From #Namaste to #DankeSchön Germany!
14th March 2017: I was sitting clueless infront of German Consulate in Chennai, just hoping to get my visa as I was supposed to fly to Germany a day later, on 16th March. And bing, my phone rings and the lady on the other side says, “Where are you Garima, are you not supposed to collect your visa!”. That moment, I jumped out of excitement and ran to the Consulate get my visa stamped passport. And from there the journey starts.
As it was my first solo trip abroad, I was very excited to see the world my way. As soon as I landed in Germany, at first everything looked different and confusing. It was the first time for me to see a kind of shopping complex at the airports and train stations, searching for right connections of trains from Bonn/Köln to Remagen in middle of night, walking on all cobbled streets, drinking water from the tap of the kitchen, getting used to the unperfect German weather, cooking for the first time for yourself and your friends for dinner and lunch at odd times, paving a way for the cyclist, absorbing the silence everywhere, listening to the rush of the Rhine, feeling the day till 10 in the night, listening to the gong of chruch every hour, eating cold sandwiches on the way and considering burgers, pizza and cola as homecooked food, dealing with not so tasty mensa food, exciting German classes, queuing up for the pool on a sunny day, having barbeque parties with your mates and of course tons of beer. With time you get used to all these; some bizzare, some tricky and some awesome things.
Its been four months here in Remagen, studying at Hochschule Koblenz, RheinAhrCampus, but I wish I could go on for more. The university gave me a chance to work with students and teachers from different nationalities. I studied under a Canadian, German and Singaporean lecturer, I have my mates from Azerbaijan, South Korea, Brazil, Germany, Georgia, Spain, Jordan, Syria and more. And now I can proudly say that I have friends from every continent in the world. With this I had a practical training experience during my Interniship at RAC. I got to dirty my hands with work on the go by being involved during the International Week, Iftar party and being part of Erasmus 30. Biggest of all was being a Head of Event Management department of CommUNITY, our own simulated agency which organised an Integration fair for Refugees. All this work helped show the best of me at crucial times. I would gather all these pieces of experience to put them together for a better future.
Ich liebe reisen! And this exchange helped me prove it all the more to myself. In a span of approximately four months I travelled to six countries, from up north Switzerland to down south Italy. I could see the changing Europe through my eyes, from Napolean to Weimar, from Da Vinci to Van Gogh, from Castles to Cathedrals and from Hitler to EU parliament. I experienced a never-ending urge to eye more. I loved the way Europe is soaked in past, present and future, just the right mix. This experience has planted a much firm seed of travel in me, which I will nurture forever.
I also learnt a very important lesson during the exchange, importance of people at different stages of life. My travel would have never been possible without the support of my professors in India and here in Germany. I would truly cherish the support of my friends and family who beared with me during all sorts of bizzare situations happening around.
This student exchange would certainly be a milestone in my life which would change I way I see world from now. So in true German style, Danke Schön for all the loving memories that I could create.