My adventurous semester

Christopher from Australia, Summer Semester 2020

My journey to Germany began with a 20-hour flight from Brisbane to Frankfurt. My first impression of Germany was both shock and awe as I saw the many beautiful castles on the banks and hills of the river Rhine from the view out the train. This was something I have never seen back in Australia. By the time the train arrived in Remagen I truly felt lost and the feeling of being so far from home truly began to sink in with myself realising that I had to make my own way for the next 6 months. This changed almost immediately when I met my first friend, a wonderful Brazilian, Manoel, who helped me settle it and find my feet.

The stereotype of Germans being “cold” is completely false, everyone I have met here is always friendly and I was instantly invited to play Germany’s favorite student game, Beer pong. I was quickly taught the ins and outs of “professional” beer pong and was even surprised at seeing beer being the same price as water in some supermarkets. Many Germans I met spoke amazing English but German humility always came through with many people stating that their English was poor.

Despite the Corona crisis a small band of fellow international students grouped together to fight the boredom away. Our first bonding experiences started with teaching each other the few basic meals we knew and playing connect 4. Eventually this led to us recreating a range of traditional meals from all our respective countries. We played many games of Monopoly, mafia and beer pong in the local forests, hills and lakes and saw that Germany had much to explore.

Once Corona restrictions ended, we began to see more of Europe and explored the canals of Amsterdamn, the Black Forest of south Germany and large cities like Cologne and Berlin. Each new location showed new exciting parts of Europe and let me explore new cultures and see famous sites from around the world.

I learned so much on my exchange in Germany. I’m a changed person after spending 6 months abroad. I have learned both the difficulties and joys of learning a new language and finally understand some basic sentences when hanging out with German friends. I have grown confident in travelling and look forward to doing similar things again in the future.

I have made friends here who I will cherish and respect for the rest of my life and will show them the natural wonders of Australia sometime in the future. I must give a large amount of thanks to the professors and staff who helped me understand the differences and technicalities of German university and made me feel so very welcome in my semester abroad. I strongly recommend an exchange abroad and the RheinAhrCampus to any travelling students in the future.