variety of people, regardless of age, profession, background, or disabilities, by visiting cultural events together. The aim is to reduce prejudices and stereotypes and to promote empathy in society. I think that this is very important.

You also volunteer in a student organization and have a part-time job. Can you tell us more about these activities?

Sustainability is one of my greatest interests since this topic affects the future of us all. I am a member of “Infinity”, a sustainability project which also takes economic and social aspects into account. We want to contribute to a more sustainable future. I am particularly interested in secondhand clothing, which is why I joined the “MaSecondLove” team. We plan various events for each semester and recently, we hosted a clothing swap party. In addition, I am a student assistant in the Romance Literary and Media Studies department. My work there includes editing texts or working on social media content and it’s a lot of fun.

You are about to complete your bachelor’s degree. Do you want to pursue your master's degree in Mannheim as well?

Yes, I am very happy at the University of Mannheim, and I would like to stay here for the master’s degree in Culture and Economy. Since the class sizes of the bachelor’s program and the master’s program are rather small, we are in close contact with the teachers and professors. We all know each other, and, in my opinion, this is a great advantage of the program. Generally, the programs are very diverse, since the students can easily combine various subjects and choose individual focus areas. And there are many options to get involved, for example, in student organizations. I appreciate that a lot.

Do you already have an idea about what you want to do after graduation?

I would like to work in marketing, ideally in the cultural sector or in a Franco-German collaboration project. In a globalized world, the international aspect is particularly important to me. Language and literature are omnipresent in many fields of work, and it would be amazing if I could put my knowledge in this area to good use. A job in the border region between Germany and France would be great since the relationship between Germany and France is very special and central for Europe.

Do you have any tips for other students?

Pursuing a degree which reflects your passions is definitely worth it. I think that it is best to do something that you really love, because then you will also be successful. This is why I study French and literature.

Text: Sophia Wiedmann / June 2022