Carina is the co-founder and CEO of The Global Experience, a non-profit organization and international youth media network dedicated to increase the intercultural dialogue. Since being in high school Carina enjoyed exploring different fields of work, including media production, marketing and journalism. A trip to Namibia eventually changed her life and made her become passionate about creating opportunities for young people to gain intercultural experiences – offline, as well as online. During her university studies she dedicated most of her time on building up The Global Experience that eventually expanded from a local school project to an international youth network of today with over 10,000 members in more than 180 countries.
Carina has also co-founded a number of social initiatives including Easy Languages (www.easy-languages.org), a social business that utilizes street interviews as authentic language learning material. Carina has completed her Masters in History and Regional Science at the University of Münster and also studied International Migration and Intercultural Relations at the University of Osnabrück.
I Am Driven By | The possibility to create a positive impact with the work I do. Every little story that happens as a result of the work I do makes me incredibly happy.
My Highlights | Together with a group of friends I have founded a small NGO about 10 years ago. We wanted to create intercultural and multi media learning experiences for youth across the world and managed to grow to a big international network over the years. We create learning opportunities such as school exchange programs, scholarship programs and international youth camps. One of the biggest projects we currently do is the Digital Participation Camp, a summer camp for young digital activists who use digital media to bring change to their societies. It’s an amazing event with so many great individuals coming together, encouraging each other and working together for social change. Another project that derived from this work is the international video project Easy Languages that focuses on language and culture learning through online videos. It’s a growing network that engages over 140.000 young people from all over the world today to use online video to share their local languages and cultures.
A Key Talent | I believe the most crucial advice I can give to others is to be patient and persistent. It might sound easy or even trivial at first, but eventually this is the crucial difference between people who end up creating a great project and people who give up or do not even try. The way to build up your own venture, whether it’s an NGO or business can be very long. You will have many ups and downs in its way and you need to find a strategy to stay focused and ambitious within all these periods. If you have something that you really believe in, keep on working on it with the same passion and energy, even at times that you have doubts.
The Characteristics Of Success | I believe curiosity and dedication are the most important things. Be thankful for every opportunity that challenges you and your believes and puts you out of your comfort zone. These are the situations that are incredibly valuable for your career.
Principles I Live By | Feeling happy about giving, before actually knowing or caring about what you will get is really important to me. I don’t like people who always think of their own benefit first.
How I Use My Mind | It is important to regularly challenge your own believes, perspectives and images. The best way to do so is by putting yourself in situations that you haven’t been in before. Travelling, even in your local environment, is a great way to do so: visit places you never visited before, talk to new people and listen to stories, that you are unlikely to find in your direct environment. Anything that challenges your daily routine, your believes and perspectives will help you to find, re-define or confirm your true values an goals.
Dealing With Doubt | Thee were and still are times that I doubt myself and the things I do. In fact, most people wouldn’t think that I am actually a quite insecure person. How I overcome my doubts? Simply by not allowing them to play a role in the decisions I take and the way I communicate. The idea is simple: Once I act as a fearful and negative person I will make others doubt as well. I will not create the positive working environment I want and need. However, whenever I act as a strong and confident person I make others feel strong and safe too. Eventually I also encourage others to be stronger and more confident. It took me quite a while to become as confident as I am today and it’s sometimes surprising to me how I improved over the years by just challenging my insecurities again and again. Today I more and more enjoy challenging myself and my fears.
Performing At My Peak | I can not always perform at my peak and acknowledging that is actually important to stay motivated and to not get unhappy over things I don’t achieve. There are times in the year that I work extremely hard in order to achieve all my goals, especially during the times when we have our main events coming up. However there are also other times that I feel like not working 14 hours a day but maybe just 3 or not at all. Allowing myself to take a break and not performing at my peak enables me to refresh and regain my motivation. Ultimately I believe, motivation is the only thing you can lack to not perform at your peak. And you can easily loose motivation if you expect yourself to always perform perfectly.
Resources I Use To Stay Inspired | Travelling, travelling and travelling. Travelling far abroad has been the starting point of everything I do today and it still is an incredible source of inspiration, the best way of overcoming fears and reassessing my world.
My Future Dreams And Ambitions | I dream of establishing my own fund that will allow young people from all over the world, particularly young women, to go abroad for extraordinary educational experiences. I have been working on offering opportunities like these for the past 5 years, however available funding by public or private institutions is always bound to certain conditions and only available for people from certain regions, age groups or social groups. There is a need for such opportunities, however there is no program yet that is broad and open for basically everyone.
The Meaning Of Life | There are researches that analyze what people regret most shotly before they die. Most of these studies come to very similar conclusions: people regret not having lived true to themselves, not having followed their passion, not having spend enough time with family and friends, not having expressed their feelings and not having made choices based on happiness. It might sound to simple, but keeping these things in mind, based on a daily basis and taking decisions based upon trying to avoid these feelings yourself, has made me become more happy and more determined in life. I live a life based on doing good for myself and for others. This has become the meaning of my life.
Advice On Building Wealth | Live for one month with each a poor and a rich family and find out who is more happy.
Picture credits | Elena Rachor Photography, Michael Mielnik, Klaus Brenken