Just a new country, or more

Lorena from Albenia, Winter Semester 2021/2022

My name is Lorena Luarasi and I come from Albania. There I study, in my bachelor studies in the 4th semester, Business- Informatics. Now I am continuing my studies and my academic internship at the same time at RheinAhrCampus, Remagen.
I always wanted to have some experience abroad and Germany was in my mind. I decided to apply to this campus because of the study programs as well as Remagen. The campus is located in a very green environment and is small and cozy. It didn’t take me long to learn how things are working and to feel myself part of the team at Sprachen/Internationales. On the other hand, Remagen is full of friendly people you will say “Hallo” to you while you are walking nearby them in the park or in the street.
In the beginning, I was overwhelmed with all the information and new things I had to prepare for. Many things were done in a different way than in my county starting from the bus stops, shopping, post, etc. However, once I got used to them, everything became part of my daily life.
Being independent and having to manage my own money made me see the importance of making good decisions and being mature. I used to be independent in my hometown but now it was everything on another level and I had to take everything on me starting from cooking, cleaning, laundry, and dishes. As I lived in a shared apartment sometimes I also had to plan and coordinate with the other students in my apartment.
Before coming for my ERASMUS exchange semester, I had German proficiency, however in the beginning it wasn’t that easy to understand what the locals were saying. Now I can say with certainty that it is so much easy for me to understand as well as to take part in the conversation thanks to the German course I took as well as Natalia, who communicated with me in German.
On the other hand, I met incredible people from all around the world that made memories from the ERASMUS exchange semester which is unforgettable. I had to become more tolerant of other people and the cultural differences we have. Learning how the other students reacted in a conversation and their way of thinking was very interesting for me. We shared so many things with each other, ate each other’s traditional dishes, traveled together, and shared our problems. In the end, I was left feeling like part of a big family. I am certain we will meet again and will keep our friendship forever.
With my semester ticket, I traveled to Köln, Bonn, Berlin (Germany), Amsterdam (Netherlands), Brussel (Belgium), and Lille (France). It was very easy for me to organize everything and I learned so much doing so. Of course, I also visited the Christmas markets, where I tried the Glühwine and Kölner carnival.
When I turn back to all the people I have known during this semester and all the places I have seen, or the things I have learned, I can’t believe myself. If someone would have told me that, in the beginning, I would not have believed it. Thanks to this semester I discovered myself more, had the time to self-develop, and bourdon my mind. It also helped me realize how big the world is and while you are with all the new cultures and knowledge you realize how little you know and that the world and the people in it are so much more and so different from you and what you have seen so far. 
During this semester I learned to appreciate my family and what I already have, to love and motivate myself to be better. Also, I know now the importance and impact people have in our lives and that we should accept everyone for who they are because this makes the world more beautiful.
This ERASMUS exchange semester has really changed my life forever and I forcefully believe it was one of the best decisions in my life so far. I am so happy I will be able to stay a second semester and share with you more about my experiences. Last but not least I want to encourage everyone to give an Erasmus exchange semester a try. Trust me it is worth it!