"Foreign" Student at RheinAhrCampus

"Foreign" Student at RheinAhrCampus

Sarah from Jordan/Germany, Summer Semester 2016

My exchange semester in Germany as a “foreign” student was probably a different learning experience than what it was for most of the other exchange students. I am half German and I have lived most of my life in Germany, so spending this semester wasn’t as unfamiliar as it may have been for my friends but it was an equally exciting and valuable time for me nevertheless.

Having lived the past few years in Jordan, I had already learned that I find pleasure in getting to know a different way of life and thinking. It is fascinating to me to learn about other cultures and put myself in the shoes of someone who lives a completely different life than my own. In terms of this aspect, I have probably had more of a “wow” experience in Jordan than in Germany as I grew up in Germany myself, but that is exactly why I enjoyed our circle of exchange students so much: Because we were a mixed group of all kinds of nationalities, Jordanians, Azerbaijanis, Spanish, Finnish… It presented not only a great atmosphere but also a chance for me to expand my knowledge on other nation’s habits and traditions. I really enjoyed the company of my new friends who are all from different countries. It was a refreshing change for me since I had never done an exchange semester in that sense, most of the people I had hung out with before were either Germans or Jordanians. It was incredible to see how quickly we got close despite the fact that there were fundamental differences between us, such as our upbringings, religion and the purpose of our stay. We really became like a family.

Even though I grew up in Germany there were (of course) new situations for me as well, since I haven’t lived here the past few years and I find the time between high school and university does define your life quite a lot and well, I wasn’t in my home country for that “definition” so the past few years have been more Jordanian for me, so to speak. Even though I lived in and within the more open-minded society of Amman, it still is clearly very different from living in the German society. I enjoyed sort of keeping with me the values I have learned to cherish in Jordan and taking them into my life in Germany.

I should mention something very important to me, which is that here in Remagen I have been given the opportunity to work and interact with some of the refugees in this area. I have wanted to do something for refugees ever since I had moved to Jordan but in Jordan it wasn’t that easy for a girl to just go out and help. That is why I really appreciated the fact that here I not only met, but also made friends with refugees and helped them, if even in just the slightest of ways.