Chasing Dreams Across Borders - My Unforgettable Semester Abroad!

Raj from India, Winter Semester 2023/2024

Hi! My name is Irudayaraj. I am from Pondicherry, a coastal gem on India's southeastern tip, enchanted with its tranquil French colonial charm. When I first heard about the exchange program, I was a little dubious and wasn’t sure if it would be worth the risk. But looking back I can hands-down guarantee that this is one of the best decisions in my life and the experience was truly remarkable and unforgettable.

When I arrived in Germany for my winter semester, I almost immediately fell in love with the country. I vividly remember the train journey from the airport to Remagen. The medieval castles on top of the hills surrounded by lush green pine trees and the majestic Rhine River running right beneath was breathtaking and was indeed a spectacular sight to behold. At that very moment, I knew that God had initiated a new chapter in my life and that I had to make the best use of this opportunity.

Life in Remagen was simple, serene and peaceful unlike the bustling towns in India. I loved the nature, the chirping of the birds in the morning and the elderly waving their hands greeting one another with “Guten Morgen” which was something special. Although I had some difficulties integrating into a new environment, I learnt a lot about the German history, culture and tradition during the orientation week. Speaking of which, the international community at the Sprachen/Internationales  was incredibly diverse and I met some amazing people from Albania, Georgia, Ukraine, South Korea, Germany and created life-long friendships.

Apart from making friends and getting to know about their culture through food, conversations and excursions. I also got to learn a lot about myself during the internship at Sprachen Internationales. The internship helped me acquire crucial management skills like leadership, time management, communication skills and camaraderie. I worked on several projects and got a perspective of what it would be like to work in an intercultural environment where people came up with different ideas and viewpoints influenced by one’s culture and tradition. All of which added a lot of group dynamics, thereby helping me think on different tangents and broaden my understanding of the world. Furthermore, I thoroughly enjoyed the teaching style at RheinAhrCampus, we had tons of presentations, discussions, group activities, debates and every student were heard and was encouraged to voice his/her opinion. This helped me improve my presentation skills and workplace etiquette.

Additionally, during my free time, I took to exploring the rich heritage of Germany and the other European countries. For instance, I had been to six major cities like Koblenz, Cologne, Bonn, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, and Heidelberg and travelled to countries like Belgium, France, Poland, Luxembourg, Sweden, Denmark and Czech Republic… Out of all the experiences, something which I will cherish for a lifetime is having to visit the Christmas markets in Strasbourg with my professor from India, Dr Victor Anandkumar and his wife. The elegance of French décor and the delectable oyster, escargot, macrons and flammkuchen truly made the trip a memorable experience.

Overall, the winter semester at RheinAhrCampus, Remagen was an enriching experience. I am all the more grateful to my home university - Pondicherry University and the Faculty Coordinators at RheinAhrCampus for having given me this once in a lifetime opportunity of a semester abroad.

To anyone perplexed as I was. Trust me, give it a shot. I am confident that you will immensely benefit from this study program and will emerge as a well-rounded global citizen ready to tackle the VUCA world.