A fairy-tale known as “Exchange student at RAC”

Vanesa from Albania, Summer Semester 2023

Hey everyone, I'm Vanesa Binaj, an international student from Albania. It's hard for me to believe that I'm actually living the life I've always dreamed of since I was 16 - being an exchange student. 
Let me tell you a little bit about my fairy tale. It all started on a freezing day in March, the 13th to be exact, when I arrived in a small town in Germany. Little did I know that it would turn out to be the best time of my life. My first impression was simply amazing. Germany felt like one of those postcards I had received so many times for New Year's. Everything in Remagen was incredibly organized and structured. This little town completely captured my heart. Everyone, even the lady who went shopping every day and stood by the door of the Müller supermarket, greeted me with a warm smile and a friendly "Hallo."
My life suddenly became more interesting and exciting because I met people from different countries. It changed the way I think and live. Learning about different countries and their cultures was incredibly enjoyable for me. It felt as though I had traveled to those countries myself just by listening to their stories and discovering interesting facts. One surprising fact I learned was that in Bhutan, students actually sleep and eat at their colleges.

Nature in Remagen was incredibly beautiful, with the green color being the brightest and most vivid I had ever seen.
But alongside all the wonderful things, I also faced many challenges. I had to take on a lot of responsibilities, like living by myself without my family and friends and working at my first internship in RheinAhrCampus. It was a whole new experience for me and brought its own difficulties. Throughout this experience, I've learned a lot and I'm really grateful for the personal growth I've achieved. One important lesson I've learned is how to handle criticism in a positive way and I will never forget how Laurence, Natalia, Selsela, Andreas, Barbara, and Saskia treated me like their own child and wanted to help me become the best version of myself. Now, I feel stronger and have learned many new things. I've let go of bad habits and learned how to adopt better ones. I feel like I truly belong to the Sprachen Internationales Team, not just as a team member, but also on a deeper, spiritual level. I think that this bond is really strong. 

One thing I really enjoyed in Germany was traveling to different cities. I got to see so many places across the country. But what I'll never forget are the people on the morning trains. They were so enthusiastic, singing their traditional German songs and cheering for their football team. It was a fun and memorable experience.
I not only got to see many cities in Germany, but I also had the chance to travel to other countries like Luxembourg, Belgium, Netherlands, and Italy. If someone had told me last year that I would travel this much in the following year, I would never have believed it. It's been an incredible experience!
I want to tell you about an amazing travel experience I had when I hiked up Erpeler Ley Hill to see the cross. It was a bit tiring, but when I reached the top, the view was absolutely stunning. We also spotted some peacocks there, and they were so colourful and beautiful to look at. Hiking is something that I think everyone should try at least once in their life.
It's been almost four months since I arrived here, and I can talk about more than 100 changes that have happened to me. The old Vanesa who was scared to speak English on the first day is gone. Now, I'm a different person who is confident and doesn't hesitate to speak up for myself. It's amazing to see how much I've changed and grown.
It's really exciting that I can now understand the basics of German and give small responses. I feel proud of my progress in learning a new language.

And so, my fairy tale comes to an end. In this little town with a big heart, I lived my dream and found pure happiness.
A special place will always remain in my heart for Sprachen Internationales RheinAhrCampus.
This experience will come to an end, but the memories and lessons learned will stay with me forever.