A Detailed Guide for Exchange Students!
“Where’s Remagen?” or “What is Remagen?” were two questions I was asked every time I said “I live in Remagen”. Personally I have never heard of Remagen before coming here. But after I have been accepted at HS Koblenz RheinAhrcampus, I did some research about Remagen, and figured out that it is one of the cities near the Rhine. So where exactly is Remagen?
September 7th 2016; first day in Remagen; Christopher picked me up from the train station with a wide smile on his face, and I thought to myself “Oh boy! Friendly people!” Where I come from, people are not always smiling, so for me, Christopher made Remagen seem such a happy place. A former exchange student, who was in Remagen the previous semester, Ru’a, told me that Remagen was small, but I didn’t think it was THAT small. When we were driving to the dorm, I was looking around, seeing all the houses and shops, and I thought “Oh, Remagen looks like a big city, why do people say it’s small!”, but after you live in it for a while you realize that it is actually a very small town. For me, Remagen is composed of one main street; connecting the student dormitory to the train station; with a few useful shops in between, a population of 40,000, and 5 churches; Remagen is situated between Bonn and Koblenz; more specifically in a region known as the Rhineland-Palatinate in the Ahrweiler district (where they make good wine, as I have been told). People living in Remagen are the sweetest, kindest people I have ever met; they’re always smiling, they always greet you, they’re just happy, and I love it. My favorite person in Remagen was the ice cream shop guy; who I used to visit on a daily basis for ice cream until it closed in November (because apparently they don’t sell ice cream in winter), whom whenever I meet in the street says hello with a wide smile on his face. So, as an exchange student, what would a normal day in Remagen be?
Waking up; to the sound of kids playing or crying in the Kindergarten in the early morning (at 7 am), getting ready and then heading to University, attending classes, coming back home for dinner or going out with friends for dinner, then either more hanging out with friends, or just going back home to rest, was pretty much how I spent a week day in Remagen. The city closes almost all its shops at 8 pm, so it would be more of “silent/dead city” after that time, thus nothing to do. During the weekends I used to travel; going places inside or outside Germany; trying to make the best of it! But, fun was not something completely achievable when you’re a university student at HS Koblenz. Why? It’s because of the amount of work and studying you have to put and do in order to get good grades and make a good impression here. So that would kind of also explain why I did not travel every single weekend.
At first, when I knew that my classes were in German, I thought “Oh that wouldn’t be difficult” but now, as I reach the end of the semester, I figured out that no, attending classes taught in German is not something “easy”, but the complete opposite. The classes were not the only thing I had put effort into, but also the projects; the extracurricular projects that I participated in, especially “Europa macht Schule”. This project not only allowed me to involve myself in a completely new experience, by which I was not being the person who only received information, but a person who enriched different ages, ranging from 10 to 20 years old, with information, but also I had the chance to cook Tortillas (lots of them) work with two amazing people.
Summing things up: Fat club, is a club Omar and I established due to the amount of sweets/pizza/paste we ate. Let’s also not forget the cold weather here.
Finally, when I arrived to Remagen I came with no expectations, because I honestly had none, I didn’t know what to expect. Now, when I look back at the past five months, I realize that Remagen and this university (HS Koblenz) are places I am going to remember forever, not because they gave me the opportunity to meet wonderful people from all over the world, but also they have changed me and made me a wiser and more independent person.