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uni'alumni 2016

PORTRAIT A Long Way Home Travel journalist Tamina Kallert has visited more than 70 countries – and came back to Freiburg She runs, rides, flies, dives, and fights her way through the jungle, climbs volcanoes, jumps off bridges, and even gets into a survival suit to test whether she can resist the impact of the North Sea waves off the coast of Helgoland. “I almost died on that operation,” remem- bers Tamina Kallert with a laugh. Taking risks has always held more attraction for her than living a cookie-cutter existence so boring your pulse almost stops. “But now that I have two children I try to hold myself back a bit.” Connected to Life Kallert has hosted the travel program Wunderschön on WDR television for the past ten years – a veritable eternity in the fast-paced television industry. In 2015 the station added two new formats, in which she explores the world and in- vites her audience to participate in her discoveries. The viewers thank her for the ideas: “People often write us to say that they followed our precise routes.” Researching, meeting people, asking questions – that is more than just a job for the 41-year-old. In fact, you might say it’s her life’s motto. “I’ll never stop searching for new things and marveling at them.” To do so, she doesn’t neces- sarily need to travel to an exotic island or a bustling metropolis. Kallert matriculated in history and Eng- lish studies in her hometown of Freiburg in 1995. She began working as a reporter for the WDR public broadcasting corpo- ration while still studying, first commuting between Freiburg and Cologne, before matriculating at the university in the latter city. What interested her in her seminars and lecture courses was less the great turning points of world history than the history of seemingly insignificant things: living, eating, work – the elementary facets of life. She still uses this approach today to develop her programs. She wants to understand the story behind a region, a culture, or a mentality. “Behind every en- counter is a surprise, something unexpect- ed. There’s always an opportunity to learn something new.” A Format with Substance In the course of her career she learned that she is not made to work an office job, even one that promises great renown: Kallert worked for three months at the Goethe Institute in New York, USA. “I was supposed to represent German culture. I sat in a beautiful building, but I wasn’t connected to life anymore.” The journal- ist doesn’t care much for the “sensation- alist television” at the other end of the spectrum either. She accepted offers to work for the private stations, “with a great salary and a big learning effect,” but after a while she returned to WDR to develop formats with more substance. Coming Full Circle After living in Cologne, Munich, Berlin, and Zurich, Switzerland, Kallert returned to Freiburg with her husband and two children in 2014. She lives just a few kil- ometers from her childhood home, where she played in the mud and climbed trees as a little girl. Today she watches on as her daughter and son engage in the same activities. “So now I’ve come full circle,” she says. Although she still often has to pack her suitcase for her work, Kallert is enjoying her new home. “It’s just as nice to arrive in one’s home- town as it is to travel to faraway places.” It fits her character that the experi- ences she names as highlights of her career aren’t the glamorous ones: One time she filmed at a winery on the Mosel. The young vintner and his pregnant wife showed him around the area. They found a lot of things they had in common, for example the fact that she and the vint- ner had both gone to a Waldorf school. Kallert and her crew moved on. Three days later she received a text message: “Our little daughter Tamina was born this morning at 5:54 a.m.” Rimma Gerenstein Welcome and farewell: Tamina Kallert enjoys returning home as much as she does traveling to distant places. Photo: Sandra Meyndt 20