My experience in Germany

Juho from South Korea, Summer Semester 2020

On February 26th, I arrived in Remagen and it is a really beautiful place with a big river named Rhine. It was very different from South Korea because in my home country, there are a lot of buildings around, while Remagen is a cozy green place. Because of the situation nowadays, my parents were worried about me leaving in another country, and so was I. For me it was the first time to live alone in a foreign country. At first, I met the two previous exchange students Manoel and Aytaj.

The first cultural difference I faced was the way of greeting. In South Korea we greet friends and relatives without physical contact, so no handshaking and we also do not hug. It felt strange to me the first time I shook hands and hugged Manoel and Aytaj, but I already know that this act will be followed by some quality time together. I got used to the German culture and customs very fast. My friends helped me get used to living in Germany.

During this time, we have done a lot of activities. I can mention hiking is some pictorial places near Remagen in Mayschoss and Drachenfels. I enjoy the freedom that hiking offers, the fresh air and the Rhine view. We have gone camping in some nice lakes, swimming, putting fire and enjoying each other’s company. Playing Mafia game, cards games, Monopoly and karaoke were the highlight of the days. During the camping, we have met some new German friends, who joined us for our barbeque. It was nice sharing our experience with them, as well as getting to know the German culture from a German perspective.

Even though time has been hard for everyone due to the Covid-19 crisis, we have managed to do some travelling in Germany, Netherlands, Greece, and Switzerland. The Switzerland Alps offer an amazing view, while the Greece beaches made me feel like I didn’t want to leave that place. Well, the rest of the time was well spent, thanks to my international friends. We like to cook for each other, and it has been nice to try some new international dishes my friends prepared for me. I have also cooked some Korean dishes, but some of my friends think they are too spicy.

What I have found new here, is the method of teaching and learning. I think that despite the fact that this semester was online, I have managed to interact with a lot of students, sharing my thoughts on different topics, and learning new ways of thinking. This experience has helped me to see the things in different point of views, and to think outside the box. I have also gained a lot of good friends, contacts in different countries, and the confidence to travel and experience things I wouldn’t have done before.

I am thankful to my professors, for making me feel like home in a different country, I had the needed support to face this challenge. Surely, I will recommend to my friends back in Korea to try an experience like this abroad. I feel that I have a home in different countries, and I would like to meet my new international friends someday in Korea. This way they can also visit the Gyeongbokgung Palace, N Seoul Tower, and many karaoke bars in my home city. With a heavy heart I leave Germany now, hopefully to return in a near future, and meet my friends again.