Experiencing Germany with an Indian perspective
The journey within this past five months can be defined in one word ‘Intercultural’. As an exchange student from India, the prime reason for me to come here to RheinAhr Campus, Germany was to have an intercultural exchange and make connections and friends internationally. I started my course here a bit late due to late arrival and was a bit skeptical that if I could work up the missed orientation days and if I could integrate to the German working culture. As in the first few days, I had a few problems in coping up with the working culture for example the deadlines, professional communication and certain working habits followed here. But eventually, I got the habit of working in this way and to my surprise, I really improved on my work, following deadlines, keeping track of my progress and also the culture of work-life balance.
This culture of work- life balance is what I actually admire about the German people and how important it is in life is to give time to yourself as well. One more factor that was quite strange to me was the bluntness and straightforward mode of communication of the German people. This way of communication was quite alien to my indian culture where everything is starting with a small talk and not to be too blunt in communication. But the thing I learned here is to make my communication adapt to the situation and how you can constructively criticise someone and also not get offended if someone does the same to you and how this criticism can help you grow in life.
The highlight of my stay here as an exchange student was the one week intensive seminar in Izmir, Turkey and it was such a wonderful experience to see and work as a industry professional and help in developing a product marketing strategy for an actual industry product. I am really grateful to my exchange university here at Rheinahr Campus and Erasmus for providing this wonderful oppurtunity and I made so many industry connections as well as friends and had a intercultural week. Also the group tours that included the trip to the ancient city of Ephesus,house of Mary and many more.
The teaching faculty in RheinAhr Campus was also as international as the students. The teaching faculty consisted from countries like Australia, Albania and Canada from who I learned so many new topics and methods of learning. And it was really interesting to see different teaching techniques and how it can be impactful in one’s learning.
One of the most fruitful week in the university was the international week where the entire week was filled with intercultural exchanges and oppurtunities being presented by the representatives from different countries representing their university. The week consisted of different lectures, seminars, activities like international football game, barbeque and a beautiful excursion to the wine region of Ahrweiler. Representatives from different universities around the world joined that consisted from countries as far as Bhutan and all exchanged ideas and gave special lectures to the students of RheinAhr campus. The International Day was the day that was nothing less of a oppurtunity exchange where the opputunities to have exchange semester abroad was the highlight.
One of the biggest gain that I received being an exchange student to RheinAhr Campus are my international friends. Never have I ever thought that I could make so many friends from around the world and become so close and enjoy my time here in Germany. I am very happy for all the moments all of us shared on different occasions, while working on the international office or on a class or a party together or the places we visit together or sitting by the Rhine. I am glad that now I could go to any corner of the world and I have a friend there. One more oppurtunity that the Erasmus Exchange Program gave me was the oppurtunity to travel around Europe. The accessibility that Europe has within itself was such good gift for me that I could travel to so many different countries with one visa and without any hassle. The scheme of one time fourty Euro reimbursement was a way of encouraging international students like us to travel and learn a lot about the european culture. The same accessibility gave me so much encouragement that I couldn’t stop myself from visiting a different place each consecutive weekend. Also the icing on the cake to my travel was the introduction of the nine euro ticket by the German government where I could travel to any part of Germany with just one ticket throughout the offer period. This long journey from India to Germany was nothing less than a dream turned reality turned experience and I thank both the Universities in Pondicherry and in Germany for giving me this opportunity to see the world and make myself truly a global citizen .