Food Fakultät is apparently the favorite “faculty” of many students at TU Dortmund. Not only students from different faculties of the university enjoy some food here, but they also engage in interdisciplinary dialogue, which is a good source of learning. One cold winter’s evening, I happened to grab a cup of coffee with a Dutch friend, who was studying abroad (Erasmus in Germany) in the Winter Semester 2015/16.
The warmth of coffee led our discussion through tales of our phenomenal study abroad experience. Conversation dangled leisurely between a humorous note and a bit serious one. Following are some of the highlights of Andrea’s study abroad (Erasmus in Germany) adventure. As usual, I’ve put the points in form of an informal interview:
So, Andrea! How did you come to know about this Erasmus program at TU Dortmund?
I happened to attend a study-abroad workshop at my home university, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, back in the Netherlands. It came out to be quite interesting and informative. I was looking forward to go to Prague or Dortmund. My university had a study-agreement with TU and that’s how I got to know about this program in Dortmund.
“Und warum Erasmus in Deutschland” – and why Erasmus in Germany?
Primarily, because it offered good learning opportunity in my field of studies that is orthopedagogiek (in Dutch), special needs education and youth care I would say in English. Back home I was studying how to deal with learning difficulties especially among young people and how to support and raise people with disabilities. During Erasmus in Germany, I’m concerned with rehabilitation science and it’s more focused on people with intellectual disability and their social engagement. But other than academic reasons, because of the social exposure I could get through an Erasmus experience, which not only suits best my studies, but it could also build further my understanding of cultural diversity and help me grow as a person.
True that! It’s actually a good field to specialize and work in because it could add value to the social aspects of a society. There are young people around the globe who need help regarding learning issues, but unfortunately in some cultures it’s not really considered an issue. It’s rather ignored by calling it something else like a shade of laziness or excuses.
Yeah! That’s a sad truth. These problems do exist and we should deal with them appropriately.
Moving on, how do you see last few months? Did this study-abroad experience (Erasmus in Germany) meet your expectations?
Well, I’m more than happy. I had some expectations before coming here, but mainly academic ones because that’s what students are normally informed about at their home university. It has been a sensational experience; studying in a different academic setup, meeting people from all over the world, improving my global awareness and cultural understanding and practice speaking German.
I couldn’t agree more, studying abroad is definitely a lot more than just studying and I bet Erasmus students can understand what “a lot more” means. Tell me about your best memory!
Ammmn! “Mein Geburtstag würde ich sagen” – my birthday I’d say. It was my first birthday away from home and I invited some close friends for a party but they told me that they already had some plans and we could celebrate later. But when I came back home in the evening, those amazing friends have had arranged a surprise birthday party for me. I can’t tell how happy and blessed I felt that night.
Yep! A person’s reaction to a good surprise is generally beyond the reach of words that could describe it. Any bad memory?
Nothing like a bad memory, I believe. Maybe some minor things but if I can’t remember something bad, that means it wasn’t significant enough to make a difference.
Well said! Talking about the Netherlands, why should someone consider the Netherlands to study-abroad?
Best part about student life in the Netherlands is to treat yourself with a bike and explore the town. Dutch people are easy-going so try to get in touch with the locals. Don’t believe the stereotypes especially the negatives ones about any place or people. Talking about a positive one though, I remember once I was in “Figge Stube”, a student bar in Dortmund, and someone said to me:
You’re from the Netherlands, Ohhh! I really like Dutch cheese.
“But I don’t like cheese.” I replied with a light smile, and apparently people around me looked surprised because they thought that everybody in the Netherlands just loves cheese.
Yeah! Take the example of Amsterdam for instance, there’s a lot more to the town than just those typical things people talk about generally.
So how would you sum up your experience of Erasmus in Germany? Moreover, what advice would you give to prospective students?
Erasmus in Germany w an experience of a lifetime Adil, it was simply amazing. To those you’re considering to study-abroad, be it a semester or a full degree program, I’d say “Go for it”. Go out there and live it to the fullest. There’ll be hard times; uncertainties and last moment changes, and things might not meet your expectations but by the end of the day you’ll learn to cope with them and you’re going to have an amazing experience getting to explore new places and cultures.
For information regarding application procedure and tips on other documents required for admission applications, check out How to study abroad: Tips and documents required.
In this post, personal views and opinions are expressed. The purpose of the content is to share the experience of a student, and not to offend anyone. If you’ve any questions or feedback, please let me know in the comments section below.